Jessie Alice “Jessica” Tandy (D 11 September 1994) was born on this day, June 7, 1909. As British-born stage and film actress, she spent most of her 67-year career in the United States. She appeared in over 100 stage productions and had more than 60 roles in film and TV.
Born in London to a headmistress and a traveling salesman, she made her professional debut on the London stage in 1927, at the age of 18. During the 1930s, she appeared in a large number of plays in London’s West End, playing roles such as Ophelia, opposite John Gielgud’s legendary Hamlet, and Katherine, opposite Laurence Olivier’s Henry V. In the 1930s, she also worked in a couple of British films. Following the end of her marriage to the British actor Jack Hawkins, she moved to New York in 1940, where she met Canadian actor Hume Cronyn. He became her second husband and frequent partner on stage and screen.
Over the following three decades, her career continued sporadically and included a supporting role in Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film, The Birds (1963), and a Tony Award-winning performance in The Gin Game (1977, playing in the two-hander play opposite Hume Cronyn). Along with Cronyn, she was a member of the original acting company of the Guthrie Theater.
At the height of her success, she was named as one of People’s “50 Most Beautiful People”.
1924 – Dolores Gray (actress: The Buick Circus Hour, The Opposite Sex, Kismet, Designing Woman; died June 26, 2002)
1928 – James Ivory (director: Jefferson in Paris, The Remains of the Day, Howard’s End, A Room with a View, The Bostonians, Roseland, Wild Party, The Householder)
1931 – Virginia McKenna (actress: Duel of Hearts, Born Free, The Chosen, Simba)
1952 – Liam Neeson (actor: Excalibur, The Dead Pool, Ethan Frome, Schindler’s List, Rob Roy, Les Mis’rables, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace)
1964 – Gia Carides (actress: Primary Colors, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, A Secret Affair)
1972 – Chris Martin (actor: Madison, Amazon, The Girls’ Room)
1976 – Cassidy Rae (actress: Melrose Place, Just Shoot Me, Days of Our Lives, Favorite Deadly Sins, Journey of the Heart)
1981 – Larisa Oleynik (actress: 3rd Rock from the Sun, The Secret World of Alex Mack, Ten Things I Hate About You)