A Tribute to Jennifer Jones

Academy Award-Winning Actress of the Golden Age Died at 90

Jennifer Jones was a romantic leading lady of the Golden Era of Hollywood who won one Oscar and was nominated for four more. The actress has died at the age of 90.

Jennifer Jones, an Academy Award-winning actress of the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood passed away on December 17, 2009, at the age of 90. According to an obituary in the New York Times, Jones died of natural causes at her home in Malibu, California.

Jennifer Jones received an Academy Award for the movie The Song of Bernadette (1943). Jones was also nominated for the Academy Award for her roles in Since You Went Away (1944), Love Letters (1945), Duel in the Sun (1946) and Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955).

Jennifer Jones Tribute

It was Hollywood producer David O. Selznick who helped to launch Jones to stardom in Hollywood. Selznick is best known for the sweeping movie ‘Gone With the Wind” in 1939. Gone With the Wind was the Civil War epic that starred Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as the gallant villain Rhett Butler.

Jennifer Jones was born Phyllis Isley in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1919. Jones’ name was Phyllis Walker and she was married to actor Robert Walker when she met David O. Selznick, who was also married. Selznick and Jones each divorced their respective spouses and married each other in 1949. The couple was married until 1965 when Selznick died of a heart attack.

Jennifer Jones starred in Duel in the Sun, produced by Selznick, in 1946. Selznick also produced Portrait of Jennie in 1948 and Earnest Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms in 1957.

Jones married millionaire industrialist and art collector Norton Simon in 1971. The couple was married until 1993 when Simon passed away. After the death of her husband, Jennifer Jones transformed the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California with a $3 million renovation.

Jennifer Jones is survived by one son, Robert Walker, Jr. Her other son with Robert Walker, Michael Walker passed away in 2007. Her daughter with Selznick, Mary Jennifer Selznick, committed suicide in 1971 at the age of 22.

Jennifer Jones Movies

Jennifer Jones won one Academy Award, for Song of Bernadette, and was nominated for four more. The nominations include Since You Went Away, Love Letters, Duel in the Sun and Love is a Many Splendored Thing.

Song of Bernadette (1943) – Jones won an Oscar for her role of Bernadette Soubrious, a young peasant girl who has a vision that she believes is the Virgin Mary.

Portrait of Jennie: Classic Romantic Thriller

Portrait of Jennie, made in 1948, is a romantic thriller starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotton, in a mysterious love story of lovers caught in different times. The love story with a haunting supernatural tone reminiscent of The Enchanted Cottage (1945) and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947). Later movies it could be compared to include Ghost (1990) and Somewhere in Time (1980). Portrait of Jennie was produced by Jones’ real life husband, David O. Selznick.

Jennifer Jones, a leading star of the 1940s and 1950s, was directed by her husband David O. Selznick in this intriguing drama about an artist Eben Adams(Joseph Cotton) who falls in love with a beautiful girl from another era. The two meet in Central Park when she is a girl and he an adult. She appears to him sporadically to entreat Eben to wait for her to grow up.

Eben Adams (Joseph Cotton) is a struggling landscape painter in Depression-era New York. A gallery owner, Miss Spinney (Ethyl Barrymore) takes an interest in the young man and encourages him in his art.

Cotton is infatuated with Jennie and paints a portrait of the beautiful girl. In painting her portrait his work comes to life. Miss Spinney takes Eben under her protective wing and is intrigued with his tale of the lovely but mysterious Jennie.Oscar Win

Barretts of Wimpole Street: a Love Story

The Barretts of Wimpole Street stars Jennifer Jones as Elizabeth Barrett, who falls in love with John Browning (Bill Travers) in defiance of her father (John Gielgud).

The Barretts of Wimpole Street is a classic movie, from 1957, starring Jennifer Jones as the poet Elizabeth Barrett. The move explores her relationship with her controlling father Edward Mounton-Barrett (John Gielgud) and her love for Robert Browning (Bill Travers). The 1957 film was a remake of the 1934 film starring Norma Shearer and Charles Laughton.

Love Letters: a Classic Romantic Drama

Love Letters (1945) is a romantic drama starring Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotton and Robert Sully. The story is a Cyrano de Bergerac type story, about a soldier writing letters in the name of the other, with tragic consequences.

Allen Quinton (Joseph Cotton) wrote letters from Italy for his buddy Robert Moreland (Robert Sully) to a young woman, Singleton (Jennifer Jones), whom he barely knew. She fell in love with the letter writer and later married Robert Moreland, thinking he wrote the romantic letters to her. Moreland was nothing like the letter writer and treated his wife roughly.

Love Letters is a love story that explores the serious consequences that can come from foolish choices as well as a story of forgiveness and love. Jennifer Jones was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Singleton. Love Letters was also nominated for Best Song, Best Score and Best Black and White Art Direction.

Oscar Nominations

  • Since You Went Away(1944) – Claudette Colbert and Jennifer Jones star as women on the home front during World War II.
  • Love Letters (1945) – Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten costar in this romantic drama.
  • Duel in the Sun (1946) – Jones portrays a tempestuous half-breed torn between the love of two brothers, one good and one bad. The movie also stars Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish and Walter Huston.
  • Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955) – Jones portrays a widowed doctor of Chinese and European descent who falls in love with an American correspondent (William Holden) during the Communist revolution in China.

Jennifer Jones Movies 1940’s and 1950’s

During the 1940s and 1950’s Jennifer Jones also starred in Since You Went Away (1944), American Creed (1946), Cluny Brown (1946), Portrait of Jennie (1948), We Were Strangers (1949), Madame Bovary (1949), Gone to Earth (1950), The Wild Heart (1952), Stazione Termini (1953), Beat the Devil (1953), Good Morning Miss Dove (1955), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957), A Farewell to Arms (1957).

Jennifer Jones was one of the famous romantic heroines of the 1940s and 1950s. Most of her movies are in black and white. Some of the films can be found occasionally on classic television channels. Most, if not all, are available on DVD.

Resources:

  • New York Times
  • IMDb
  • Academy Awards Press
  • TCM Cable TV

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