Gale Sondergaard

Active - 1936 - 1983  |   Born - Feb 15, 1899   |   Died - Aug 14, 1985   |   Genres - Drama, Mystery, Action

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Biography by AllMovie

Sloe-eyed character actress whose icy persona lent itself to the portrayal of villainous women, Sondergaard took up acting after college, paying her dues with several years in stock and then reaching Broadway in the late '20s. In 1930 she married director Herbert Biberman, whom she followed to Hollywood in the mid 1930s. Reluctantly, she accepted a role in Anthony Adverse (1936), her screen debut; for her work she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar (the first ever awarded). For the next decade-plus she specialized in playing evil women, though occasionally her characters were warm-hearted. In the late '40s she became yet another victim of the Red Scare witch hunts -- her husband was one of the "Hollywood Ten" sentenced to prison terms following appearances before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and neither he nor she could get any more work. Sondergaard returned to acting in 1965 with Woman, an off-Broadway one-woman show. Her first film appearance in 20 years was in Slaves (1969) -- the last film her husband ever directed. After Slaves she appeared in two more movies throughout the next fifteen years.

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