Truly one of The Greats, Patricia Neal passed away today of cancer. If you’re unfamiliar with Neal, time to brush up. She had a style and grace that illustrates how acting was a craft before everything in Hollywood became about fame and fame alone. Here’s her film list, but you could rent 3-4 films to get a sense of Patricia Neal’s work:

The Fountainhead (1949), with Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, screenplay by Ayn Rand based on the novel. Here, Neal ‘disciplines’ Coop, and he kisses her back 🙂

The Hasty Heart,(1949) co-starring Ronald Reagan and…

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Plus: A Face in the Crowd (1957) with Andy Griffith (I know, but trust me, it’s a tour de force).

Not always “The Star” she supported great men in wonderful films and made in indelible mark, her work always standing out on its own. May she Rest in Peace.

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11 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. lord-ruler says:

    I am going to put what Andy Griffith did out of my mind. I just have too many good memories of him and Barney in my formative years. I am glad Ernest P. Worrel died before I found out if he was a liberal or not. I don’t want to know.

  2. Artgal says:

    I hate to hear this. I’m a big fan of the classics and Neal’s work was indeed an artform. Hers was a work that was part of an era that will never be recaptured in Hollywood.

    One of the things I also admired about Neal, beyond her acting work, was her perserverance under enormous personal and physical turmoil. Where many would have given up, she did not. She continued working and also went on to help others met with similar obstacles in life.

    Indeed, may she rest in peace. She was a person of faith and for all she endured in this life, she can now enjoy an eternal peace and being reunited with her children who went before her.

  3. Maynard says:

    I see Neal was married to Roald Dahl, the author who was perhaps best known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl must have been a curious character; his fiction can get pretty weird. I read one of his novels, My Uncle Oswald. It’s about some people that get their hands on the world’s most powerful aphrodisiac, and they use it to seduce famous men and surreptitiously obtain their seed, which will then be sold to women wishing to bear the children of those people. Like I said, weird.

  4. Charles_TX says:

    As RuBegonia points out she said one of the most famous lines in Sci Fi history, but my favorite Neal role was as the Navy Nurse in the WWII story In Harm’s Way (1965). She was a great leading lady in a movie with John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Slim Pickens, and Burgess Meredith (and many other fine young actors). If she could shine in that cast, you know she was one of the great actresses of her day.

  5. franknitti says:

    You forgot to mention her Academy Award winning role in the greatest movie ever made, Hud, in which Neal starred with Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, and Brandon “Come Back Shane” de Wilde. BTW, everyone who has attended a Tea Party needs to watch A Face in the Crowd if only as a cautionary tale.

  6. Tinker says:

    I’m so sad today–we love our Knoxville girl Patricia Neal, she will be so missed! She always maintained a presence in East Tennessee, always coming back to visit friends and family. The Patricia Neal Rehab Center is one of the best anywhere. I met her twice here in Knoxville a few years ago and she just oozed class, poise, and beauty, but still very down to earth and pleasing.

    If you haven’t read her autobiography I highly recommend it –and along with Tammy’s recommendations I would add “Hud,” “In Harm’s Way,” and the original Waltons series movie on tv, “The Homecoming.” But you must, must see “A Face in the Crowd”–it’s a smart, film with something to say, genius performances, and made by the genius Elia Kazan.

    Maynard, I agree with you about Dahl. Even as I read her book I never understood what she saw in him. But they had children together, she loved living in England, and loved his family. Apparently she could really depend on him in the difficult times. She credits him completely with helping her recover as quickly as she did after her strokes. And for all those reasons stayed with him longer than she should have.

    I also have a personal story to tell—I did the research for all the names on a big East Tennesse war memorial here in Knoxville and am still friends with the founder of the organization that raised the money to build it. He just happens to be lifelong friends with Pat Neal. Almost two years ago he told me he took her downtown to see it (she was in a wheelchair by then). He said she told him she thought it was beautiful and that her high shcool boyfriend had died in WWII and his name was on the memorial, she was moved to tears he said. I will never forget that.

  7. thierry says:

    ayn rand loathed the film version of ‘the fountainhead’ despite the fact that she wrote the screenplay. but then again she was no ben hecht. king vidor directed it, a man who just about helped invent film as we know it.

    i think it was tallulah bankhead who said she went to hollywood ‘to have at'( insert far more graphic term) that ‘ divine gary cooper’. hollywood has always had such pretty people- but back then many of them could actually act.

    breakfast at tiffany’s. she turned down the role of mrs. robinson the ‘ the graduate’.

    such an extraordinary woman-dahl helped her learn how to walk and talk again after being in a coma. just extraordinary.

  8. The Ugly American says:

    Oh man… I had such the crush on her.

    That scene in Hud were she walks out onto the nighttime porch after a long day working in the kitchen and puts here barefeet up on the porch swing …it’s no wonder Newman couldn’t keep his hands off her.

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