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Ellen Miriam Hopkins (October 18, 1902 – October 9, 1972) was an American actress known for her versatility. She first signed with
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...

Paramount Pictures
in 1930. Her best known roles included a pickpocket in
Ernst Lubitsch Ernst Lubitsch (; January 29, 1892November 30, 1947) was a German-born American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as ...
's romantic comedy '' Trouble in Paradise'', bar singer Ivy in
Rouben Mamoulian Rouben Zachary Mamoulian ( ; hy, Ռուբէն Մամուլեան; October 8, 1897 – December 4, 1987) was an Armenian-American film director, film producer and a theatre director. Mamoulian is widely regarded as one of the most influential ...
's '' Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'' and the titular character in the controversial drama ''
The Story of Temple Drake ''The Story of Temple Drake'' is a 1933 American pre-Code '' (1931) were able to feature criminal, anti-hero protagonists. File:LegsTurntab42ndStTrailer.jpg, upright=1.5, ''42nd Street (film), 42nd Street'' (1933) made concessions to the Hays&n ...
''. She received a nomination for the
Academy Award for Best Actress The Academy Award for Best Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, often pronounced ; also known as simply the Academy or the Motion ...
for the 1935 film ''
Becky Sharp Rebecca "Becky" Sharp, later describing herself as Rebecca, Lady Crawley, is the main protagonist of William Makepeace Thackeray's 1847–48 novel ''Vanity Fair (novel), Vanity Fair''. She is presented as a cynical Parvenu#Social climber, soci ...
'', by which she earned the distinction of being the first performer nominated for a performance in a color picture, and a
Golden Globe The Golden Globe Awards are accolades bestowed by the 87 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is a non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a ...
nomination for ''
The Heiress ''The Heiress'' is a 1949 American romance film produced and directed by William Wyler and starring Olivia de Havilland as Catherine Sloper, Montgomery Clift as Morris Townsend, and Ralph Richardson Sir Ralph David Richardson (19 Decembe ...
''. She co-starred with
Joel McCrea Joel Albert McCrea (November 5, 1905 – October 20, 1990) was an American actor whose career spanned a wide variety of genres over almost five decades, including comedy, drama, romance, thrillers, adventures, and Western film, Westerns, for ...
in five films. Her long-running feud with actress
Bette Davis Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) was an American actress with a career spanning more than 50 years and 100 acting credits. She was noted for playing unsympathetic, sardonic To be sardonic is to be disdainfully or c ...

Bette Davis
was publicized for effect. Hopkins later became a pioneer of TV drama. She was considered a distinguished hostess in Hollywood, and moved in intellectual and creative circles.


Early life

Hopkins was born in
Savannah, Georgia Savannah ( ) is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may al ...
, to Homer Hopkins and Ellen Cutler and raised in Bainbridge, near the Alabama border. She had an older sister, Ruby (1900–1990). Her maternal great-grandfather, the fourth mayor of Bainbridge, had helped establish St. John's Episcopal Church in the city. Hopkins sang in the choir as a girl. In 1909, she briefly lived in Mexico with her family. After her parents separated, Hopkins moved as a teen with her mother to
Syracuse, New York Syracuse ( ) is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be d ...
, to be near her paternal uncle, Thomas Cramer Hopkins, head of the geology department at
Syracuse University Syracuse University (Syracuse, 'Cuse, or SU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, afte ...

Syracuse University
.T.C. Hopkins Faculty Profile
, archives.syr.edu; accessed June 27, 2015.
Hopkins attended Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vermont (later renamed
Goddard College Goddard College is a progressive education private liberal arts low-residency A low-residency program (or limited residency program) is a form of education, normally at the university level, which involves some amount of distance education ...
), and Syracuse University in New York State.


Career

At age 20, Hopkins became a chorus girl in New York City; she also acted regularly on the stage throughout the 1920s, including in the 1926 stage adaptation of
Theodore Dreiser Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser (; August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945) was an American novelist and journalist of the naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organi ...

Theodore Dreiser
's ''
An American Tragedy ''An American Tragedy'' is a 1925 novel by American writer Theodore Dreiser. He began the manuscript in the summer of 1920, but a year later abandoned most of that text. It was based on the notorious murder of Grace Brown in 1906 and the trial of ...
''. In 1930, she starred on
Broadway Broadway may refer to: Theatre * Broadway Theatre (disambiguation) * Broadway theatre, theatrical productions in professional theatres near Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. ** Broadway (Manhattan), the street **Broadway Theatre (53rd Str ...
in the play '' Ritzy'' by
Sidney Toler Sidney Toler (born Hooper G. Toler Jr., April 28, 1874 – February 12, 1947) was an American actor, playwright, and theatre director. The second European-American actor to play the role of Charlie Chan on screen, he is best remembered for his p ...
. She starred on Broadway in the lead of ''Jezebel'', a 1933 play by
Owen Davis Owen Gould Davis (January 29, 1874 – October 14, 1956) was an American dramatist known for writing more than 200 plays and having most produced. In 1919, he became the first elected president of the Dramatists Guild of America The Dramatists Gu ...
. When it was adapted as a 1938 film of the same name, Hopkins was bitterly disappointed that
Bette Davis Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) was an American actress with a career spanning more than 50 years and 100 acting credits. She was noted for playing unsympathetic, sardonic To be sardonic is to be disdainfully or c ...

Bette Davis
was chosen for the role she had played on stage. This began a feud between them, which was publicized by the motion picture studios. In 1930, Hopkins signed with
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...

Paramount Pictures
and made her official film debut in '' Fast and Loose''. Her first great success was in the 1931 horror drama film '' Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'', where she portrayed
Ivy Pearson ''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'' is a 1931 American Pre-Code Hollywood, pre-Code horror film, directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March, who plays a possessed doctor who tests his new formula that can unleash people's inner demons. The f ...
, a prostitute who becomes entangled with Jekyll and Hyde. She received rave reviews, including one from
Mordaunt Hall Mordaunt Hall (1 November 1878 – 2 July 1973) was the first regularly assigned motion picture critic for ''The New York Times'', working from October 1924 to September 1934.Ernst Lubitsch Ernst Lubitsch (; January 29, 1892November 30, 1947) was a German-born American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as ...
's '' Trouble in Paradise'', where she proved her charm and wit as a beautiful and jealous pickpocket. During the pre-code Hollywood of the early 1930s, she appeared in ''
The Smiling Lieutenant ''The Smiling Lieutenant'' is a 1931 American Pre-Code Hollywood, pre-Code musical comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins, and released by Paramount Pictures. It was written by S ...
'', ''
The Story of Temple Drake ''The Story of Temple Drake'' is a 1933 American pre-Code '' (1931) were able to feature criminal, anti-hero protagonists. File:LegsTurntab42ndStTrailer.jpg, upright=1.5, ''42nd Street (film), 42nd Street'' (1933) made concessions to the Hays&n ...
'', and ''
Design for Living ''Design for Living'' is a comedy play written by Noël Coward Sir Noël Peirce Coward (16 December 189926 March 1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what ''Time ...
'', all of which were box-office successes and critically acclaimed. ''Design for Living'' ranked as one of the top ten highest-grossing films of 1933. Hopkins' early films were considered sexually risqué; produced in the years before the
Motion Picture Production Code The Motion Picture Production Code was a set of industry guidelines for the self-censorship Self-censorship is the act of censorship, censoring or Classified Information, classifying one's own discourse. This is done out of fear of, or deferenc ...

Motion Picture Production Code
was rigorously enforced, they featured issues that would be prohibited after 1934. For instance, ''The Story of Temple Drake'' depicted a rape scene and ''Design for Living'' featured a ménage à trois with
Fredric March Fredric March (born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel; August 31, 1897 – April 14, 1975) was an American actor, regarded as one of Hollywood's most celebrated, versatile stars of the 1930s and 1940s.Obituary ''Variety Variety may refer to: ...
and
Gary Cooper Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper; May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961) was an American actor known for his strong, silent, and understated acting style. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award prese ...

Gary Cooper
. Her successes continued during the remainder of the decade with the romantic comedy '' The Richest Girl in the World'' (1934); the historical drama ''
Becky Sharp Rebecca "Becky" Sharp, later describing herself as Rebecca, Lady Crawley, is the main protagonist of William Makepeace Thackeray's 1847–48 novel ''Vanity Fair (novel), Vanity Fair''. She is presented as a cynical Parvenu#Social climber, soci ...
'' (1935), for which she was nominated for the
Academy Award for Best Actress The Academy Award for Best Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, often pronounced ; also known as simply the Academy or the Motion ...
; ''
Barbary Coast The terms Barbary Coast, Barbary, Berbery or Berber Coast were used in English-language sources (similarly to equivalent terms in other languages) from the 16th century to the early 19th to refer to the coastal regions of North Africa Nort ...
'' (1935); ''
These Three ''These Three'' is a 1936 American drama film In film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of appl ...
'' (1936) (the first of four films with director
William Wyler William Wyler (; born Willi Wyler (); July 1, 1902 – July 27, 1981) was a Swiss-German-American film director and producer who won the Academy Award for Best Director three times, those being for ''Mrs. Miniver'' (1942), ''The Best Years of O ...
); and '' The Old Maid'' (1939). Hopkins was one of the first actresses approached to play the role of Ellie Andrews in ''
It Happened One Night ''It Happened One Night'' is a 1934 pre-Code '' (1931) were able to feature criminal, anti-hero protagonists. File:LegsTurntab42ndStTrailer.jpg, upright=1.5, ''42nd Street (film), 42nd Street'' (1933) made concessions to the Hays Code ...
'' (1934). She rejected the part, and
Claudette Colbert Claudette Colbert ( ; born Émilie Claudette Chauchoin; September 13, 1903July 30, 1996) was an American actress. Colbert began her career in Broadway theater, Broadway productions during the late 1920s and progressed to motion pictures with t ...
was cast instead. Hopkins auditioned for the role of
Scarlett O'Hara Katie Scarlett Hamilton Kennedy Butler née O'Hara is a fictional character and the protagonist in Margaret Mitchell Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell (November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949) was an American novelist and journalist. Mitchell wrote ...
in ''
Gone with the WindGone with the Wind may refer to: * Gone with the Wind (novel), ''Gone with the Wind'' (novel), a 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell * Gone with the Wind (film), ''Gone with the Wind'' (film), 1939 adaptation of the novel * Gone with the Wind (musical), ...
'', and was the only candidate to be a native Georgian; but the part went to British actress
Vivien Leigh Vivien Leigh (; 5 November 1913 – 8 July 1967; born Vivian Mary Hartley and styled as Lady Olivier after 1947) was a British actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress The Academy Award for Best Actress is an award presented ann ...
. Both Colbert and Leigh won Oscars for their performances. Hopkins had well-publicized fights with Bette Davis. Hopkins and Davis co-starred in two films, ''The Old Maid'' (1939) and ''
Old Acquaintance ''Old Acquaintance'' is a 1943 American drama film In film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practic ...
'' (1943). In this period of time, she believed that Davis was having an affair with her husband,
Anatole Litvak Mikhail Anatol Litwak (russian: Михаил Анато́ль Литва́к; 21 May 1902 – 15 December 1974), better known as Anatole Litvak, was a Russian-born American filmmaker who wrote, directed, and produced films in various countries ...
. Davis resented her jealousy and said that she had enjoyed shaking Hopkins in a scene in ''Old Acquaintance'', after Hopkins's character makes unfounded allegations against Davis's. Press photos featured the two divas in a boxing ring, gloves up, with director
Vincent Sherman Vincent Sherman (born Abraham Orovitz, July 16, 1906 – June 18, 2006) was an American director and actor who worked in Hollywood. His movies include ''Mr. Skeffington'' (1944), ''Nora Prentiss'' (1947), and ''The Young Philadelphians'' (1959). ...
between them like a referee. In later interviews, Davis described Hopkins as a "terribly good actress", but also "terribly jealous". After ''Old Acquaintance'', Hopkins did not work in films again until ''
The Heiress ''The Heiress'' is a 1949 American romantic drama film directed and produced by William Wyler, from a screenplay written by Ruth Goetz, Ruth and Augustus Goetz, adapted from their The Heiress (1947 play), 1947 stage play of the same title, which ...
'' (1949), where she played the lead character's aunt. In
Mitchell Leisen James Mitchell Leisen (October 6, 1898 – October 28, 1972) was an American director Director may refer to: Literature * Director (magazine), ''Director'' (magazine), a British magazine * The Director (novel), ''The Director'' (novel), a 1971 ...
's 1951 comedy '' The Mating Season'', she gave a comic performance as the mother of
Gene Tierney Gene Eliza Tierney (November 19, 1920 – November 6, 1991) was an American film and stage actress. Acclaimed for her great beauty, she became established as a leading lady. Tierney was best known for her portrayal of the title character in the ...

Gene Tierney
's character. She also acted in '' The Children's Hour'' (1961), a remake of her film ''
These Three ''These Three'' is a 1936 American drama film In film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of appl ...
'' (1936). In the remake, she played the aunt to
Shirley MacLaine Shirley MacLaine (born Shirley MacLean Beaty, April 24, 1934) is an American actress, singer, author, activist, and former dancer. In a career which spans seven decades, she is known for her portrayals of quirky, headstrong, eccentric women. Mac ...
, who took Hopkins' original role. Her last film roles included
Robert Redford Charles Robert Redford Jr. (born August 18, 1936) is an American actor, director, and activist. He is the List of awards and nominations received by Robert Redford, recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Awards, Academy Award from ...

Robert Redford
's mother in '' The Chase'' (1966), and as an ageing former Hollywood star in the horror film ''
Savage Intruder ''Savage Intruder'', later released as ''Hollywood Horror House'', is a 1970 American horror film directed by Donald Wolfe and starring Miriam Hopkins, John David Garfield and Gale Sondergaard.Nissen p.202 Plot An ageing and reclusive former film ...
'' (1970). Hopkins was a television pioneer. She performed in teleplays from the late 1940s through the late 1960s, in such programs as ''
The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre ''The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre'' is an American anthology series An anthology series is a radio programming, radio, television program, television, or film series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode ...
'' (1949), ''
Pulitzer Prize Playhouse ''Pulitzer Prize Playhouse'' is an American television anthology drama series which offered adaptations of Pulitzer Prize#REDIRECT Pulitzer Prize The Pulitzer Prize () is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalis ...
'' (1951), ''
Lux Video Theatre ''Lux Video Theatre'' is an American television anthology series An anthology series is a radio programming, radio, television program, television, or film series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episo ...
'' (1951–1955), and in episodes of '' The Investigators'' (1961) and '' The Outer Limits'' (1964), and even in an episode of ''
The Flying Nun ''The Flying Nun'' is an American sitcom about a community of nuns which included one who could fly when the wind caught her cornette. It was produced by Screen Gems for American Broadcasting Company, ABC based on the 1965 book ''The Fifteenth ...
'' ("Bertrille and the Silent Flicks") in 1969. She has two stars on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a historic landmark which consists of more than 2,700 five-pointed terrazzo Terrazzo is a composite material, poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of chips of mar ...

Hollywood Walk of Fame
: one for film at 1709 Vine Street and one for television at 1716 Vine Street.


Personal life

Hopkins married four times. Her first marriage was to actor Brandon Peters, second to aviator and screenwriter Austin Parker, third to the director
Anatole Litvak Mikhail Anatol Litwak (russian: Михаил Анато́ль Литва́к; 21 May 1902 – 15 December 1974), better known as Anatole Litvak, was a Russian-born American filmmaker who wrote, directed, and produced films in various countries ...
, and fourth to war correspondent Raymond B. Brock. In 1932, she adopted a son, Michael T. Hopkins (March 29, 1932 – October 5, 2010), who had a career in the U.S. Air Force. She was known for hosting elegant parties.
John O'Hara John Henry O'Hara (January 31, 1905 – April 11, 1970) was one of America's most prolific writers of Short story, short stories, credited with helping to invent ''The New Yorker'' magazine short story style.John O'Hara: Stories, Charles McGrat ...

John O'Hara
, a frequent guest, noted that She was a staunch
Democrat Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: Politics *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people ...
who strongly supported the presidency of
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
.


Death

Hopkins died in New York City from a
heart attack A myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow Hemodynamics American and British English spelling differences#ae and oe, or haemodynamics are the Fluid dynamics, dynamics of blood flow. The circulatory sy ...

heart attack
on October 9, 1972. She is buried in Oak City Cemetery in Bainbridge, Georgia.


Filmography

Short Subjects: *"The Home Girl" (1928) *"Hollywood on Parade No. B-1" (1933)


See also

* '' Miriam Hopkins: Life and Films of a Hollywood Rebel''


References


External links

* * *
Photographs of Miriam HopkinsMiriam Hopkins Interview with Biographer Allan Ellenberger
{{DEFAULTSORT:Hopkins, Miriam 1902 births 1972 deaths 20th-century American actresses Actresses from Georgia (U.S. state) American stage actresses American film actresses
American television actresses {{CatAutoTOC Television Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and white), or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. Th ...
Actors from Savannah, Georgia People from Bainbridge, Georgia Paramount Pictures contract players Georgia (U.S. state) Democrats California Democrats New York (state) Democrats 20th-century American Episcopalians