- NAME: Jennifer Jones
- OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Television Actress
- BIRTH DATE: March 02, 1919
- DEATH DATE: December 17, 2009
- EDUCATION: Northwestern University, American Academy of Dramatic Arts
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Tulsa, Oklahoma
- PLACE OF DEATH: Malibu, California
- Originally: Phillis Flora Isley
- AKA: Jennifer Jones
Best Known For
Jennifer Jones was an American actress best known for her Academy Award-winning performance in the film The Song of Bernadette.
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American actress Jennifer Jones was born on March 2, 1919 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her first acting role in The Song of Bernadette (1943) garnered her an Academy Award. She continued to act in television and films during the 1940s-1970s and was Oscar nominated five times. Highlights from her career include Love Letters (1945),
Duel in the Sun (1946) and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1955). Later in life she worked as the chairwoman at the Norton Simon Museum. Jones died December 17, 2009 in Malibu, California.
Actress Phyllis Flora Isley, better known as Jennifer Jones, was born on March 2, 1919, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jones studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where she met and married aspiring actor Robert Walker in 1939. Shortly after, she won a six-month contract from Republic Pictures and moved to California. In 1944, Jones divorced Walker. Around the same time, she met Hollywood mogul David O. Selznick, who saw promise in Jones' work and signed her to a personal contract. Selznick and Jones were married from 1945 until his death in 1965.
In general, Jones' professional and personal involvement with Selznick has been given a prominence that has colored assessments of her distinctive contribution to 1940s cinema. Interestingly, the central issue is not that Jones lacked talent or screen presence. The longstanding criticism is that Selznick, because of his commitment to Jones, had no critical distance and, with King Vidor's Duel in the Sun (1946), tried to fashion an erotic identity for her, making Jones into a ridiculous creation. Previously, her screen persona was as an innocent child/woman, an image established by her first starring role in Henry King's The Song of Bernadette (1943). She had also given an intense and emotionally charged performance as a girl making the transition from youth to maturity in John Cromwell's Since You Went Away (1944).
As the sensual half-breed Pearl in Duel in the Sun, Jones succeeded in giving an audaciously conceived performance. She employed a degree of physical gesture that had more in common with silent-screen acting technique than with the naturalistic behavioral mannerisms associated with the sound cinema. In addition, while her physical presence is intended to be provocative, she does not allow her physicality to undermine the complex psychological dimensions of the character. Thus, Duel in the Sun is a remarkable achievement but, like her performance, it has often been misinterpreted as degrading to female sexuality. Though conceived on a lesser scale, Ruby Gentry (1952) is equally successful in dealing with the same themes, and again Jones's sensuality is central to the expression of those concerns.
From the beginning, the screen persona of Jones was imbued with a degree of hysteria, and in Vincente Minnelli's underrated Madame Bovary (1949) this characteristic erupts with particular impact. Minnelli, a director very sensitive to the various aspects of Jones' sensibility, including her romantic indulgence, encouraged her to give a subtle performance without relinquishing the extravagant conception the character has of her identity.
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