One of the greatest actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age is Joanne Woodward. She is also known as the wife of one of Hollywood’s greatest actors – Paul Newman. She turned 91 in 2022, and is still remembered as one of the icons of American cinema.
Sadly, in the past few years, Joanne Woodward’s health has been getting worse. We wish her well and it’s important for more fans of cinema to be aware of what’s going on.
But let’s first go back in time to learn about Joanne Woodward and how she got into acting. Her life’s story is inspirational and her story is sure to move anyone.
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Joanne Woodward was born on the 27th of Februatry, 1930, in Thomasville, Georgia. While she didn’t come from an entertainment background, her mother was a huge fan of cinema and named Joanne after the actress Joan Crawford.
As a young child, she attended a premiere of the film Gone With The Wind in Atlanta. She moved by the film and loved the performances. After the film ended, she ran up to Sir Laurence Olivier – who was in a relationship with Vivien Leigh, one of the stars of the film. Years later, she would work with Sir Laurence Olivier in the TV movie Come Back Little Sheba.
This experience of seeing a magnificent film and meeting movie stars was enough to convince Joanne to pursue an acting career of her own. She took acting classes while in school and performed in local plays.
Joanne’s loved acting and realized that she had a future in the business. She attended Louisiana State University to study drama. She later relocated to New York City to join The Actor’s Studio and also became part of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre where she studied under Sanford Meisner.
As she’s honing her acting skills, she also on the lookout to get started in film and television…
Before we tell you more about Joanne Woodward’s life and career, please like this video and subscribe to FactsVerse for more interesting stories about pop culture and your favorite celebrities and more fascinating biopics! Now, let’s get back to the video…
JOANNE’S EARLY SUCCESSES
Joanne Woodward landed her first television role in an episode of Robert Montgomery Presents. During this same year, she also began pursuing roles in the theater. She performed as an understudy in the play “Picnic” and it was here where she met another aspiring actor who would later become her husband – Paul Newman!
Throughout the 1950s she appeared in bit parts in popular TV shows. These included roles in shows such as:
- Tales of Tomorrow
- The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
- You Are There
- The Ford Television Theatre
- The Elgin Hour
- Armstrong Circle Theatre
- Star Tonight
- Ponds Theater and
- The Star and the Story
EDITORS NOTE : CONSIDER JUST NAMING A FEW OF THESE
It took time for Joanne Woodward to gain greater recognition, however. She managed to secure regular roles in television and film throughout the 1950s – but she wasn’t yet a star or a largely recognized actress.
Two of her early film successes were in the films Count Three and Pray and A Kiss Before Dying. While she was getting more and more work she was still looking for the big break that would establish her as a star. This changed in 1957… Join Facts Verse to learn about Joanne Woodward’s health, her life and career and how she eventually became a star.
In 1957, Joanne Woodward cast in the lead role in a film called The Three Faces of Eve. This was a mystery film that followed a woman with multiple personalities – an unusual theme for a film made in the 1950s
She won praise for the film and also won an Oscar for her acting in the film. This was the movie that launched her to stardom, and she never looked back afterward.
Her later major roles included roles in film such as No Down Payment and The Sound and the Fury. She also acted with her husband Paul Newman in a few films including From the Terrace and Paris Blues.
Throughout the 1960s, she continued to appear in one hit film after the next. Her major films during this decade included films such as The Stripper, A Big Hand for the Little Lady, A Fine Madness, and Rachel Rachel – which garnered her a second Oscar win!
One of her biggest film successes in the 1970s was in the comedy film The End which starred Burt Reynolds.
In the 1970s, she continued acting in films but also returned to television which was once again going through a renaissance in the United States. She found work in TV movies and miniseries including A Christmas to Remember and See How She Runs.
She won Emmy awards for much of her work in television. Her stardom continued to grow throughout the 1970s and she highly regarded as one of the best actresses of her generation.
A mention should made of some of her other famous roles and the reception towards them. With The Three Faces of Eve, she managed to play one character with 3 different personalities. This showed a lot of range especially for a rather new actress – only a few years into her acting career. Join Facts Verse to learn about Joanne Woodward’s health, her life and career and how she eventually became a star.
Many actresses might have peaked after winning an Oscar at such an early stage in their career.
But Joanne Woodward was truly passionate about the craft of acting and she never lost the desire to take on challenging roles – even after she became a huge star!
In No Down Payment, she played Leola Boone – who is flirtatious and is married to a rather harsh man. This fascinating and often overlooked drama film dealt with many of the social issues that America faced at the time – and perhaps didn’t want to discuss. These included racism, alcoholism, promiscuity, changing social mores, etc. The choice to star in this film once again showed that Joanne Woodward wasn’t afraid to take on difficult roles in her films.
In Signpost To Murder, she played a mysterious and dark character who escapes to a woman’s refuge – while hiding secrets of her own. In her later years she probably best known for her role as Sarah Beckett in Philadelphia and as the narrator for Martin Scorsese’s film The Age of Innocence.
Her talents respected throughout the generations and no doubt the movie offers kept coming and often too much for her to handle! She’s truly an inspiration to aspiring actresses today.
Some of her best work, of course, was when she acted alongside her husband Paul Newman.
JOANNE WOODWARD & PAUL NEWMAN
A mention must made about Joanne Woodward’s relationship with her husband, the late Paul Newman. The two were a power couple and were both among the greatest talents of their generation.
They met in the early 1950s while working on the play “Picnic” together. Later, after divorcing his wife, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward married on January 29, 1958.
The two of them acted together in a few films and Paul Newman even directed some of these films such as “Rachel Rachel.” Both of them, of course, were Oscar winners and highly respected by their colleagues, critics, and audiences. They’ll always be remembered as two of the actors who contributed most to American cinema.
They worked together in the films Winning and WUSA which became major hits and were probably the best-known films in which they collaborated. While Joanne Woodward loved being a film star and was passionate about her career, she was also dedicated to her family.
She and Paul Newman had 3 children together. The two were married until Paul Newman’s death in in 2008. They were married for 50 years!
JOANNE WOODWARD’s LIFE AND LEGACY
What made Joanne Woodward stand out from her contemporaries was that she managed to carve out a long career – which is rare for any Hollywood actor, even for a big star.
As a younger actress she became a starlet but she was known for more than her looks. She had an incredible range as an actress and gave us many memorable roles. Joanne Woodward was often the lead in a film but even when she wasn’t she always made her presence known on-screen.
She was one of the few actresses of her generation who could steal the show no matter how small the role and what the genre of the film was.
Even as she approached her sixties, she was working in major films. In 1990, she appeared in the film Mr. and Mrs. Bridge directed by James Ivory. Once again, she was acting alongside her husband Paul Newman.
She always fondly discussed her life with Paul Newman,
the work they did together and her career.
Joanne Woodward truly lived a rich life.
And that’s why it’s sad to report that her health is getting worse by the day.
She’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
This terrible disease has led her to lose much of her memory.
So much so, that she seldom remembers her life with Paul Newman and her illustrious career.
As fans, we must look back on her career and introduce her brilliant work to new audiences.
In the meantime, let’s also wish Joanne Woodward well as she battles this illness.
We wish Joanne Woodward well and hope her health improves…
So, now let’s hear from you:
Do you think Joanne Woodward’s films and career are still appreciated today?
Or do newer generations need to discover her work?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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