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Colleen Dewhurst Biography,Career,Nominations and Awards

About Colleen Dewhurst

Colleen Rose Dewhurst was a Canadian-American actress known most for theatre roles, and for a while as “the Queen of off-Broadway.” In her autobiography, Dewhurst wrote: “I had moved so quickly from one off-Broadway production to the next that I was known, at one point, as the ‘Queen of off-Broadway’. Colleen Dewhurst was born June 3, 1924 in Montreal, Quebec to a housewife Frances Marie and Ferdinand Augustus “Fred” Dewhurst. She had no siblings. Fred Dewhurst was the owner of a chain of confectionery stores, and wife Frances’ father had been a celebrated athlete in Canada where he had played football with the Ottawa Rough Riders”. The family became naturalized as U.S. citizens before 1940. Colleen’s mother was a Christian Scientist, a faith Colleen also embraced.

The Dewhursts moved to Massachusetts in 1928 or 1929, staying in Boston, Dorchester, Auburndale, and West Newton. Later they moved to New York City, and then to Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. She attended Whitefish Bay High School for her first two years of high school, moved to Shorewood High School for her junior year, and finally graduated from Riverside High School in Milwaukee in 1942. Around this time, her parents separated. Dewhurst went on to attend Milwaukee-Downer College for two years before moving to New York City to pursue an acting career.

One of Dewhurst’s most significant stage roles was in the 1974 Broadway revival of O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten as Josie Hogan, for which she won a Tony Award. She previously won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in 1961 for All the Way Home. She later played Katharina in a 1956 production of Taming of the Shrew for Joseph Papp. She played Shakespeare’s Cleopatra and Lady Macbeth for Papp and, years later, Gertrude in a production of Hamlet at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. Dewhurst and George C. Scott met while working together in 1958, in Children of Darkness, while they were both married to other people.

In 1965,she appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Hour in Night Fever and with Ingrid Bergman in More Stately Mansions on Broadway in 1967. José Quintero directed her in O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night and Mourning Becomes Electra. She appeared in Edward Albee’s adaptation of Carson McCullers’ Ballad of the Sad Cafe, and as Martha in a Broadway revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, opposite Ben Gazzara which Albee directed.

In 1962, she appeared as Joanne Novak in the episode “I Don’t Belong in a White-Painted House” in NBC’s medical drama, The Eleventh Hour, starring Wendell Corey and Jack Ging. Dewhurst appeared opposite her then-husband, Scott, in a 1971 television adaptation of Arthur Miller’s The Price, on Hallmark Hall of Fame, an anthology series, and there is another television recording of them together when she played Elizabeth Proctor to his unfaithful John in Miller’s The Crucible (with Tuesday Weld). In 1977, Woody Allen cast her in his film Annie Hall as Annie’s mother.

She played a madam, Mrs. Kate Collingwood, in The Cowboys in 1972,which starred John Wayne. In 1985, she played the role of Marilla Cuthbert in Kevin Sullivan’s adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel Anne of Green Gables, and reprised the role in 1987’s Anne of Avonlea (also known as Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel), and in several episodes of Kevin Sullivan’s Road to Avonlea. Dewhurst died before the character of Marilla could be written out and her final scenes were picked up off the editing-room floor and pieced together for her death scene. During 1989 and 1990, she appeared in a supporting role on the television series Murphy Brown playing the feisty mother of Candice Bergen’s title character; this role earned her two Emmy Awards, the second being awarded posthumously. Dewhurst won a total of two Tony Awards and four Emmy Awards for her stage and television work. She was president of the Actors’ Equity Association from 1985 until her death from cervical cancer in 1991.

Colleen Dewhurst Photo

Colleen Dewhurst Photo

Colleen Dewhurst Awards and Nominations

  1. 1986: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie — Between Two Women
  2. 1989: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress – Comedy Series — Murphy Brown
  3. 1989: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie — Those She Left Behind
  4. 1991: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress – Comedy Series — Murphy Brown
  5. 1961: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play – All the Way Home
  6. 1974: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play — A Moon for the Misbegotten
  7. 1962: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actress – Focus
  8. 1968: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama – The Crucible
  9. 1971: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – The Price
  10. 1976: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special – A Moon For the Misbegotten
  11. 1979: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie – Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story
  12. 1981: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie – The Women’s Room
  13. 1990: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie — Lantern Hill
  14. 1990: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress – Drama Series — Road to Avonlea
  15. 1991: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress – Drama Series — Road to Avonlea
  16. 1962: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play — Great Day In the Morning
  17. 1964: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play — The Ballad of the Sad Cafe
  18. 1968: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play — More Stately Mansions
  19. 1972: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play — All Over
  20. 1973: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play — Mourning Becomes Electra
  21. 1977: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play — Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


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