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Patricia Neal

Patricia NealAKA Patsy Louise Neal

Born: 20-Jan-1926
Birthplace: Packard, KY
Died: 8-Aug-2010
Location of death: Edgartown, MA
Cause of death: Cancer - Lung
Remains: Buried, Abbey of Regina Laudis, Bethlehem, CT

Gender: Female
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Day the Earth Stood Still

Patricia Neal was raised in Knoxville, where she appeared in school plays and by high school was spending her vacations in summer stock performances in Virginia. After graduation, she briefly attended Northwestern University, but dropped out and came to New York, where she made her Broadway debut at 20, in Lillian Hellman's Another Part of the Forest. Her performance won Neal her first Tony Award for Best Actress, and she soon signed a contract with Warner Brothers and came to Hollywood.

In her film debut, she played Ronald Reagan's fiancÚ in the rather unfunny comedy John Loves Mary. During and after starring in her second film, Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, she had a five-year affair with her co-star Gary Cooper, ending it only when she came to realize he would not leave his wife. In one of the great science fiction films, 1951's The Day the Earth Stood Still, she saved the world by uttering the words: "Klaatu barada nikto." In A Face in the Crowd, she was treated poorly by Andy Griffith but retaliated. In Breakfast at Tiffany's, she played George Peppard's doting benefactor. She won an Oscar playing maid, housekeeper, and object of desire for Paul Newman in Hud. In In Harm's Way, she played a military nurse who fell for John Wayne.

For 30 years, she was married to author Roald Dahl, though their marriage was filled with tragedy. Their infant son was left brain-damaged when his baby carriage was crumpled by a Manhattan cab in 1960. Two years later, their 7-year-old daughter contracted the measles and died. Three years after that, at the age of 39 and the height of her career, Neal suffered three strokes in one evening. While she was hospitalized, the showbiz tabloid Variety mistakenly reported her death. Dahl oversaw her therapy and recovery, in a manner some -- but not Neal -- called tyrannical and overbearing. She was the grandmother of British supermodel Sophie Dahl.

She returned to the screen in The Subject Was Roses, giving an Oscar-nominated performance as the troubled mother of Martin Sheen and wife of Jack Albertson. In the 1971 pilot episode of The Waltons, Neal played Momma Walton, although the role was played by Miss Michael Learned when the series was picked up. Neal continued working until her death in 2010, albeit mostly on television and in lesser films.

She devoted much of her time and energy to developing the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville, a facility nationally recognized for its rehabilitation services for patients with stroke, spinal cord, and traumatic brain injuries. She also made innumerable charity appearances at fundraisers for stroke victims. The story of her post-stroke rehabilitation was made into a telefilm, The Patricia Neal Story, in 1981, with Glenda Jackson as Neal and Dirk Bogarde as Dahl.

Father: William Burdette "Coot" Neal
Mother: Eura Mildred Petrey (b. 1899, d. 2003
Sister: Margaret Ann Neal Vandenoord
Brother: William Petrey Neal
Boyfriend: Gary Cooper (actor)
Husband: Roald Dahl (author, m. 2-Jul-1953, div. 17-Nov-1983, five children)
Daughter: Chantal Sophia Dahl ("Tessa", author, b. 11-Apr-1957)
Daughter: Olivia Dahl (b. 20-Apr-1955, d. age 8, measles)
Son: Theo Matthew Roald Dahl (b. 30-Jul-1960, brain damaged in auto accident)
Daughter: Ophelia Magdalena Dahl (health care advocate, Partners in Health, b. 12-May-1964)
Daughter: Lucy Neal Dahl (author, b. 4-Aug-1965)

    University: Northwestern University (dropped out)

    Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women
    Oscar for Best Actress 1964 for Hud
    Golden Globe 1972 for The Homecoming: A Christmas Story
    Abortion
    Coma 1965
    Stroke 1965
    Paralyzed
    Endorsement of Liggett Group Chesterfield cigarettes
    Risk Factors: Smoking, Aviophobia

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    Bright Leaves (23-May-2003) · Herself
    Broadway: The Golden Age (Apr-2003) · Herself
    Cookie's Fortune (22-Jan-1999) · Jewel Mae "Cookie" Orcutt
    Heidi (18-Jul-1993)
    Caroline? (29-Apr-1990)
    An Unremarkable Life (12-Oct-1989)
    Shattered Vows (29-Oct-1984)
    Ghost Story (15-Dec-1981) · Stella
    All Quiet on the Western Front (14-Nov-1979)
    The Passage (13-Apr-1979)
    The Bastard (22-May-1978)
    Happy Mother's Day, Love George (17-Aug-1973)
    Baxter! (4-Mar-1973)
    The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (19-Dec-1971)
    The Night Digger (12-May-1971)
    The Subject Was Roses (13-Oct-1968) · Nettie Cleary
    In Harm's Way (6-Apr-1965) · Maggie
    Psyche 59 (29-Apr-1964)
    Hud (28-May-1963) · Alma Brown
    Breakfast at Tiffany's (5-Oct-1961) · Mrs. Failenson
    A Face in the Crowd (28-May-1957) · Marcia Jeffries
    Stranger from Venus (1954)
    Something for the Birds (Oct-1952)
    Washington Story (1-Jul-1952)
    Diplomatic Courier (13-Jun-1952)
    Week-End with Father (Dec-1951) · Jean Bowen
    The Day the Earth Stood Still (18-Sep-1951) · Helen Benson
    Raton Pass (7-Apr-1951)
    Operation Pacific (27-Jan-1951) · Mary Stuart
    Three Secrets (20-Oct-1950) · Phyllis Horn
    The Breaking Point (30-Sep-1950) · Leona Charles
    Bright Leaf (16-Jun-1950) · Margaret Jane Singleton
    The Hasty Heart (2-Dec-1949) · Sister Margaret
    The Fountainhead (2-Jul-1949) · Dominique Francon
    John Loves Mary (4-Feb-1949) · Mary McKinley

Author of books:
As I Am: An Autobiography (1988)


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