After apprenticing at the Wharf Theater in Provincetown, MA, she debuted on Broadway in 1938 as the lead's understudy in Our Town; the following year her performance in the ingénue part in Life With Father caught film mogul Samuel Goldwyn's attention, and he signed her to a screen contract. Wright debuted onscreen in The Little Foxes (1941), for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. The following year she was nominated in both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories for her third and fourth films, The Pride of the Yankees and Mrs. Miniver, respectively; she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She remained busy onscreen through 1959, after which she appeared in only a handful of films during the next three decades. From 1942 to 1952, she was married to novelist and screenwriter Niven Busch; later she married, divorced, and remarried playwright Robert Anderson. In the '70s, she appeared in TV dramas. Her later stage work included Mary, Mary (1962) and the Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman (1975).
Biography by Rovi
- Decided to pursue an acting career at age 17 after seeing Helen Hayes in a stage production of Victoria Regina.
- Selected by playwright Thornton Wilder and director Jed Harris to understudy the role of Emily Webb in the 1938 Broadway production of Our Town.
- Brought to Hollywood by Samuel Goldwyn, who spotted her on Broadway in Life With Father and signed her to a long-term contract.
- Nominated for Oscars for her first three film roles (The Little Foxes, Mrs. Miniver and The Pride of the Yankees).
- Refused to do cheesecake photos, which were de rigueur for most starlets in the 1940s.
- Was the only actress Alfred Hitchcock considered for the role of Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt after she was recommended by playwright Thornton Wilder, who helped write the screenplay.
- Fired by Samuel Goldwyn in 1948 after refusing to do publicity for the sentimental Enchantment even though she claimed ill health.
- Threw out the first pitch at a 1998 Yankees game honoring the anniversary of Lou Gehrig's famous 1939 farewell speech. (She had played Gehrig's wife in the 1942 film The Pride of the Yankees.)