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Anne Revere

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Annerevere
Anne Revere in the 1940s

Anne Revere (1903-1990) was a stage and film character actress who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award as Elizabeth Taylor's mother in National Velvet (1944).

She guest starred on Sesame Street during Season 8, playing Ms. Sharpe, "a temporary worker" in Hooper's Store. Her character was part of an endeavor that season to include more women characters, and in non-stereotyped roles.[1]

After training with Maria Ouspenskaya at the American Laboratory School, Revere established herself on Broadway in the 1930s, most notably originating the part of Caroline Van Brett in the Gothic melodrama Double Door (1933, a part she reprised in the Hollywood film the next year) and taking a rare lead role in The Children's Hour as Martha, one of the two teachers accused of lesbianism. Due to the play's controversial subject matter, Revere participated in the legal fight for the show to play in Boston.[2]

In 1939, after a run in Chekhov's The Three Sisters, Revere relocated to Hollywood, swiftly establishing herself as an in-demand player in a variety of distinguished films, most often as mothers (to a slew of top stars) or eccentric spinsters. Her credits included Men of Boys Town, The Song of Bernadette (Oscar nominated as Jennifer Jones' mother), The Meanest Man in the World (as Jack Benny's secretary), The Thin Man Goes Home (as shotgun wielding local Crazy Mary), and Dragonwyck (with Vincent Price, as Gene Tierney's mother). 1947 proved to be an especially productive year, as Revere played key roles in Body and Soul and Gentleman's Agreement (garnering her third and final Oscar nomination as Gregory Peck's mother).

However, she soon found herself curtailed by the Red Scare, when she was called before the HUAC and refused to testify in 1951 (after shooting A Place in the Sun). When interviewed in later years, Revere said that during her Hollywood days, "I got to know communists and Communism [but] I knew it wasn't for me. I'm a free-thinking Yankee rebel and nobody's going to tell me what to do,"[2] an attitude she extended to the HUAC.

As a result, Revere was blacklisted, returning to the stage but working only sporadically on Broadway, though she garnered a Tony-award for Best Featured Actress in Toys in the Attic (1960), and the very rare TV spot. She had a comeback of sorts in the 1970s, taking a small role in Otto Preminger's Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970, starring Liza Minnelli) and playing a rural herbalist/"witch" in Birch Interval (1975). In television, in addition to Sesame Street, she appeared on soap operas with recurring roles on Edge of Night, Search for Tomorrow, and Ryan's Hope, plus guest parts on The Six Million Dollar Man and Barretta.

Sources

  1. "Street Spurs Related Teaching: Sesame Street Begins Eight Season on TV." The Daily News (Huntingdon and Mount Union, PA). December 3, 1976
  2. 2.0 2.1 Folkart, Burt A. "Anne Revere; Actress Won Oscar, Tony." Los Angeles Times. December 20, 1990

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