Anne Baxter

Active - 1940 - 2004  |   Born - May 7, 1923 in Michigan City, Indiana, United States  |   Died - Dec 12, 1985   |   Genres - Drama, Western, Mystery, Comedy, Romance

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Raised in Bronxville, N.Y., the granddaughter of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Anne Baxter took up acting at the age of 11 with Maria Ouspenskaya, debuting on Broadway two years later (in Seen but Not Heard); she continued working on Broadway until her screen debut at age 17 in Twenty-Mule Team (1940), a minor Western featuring Wallace Beery and Marjorie Rambeau. Charming if not beautiful, she tended to play shy and innocent types and gave a few outstanding performances, such as that with Bette Davis in All About Eve (1950); she and Davis were both nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, but it went to Judy Holliday. Her "breakthrough" film was Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), leading to many more roles in the next few years. At home in a variety of parts, she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1946 for her work in The Razor's Edge. Although she has worked with many of Hollywood's most celebrated and accomplished directors (Welles, Hitchcock, Lang, Mankiewicz, Wilder Wellman), after the mid-'50s she tended to get poor roles in mediocre movies. Baxter left Hollywood in 1961 for an isolated cattle station in Australia, an experience she described in her critically-acclaimed book Intermission: A True Story. She made a few more films, but her major work was as Lauren Bacall's replacement as Margo Channing in Applause, the musical version of All About Eve; having played Eve in the film, she now assumed the role earlier held by Davis. Baxter also did some TV work, including a part in the early '80s series Hotel. She was married from 1946-53 to actor John Hodiak, whom she met while filming Sunday Dinner for a Soldier (1944).

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Factsheet

  • Maternal granddaughter of architect Frank Lloyd Wright (narrated the 1983 documentary Portrait of an Artist: The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright).
  • Began studying with noted drama teacher Maria Ouspenskaya at age 11; made Broadway debut two years later.
  • Breakout film role was in Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).
  • Met first husband John Hodiak while both were filming the 1944 drama Sunday Dinner for a Soldier.
  • Was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for All About Eve, as was Eve costar Bette Davis; both lost to Judy Holliday (for Born Yesterday). 
  • As Nefretiri in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1986), uttered the camp-classic line: "Oh Moses, you stubborn, splendid, adorable fool."
  • Returned to Broadway in 1971 in Applause, the musical adaptation of All About Eve, as Margo Channing, Bette Davis' role in the movie.
  • Notable TV roles include Robert Young's love interest in the 1969-70 season of Marcus Welby, M.D.; and the proprietor in Aaron Spelling's Hotel (1983-88) (replacing Davis, who appeared in the pilot).