Born Janet Cole, American actress Kim Hunter trained at the Actors Studio. At age 17, she debuted onscreen in The Seventh Victim (1943) before appearing in several subpar films. Her popularity was renewed with her appearance in the British fantasy A Matter of Life and Death (1946), and, in 1947, she created the role of Stella Kowalski on Broadway in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, reprising the role in the 1951 film version, for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. But her career was dealt a terrible blow when her name appeared without cause in Red Channels, a Red-scare pamphlet during the McCarthy Era, and she was blacklisted. Several years later, she was called as the star witness in a court case instigated by another Red Channels victim, and her testimony discredited the publication and made it possible for dozens of other performers to reclaim their careers. She returned to films sporadically after this, and also did much work on stage and television; among her roles was appearing as a female ape in three Planet of the Apes films. She also wrote Loose in the Kitchen, a combination autobiography-cookbook. Hunter was married to writer Robert Emmett from 1951 until her death in 2002.
Biography by Rovi
- Her mother was a classical pianist.
- She was a founding member of the Actors Studio.
- Took the name Kim from the character Magnolia's daughter in the musical Show Boat.
- Best known for her role as Marlon Brando's wife Stella in the film and stage versions of A Streetcar Named Desire; she earned an Oscar for the film. (Brando's desperate plea of "Stella!!!" is an iconic film moment.)
- Also known to many for her portrayal of Dr. Zira in Planet of the Apes film franchise.
- Was blacklisted by the film industry during the McCarthy era. One reason for this was her appearance in a 1943 film (Tender Comrade) seen by some as pro-Soviet.
- Wrote an autobiography-cookbook titled Loose in the Kitchen.