Jessica Alice Tandy (Jessica Alice Tandy)

Jessica Alice Tandy

Actress. She is best remembered for receiving the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in “Driving Miss Daisy’ (1989), for which she also won a Golden Globe and British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards. She was born in Hackney, London, England, the youngest of three children, where her father was a traveling salesman for a rope manufacturer and her mother a headmistress at a school for mentally handicapped children. When she was 12 years old her father died and her mother taught evening courses to earn additional income. She received her education at Dame Alice Owen’s School in Hertfordshire, England. In 1927 at the age of 18 she made her professional debut on the London stage, establishing herself with performances opposite such actors as Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. In 1932 she married British actor Jack Hawkins. She did some film work in England, but after her marriage to Jack Hawkins failed in 1940, she moved to New York where she met actor Hume Cronyn and they were married two years later. She made her American film debut in “The Seventh Cross” (1944). She also appeared in the films “The Valley of Decision” (1945), “The Green Years” (1946, as Cronyn’s daughter), “Dragonwyck” (1946, starring Gene Tierney and Vincent Price), and “Forever Amber” (1947). In 1948 she won a Tony Award for her performance as ‘Blanche Dubois’ in the original Broadway production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” After this she concentrated her efforts on the stage, and in 1952 she became a naturalized citizen of the US. Over the next three decades, her film career continued sporadically, but included “The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel” (1951, with James Mason), “The Light in the Forest” (1958), and a role as a domineering mother in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, “The Birds” (1963). She received a Tony Award for her performance in Broadway’s “The Gin Game” (1977). The beginning of the 1980s saw a resurgence in her film career, with character roles in “Honky Tonk Freeway” (1981), “The World According to Garp” (1982), “Best Friends” (1982), “Still of the Night” (1982), and “The Bostonians” (1984). She and Cronyn began working together more regularly on stage and television, including the films “Cocoon” (1985), “Batteries not Included” (1987), and “Cocoon: The Return” (1988), and the Emmy Award winning television film “Foxfire” (1987, recreating her Tony winning Broadway role). However, it was her colorful performance in the film “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989), as an aging, stubborn Southern-Jewish matron, that earned her an Oscar. She gained a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in the grassroots movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” (1991), and co-starred in “The Story Lady” (1991 television film, with daughter Tandy Cronyn), “Used People” (1992, as Shirley MacLaine’s mother), the television film “To Dance with the White Dog” (1993, with Cronyn), “Nobody’s Fool” (1994), and “Camilla” (1994, with Cronyn, which would be her last performance). During her 67-year career she appeared in 35 movies and 11 Broadway productions. She died at her home in Easton, Connecticut from ovarian cancer at the age of 85. (bio by: William Bjornstad)  Family links:  Spouses:  Jack Hawkins (1910 – 1973)  Hume Cronyn (1911 – 2003)* *Calculated relationship


  • June, 07, 1909
  • England


  • September, 09, 1994
  • USA


  • Cremated

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