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Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
(January 11, 1899 – June 3, 1991) was a British-born American stage actress, producer, director, translator, and author. A broadway star by age 21, Le Gallienne consciously ended her work on Broadway to devote herself to founding the Civic Repertory Theater, in which she was both director, producer, and lead actress. Noted for her boldness and idealism, she became a pioneering figure in the American Repertory Movement, which enabled today's Off-Broadway. A versatile and eloquent actress herself (playing everything from Peter Pan to Hamlet), Le Gallienne also became a respected stage coach, director, producer and manager. Ms. Le Gallienne consciously devoted herself to the Art of the Theatre as opposed to the Show Business of Broadway and dedicated herself to upgrading the quality of the stage. She ran the Civic Repertory Theatre Company for 10 years (1926–1936), producing 37 plays during that time. She managed Broadway's 1100-seat Civic Repertory Theatre at 107 West 14th Street from 1926–32, which was home to her company whose actors included herself, Burgess Meredith, John Garfield, J. Edward Bromberg, Paul Leyssac, Florida Friebus, David Manners, and Leona Roberts.

Contents

1 Life and career 2 Filmography

2.1 Film 2.2 Television

3 References 4 External links

Life and career[edit]

Billy Rose Theatre Division. Eva Le Gallienne, ca. 1920s

Le Gallienne was born in London
London
to Richard Le Gallienne, an English poet of French descent, and Julie Norregarda, a Danish journalist.[1] After Eva's parents separated when she was four years old, she and her mother moved to Paris, where she spent her childhood shuttling back and forth between there and Britain. While in Paris, she was taken backstage to meet Sarah Bernhardt, which, she said "made an enormous impression on me". She made her stage debut at the age of 15 with a walk-on role in a 1914 production of Maurice Maeterlinck's Monna Vanna, then spent several months in a drama school. She left to perform in a minor comedy as a cockney servant, and "brought down the house", receiving excellent reviews.[2]

Arnold Genthe (1869-1942)/LOC agc.7a14724. Eva Le Gallienne, not before 1916

The next year, at the age of 16, Le Gallienne and her mother sailed for New York City, where her first few productions were not successful, and she was released from another while it was performing in out of town tryouts.[2] She then spent a season performing on the road and in summer stock. After travelling in Europe
Europe
for a period of time, she returned to New York and became a Broadway star in several plays including Arthur Richman's Not So Long Ago (1920) and Ferenc Molnár's Liliom
Liliom
(1921) for the Theatre Guild.[2] Le Gallienne consciously devoted herself to the "art of the theatre" as opposed to the "show business of Broadway", and was a pioneer in the emerging American Repertory Theater. She ran the Civic Repertory Theatre Company for 10 years (1926–1936), backed by the financial support of one of her lovers, Alice DeLamar, a wealthy Colorado
Colorado
gold mine heiress, producing 37 plays during that time. She managed Broadway's 1100-seat Civic Repertory Theatre (more popularly known as The 14th Street Theatre) at 107 West 14th Street from 1926–32, which was home to her company whose actors included herself, J. Edward Bromberg, Paul Leyssac, Florida Friebus, and Leona Roberts. As head of the Civic Repertory Theatre, she rejected the admission of Bette Davis, whose attitude she described as "insincere" and "frivolous". The Civic Rep disbanded at the height of the Depression in 1934, having mounted 34 productions.[3][4] Le Gallienne was awarded the National Medal of Arts
National Medal of Arts
in 1986.

Arnold Genthe (1869-1942)/LOC agc.7a00339. Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
with cat, 1937

Le Gallienne never hid her lesbianism inside the acting community, but reportedly was never comfortable with her sexuality, struggling privately with it. She reportedly briefly considered arranging for a "front" marriage with actor Basil Rathbone.[5] During the early days of her career she often was in the company of witty, libertine actresses Tallulah Bankhead, Estelle Winwood
Estelle Winwood
and Blyth Daly, with the four being dubbed "The Four Horsemen of the Algonquin", referring to the Algonquin Round Table.[5] In 1918, while in Hollywood, she began an affair with the actress Alla Nazimova, who was at her height of fame, and who at that time wielded much power in the acting community. The affair ended reportedly due to Nazimova's jealousy. Nonetheless, Nazimova liked Le Gallienne very much, and assisted in her being introduced to many influential people of the day. It was Nazimova who coined the phrase "sewing circles", to describe the intricate and secret lesbian relationships lived by many actresses of the day. Le Gallienne also was involved for some time with actresses Tallulah Bankhead, Beatrice Lillie
Beatrice Lillie
and Laurette Taylor during that time.[5] In 1920, she became involved with poet, novelist and playwright Mercedes de Acosta
Mercedes de Acosta
about whom she was passionate for several years.[6] She and de Acosta began their romance shortly after de Acosta's marriage to Abram Poole which strained their relationship. Still, they vacationed and travelled together often, at times visiting the salon of famed writer and socialite Natalie Barney.[5] De Acosta wrote two plays for Le Gallienne during that time, Sandro Botticelli and Jehanne de Arc. Neither was successful. They ended their relationship after five years.[7] In 1960, when de Acosta was seriously ill with a brain tumour and in need of money, she published her memoir Here Lies the Heart. The reviews were positive and many close friends praised the book.[8] Le Gallienne was furious, denouncing de Acosta as a liar and claiming she invented the stories for fame. But many of de Acosta's affairs, including that with Le Gallienne, are confirmed in personal correspondence.[9] By early 1927, Le Gallienne was involved with married actress Josephine Hutchinson. Hutchinson's husband started divorce proceedings and named Le Gallienne in the divorce proceedings as "co-respondent". The press began accusations that named Josephine Hutchinson
Josephine Hutchinson
as a "shadow actress", which at the time meant lesbian. Five months later, Le Gallienne performed in a play about Emily Dickinson, titled Alison's House. The play won a Pulitzer Prize.[5] Le Gallienne and Hutchinson performed together in several plays at the Civic Repertory Theatre, including in Dear Jane (1932), a play by Eleanor Holmes Hinkley based on the life of Jane Austen. Hutchinson was cast as Jane, and Le Gallienne both directed and played her sister, Cassandra Austen. At the play's end, Hutchinson's Jane refuses three male suitors in order to run off to an unmarried future living with her sister, Le Gallienne's Cassandra. [10] For a time after the Hutchinson scandal, Le Gallienne drank heavily. According to biographer Robert Schanke, the actress's anxiety over being lesbian haunted her terribly during this time. One cold winter's night, drunk, she wandered over to a female neighbour's house. During the conversation that followed, she told her neighbour "If you have any thoughts about being a lesbian, don't do it. Your life will be nothing but tragedy."[5] Another biographer, Helen Sheehy, has rejected Schanke's portrait of the actress as a self-hating lesbian. Sheehy quotes Le Gallienne's words of advice to her close friend May Sarton, who was also a lesbian: "People hate what they don't understand and try to destroy it. Only try to keep yourself clear and don't allow that destructive force to spoil something that to you is simple, natural, and beautiful." Similarly, Le Gallienne told a friend, Eloise Armen, that love between women was "the most beautiful thing in the world." She starred as Peter Pan
Peter Pan
in a revival that opened on November 6, 1928, and presented the lead character full of elfin and boyish charm. The flying effects were superbly designed, and for the first time Peter flew out over the heads of the audience. The critics loved "LeG", as she became known, and more than a few favoured her performance over that of Maude Adams, who had originated the role. The Civic Repertory Theatre presented Peter Pan
Peter Pan
129 times.[citation needed] In late 1929, just after the stock market crash, Le Gallienne was on the cover of TIME. During the Great Depression
Great Depression
that followed, she was offered directorship of the National Theatre Division of the Works Progress Administration by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She declined on the grounds that she preferred working with "true talent" rather than nurturing jobs for struggling actors and actresses. She was instrumental in the early career of Uta Hagen, whom she cast as Ophelia opposite her own portrayal of Shakespeare's Prince Hamlet.[5]

Arnold Genthe (1869-1942)/LOC agc.7a00340. Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
and unidentified woman (Marion?), with dogs, 1937

In the late 1930s Le Gallienne became involved in a relationship with theatre director Margaret Webster. She, Webster, and producer Cheryl Crawford co-founded The American Repertory Theater – no relation to the institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
later founded by Robert Brustein – which operated from 1946 to 1948.[11] In the following years, she lived with her companion Marion Evensen (September 28, 1891 – September, 1971). In the late 1950s she enjoyed great success playing the role of Queen Elizabeth in Mary Stuart, an off-Broadway production.[2] In 1964, Le Gallienne was presented with a special Tony Award
Tony Award
in recognition of her 50th year as an actress and in honour of her work with the National Repertory Theatre.[12] The National Endowment for the Arts also recognised her with the National Medal of Arts
National Medal of Arts
in 1986. Le Gallienne became a naturalized United States citizen in 1927.[13][14][15] In 1982, Le Gallienne returned to the stage to play the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland
at the Virginia Theatre, directed by Le Gallienne and co-directed by John Strasberg.[16] This production was produced by Sabra Jones and was intended to initiate The Mirror Theater Ltd
The Mirror Theater Ltd
and the Mirror Repertory Company. Although known primarily for her theatre work, she has also appeared in films and television productions. She earned an Oscar nomination for her work in Resurrection, for which she gained the honour of being the oldest Oscar nominee up to that time (1980) until Gloria Stuart
Gloria Stuart
in 1997; and won an Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for a televised version of The Royal Family after having starred in a Broadway revival of that play in 1976. She made a rare guest appearance in a 1984 episode of St. Elsewhere which starred her former apprentice Norman Lloyd, appearing with Brenda Vaccaro
Brenda Vaccaro
and Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner
as three women sharing a hospital room.[citation needed] On June 3, 1991, Le Gallienne died at her home in Weston, Connecticut from natural causes, aged 92, and her ashes were scattered over her property in Weston, Connecticut.[17] Filmography[edit] Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1955 Prince of Players Gertrude in "Hamlet"

1959 The Devil's Disciple Mrs. Dudgeon

1980 Resurrection Grandma Pearl National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1948 The Ford Theatre Hour Annie Jones episode: Years Ago

1950 The Ford Theatre Hour Lettie episode: Uncle Harry

1955 Alice in Wonderland White Queen (TV movie)

1956 The Corn is Green Miss Moffat (TV movie)

1958 The DuPont Show of the Month Abbess episode: The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Studio One in Hollywood Martha Koering episode: The Shadow of a Genius

Playhouse 90 Grandma James episode: Bitter Heritage

1960 Play of the Week Queen Elizabeth episode: Mary Stuart

1977 The Royal Family Fanny Cavendish (TV movie) Primetime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special

1984 St. Elsewhere Evelyn Milbourne episode: The Women

Source:[18] References[edit]

^ Sheehy, Helen (December 28, 1998) "The Legacy of Eva Le Gallienne" Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Playbill ^ a b c d Staff. (June 5, 1991) "Eva Le Gallienne, Actress, Is Dead at 92" The New York Times. Accessed: September 30, 2015. ^ Staff (May 30, 1942). "Producer of Play Found Dead in Hotel", The New York Times; accessed September 30, 2015. ^ Brockett, Oscar G. (1974) History of the Theatre (2nd edition). Boston, Allyn and Bacon. p. 553 ^ a b c d e f g Retter, Yolanda. "Le Gallienne, Eva (1899-1991)", GLBTQ. Accessed: September 30, 2015. ^ Schanke (2003), pp. 56-77 ^ Schanke (2003), pp. 77-78 ^ Schanke (2003), pp. 2, 166 ^ Schanke (2003), pp. xiii-xiii ^ <Looser, Devoney (2017). The Making of Jane Austen. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 121. ISBN 1421422824.  ^ "The American Repertory Theatre" Internet Broadway Database ^ 1964 Tony Award
Tony Award
Winners Tony Awards
Tony Awards
website. Accessed: September 30, 2015. ^ Le Gallienne, Eva: Oath of Allegiance (1927), fold3.com (image); accessed October 10, 2015. (registration required) ^ Naturalization records for Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
(a), ancestry.com; accessed October 10, 2015. ^ Naturalization records for Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
(b), ancestry.com; accessed October 10, 2015. ^ "Alice in Wonderland." IBDB - Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League, n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2017. <https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-production/alice-in-wonderland-4200>. ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 27333-27334). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition. ^ "Eva Le Gallienne". IMDb. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 

Bibliography

Schanke, Robert (2003). The Story of Mercedes de Acosta. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-8093-2511-X. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eva Le Gallienne.

Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
at the Internet Broadway Database Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
at the Internet Off-Broadway Database Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
on IMDb Items featuring Le Gallienne from a Chautauqua
Chautauqua
circuit collection at the Library of Congress Photographs at George Eastman House: [1] [2] [3] Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
papers, 1903-1986, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts The Legacy of Eva Le Gallienne

Awards for Eva Le Gallienne

v t e

Drama League's Distinguished Performance Award

Katharine Cornell
Katharine Cornell
(1935) Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes
(1936) Maurice Evans (1937) Cedric Hardwicke
Cedric Hardwicke
(1938) Raymond Massey
Raymond Massey
(1939) Paul Muni
Paul Muni
(1940) Paul Lukas
Paul Lukas
(1941) Judith Evelyn
Judith Evelyn
(1942) Alfred Lunt
Alfred Lunt
(1943) Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
(1944) Mady Christians
Mady Christians
(1945) Louis Calhern
Louis Calhern
(1946) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1947) Judith Anderson
Judith Anderson
(1948) Robert Morley
Robert Morley
(1949) Grace George
Grace George
(1950) Claude Rains
Claude Rains
(1951) Julie Harris (1952) Shirley Booth
Shirley Booth
(1953) Josephine Hull (1954) Viveca Lindfors
Viveca Lindfors
(1955) David Wayne
David Wayne
(1956) Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach
(1957) Ralph Bellamy
Ralph Bellamy
(1958) Cyril Ritchard
Cyril Ritchard
(1959) Jessica Tandy
Jessica Tandy
(1960) Hume Cronyn
Hume Cronyn
(1961) Paul Scofield
Paul Scofield
(1962) Charles Boyer
Charles Boyer
(1963) Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1964) John Gielgud
John Gielgud
(1965) Richard Kiley
Richard Kiley
(1966) Rosemary Harris
Rosemary Harris
(1967) Zoe Caldwell (1968) Alec McCowen
Alec McCowen
(1969) James Stewart
James Stewart
(1970) Anthony Quayle
Anthony Quayle
(1971) Eileen Atkins / Claire Bloom
Claire Bloom
(1972) Alan Bates
Alan Bates
(1973) Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
(1974) John Wood (1975) Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
(1976) Tom Courtenay
Tom Courtenay
(1977) Frank Langella
Frank Langella
(1978) Frances Sternhagen
Frances Sternhagen
(1979) Roy Scheider
Roy Scheider
(1980) Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(1981) Milo O'Shea
Milo O'Shea
(1982) Edward Herrmann
Edward Herrmann
/ Kate Nelligan (1983) Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
(1984) Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
(1985) Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters
(1986) James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones
(1987) John Lithgow
John Lithgow
(1988) Pauline Collins
Pauline Collins
(1989) Robert Morse
Robert Morse
(1990) Stockard Channing
Stockard Channing
(1991) Glenn Close
Glenn Close
(1992) Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea
(1993) Sam Waterston
Sam Waterston
(1994) Cherry Jones
Cherry Jones
(1995) Uta Hagen
Uta Hagen
(1996) Charles Durning
Charles Durning
/ Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth
(1997) Brian Stokes Mitchell
Brian Stokes Mitchell
(1998) Kathleen Chalfant (1999) Eileen Heckart (2000) Mary-Louise Parker
Mary-Louise Parker
/ Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise
(2001) Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson
(2002) Harvey Fierstein
Harvey Fierstein
(2003) Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
(2004) Norbert Leo Butz
Norbert Leo Butz
(2005) Christine Ebersole
Christine Ebersole
(2006) Liev Schreiber
Liev Schreiber
(2007) Patti LuPone
Patti LuPone
(2008) Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Rush
(2009) Alfred Molina
Alfred Molina
(2010) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(2011) Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald
(2012) Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
(2013) Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris
(2014) Chita Rivera
Chita Rivera
(2015) Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda
(2016) Ben Platt (2017)

v t e

National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress

Nina Foch
Nina Foch
(1954) Marjorie Rambeau
Marjorie Rambeau
(1955) Debbie Reynolds
Debbie Reynolds
(1956) Sybil Thorndike
Sybil Thorndike
(1957) Kay Walsh
Kay Walsh
(1958) Edith Evans
Edith Evans
(1959) Shirley Jones
Shirley Jones
(1960) Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee
(1961) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
(1962) Margaret Rutherford
Margaret Rutherford
(1963) Edith Evans
Edith Evans
(1964) Joan Blondell
Joan Blondell
(1965) Vivien Merchant (1966) Marjorie Rhodes
Marjorie Rhodes
(1967) Virginia Maskell
Virginia Maskell
(1968) Pamela Franklin
Pamela Franklin
(1969) Karen Black
Karen Black
(1970) Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1971) Marisa Berenson
Marisa Berenson
(1972) Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
(1973) Valerie Perrine
Valerie Perrine
(1974) Ronee Blakley
Ronee Blakley
(1975) Talia Shire
Talia Shire
(1976) Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton
(1977) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
(1978) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(1979) Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
(1980) Mona Washbourne
Mona Washbourne
(1981) Glenn Close
Glenn Close
(1982) Linda Hunt
Linda Hunt
(1983) Sabine Azéma
Sabine Azéma
(1984) Anjelica Huston
Anjelica Huston
(1985) Dianne Wiest
Dianne Wiest
(1986) Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis
(1987) Frances McDormand
Frances McDormand
(1988) Mary Stuart Masterson
Mary Stuart Masterson
(1989) Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder
(1990) Kate Nelligan (1991) Judy Davis
Judy Davis
(1992) Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder
(1993) Rosemary Harris
Rosemary Harris
(1994) Mira Sorvino
Mira Sorvino
(1995) Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche
/ Kristin Scott Thomas
Kristin Scott Thomas
(1996) Anne Heche
Anne Heche
(1997) Christina Ricci
Christina Ricci
(1998) Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
(1999) Lupe Ontiveros
Lupe Ontiveros
(2000) Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
(2001) Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates
(2002) Patricia Clarkson
Patricia Clarkson
(2003) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2004) Gong Li
Gong Li
(2005) Catherine O'Hara
Catherine O'Hara
(2006) Amy Ryan
Amy Ryan
(2007) Penélope Cruz
Penélope Cruz
(2008) Anna Kendrick
Anna Kendrick
(2009) Jacki Weaver
Jacki Weaver
(2010) Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley
(2011) Ann Dowd
Ann Dowd
(2012) Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer
(2013) Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain
(2014) Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh
(2015) Naomie Harris
Naomie Harris
(2016) Laurie Metcalf
Laurie Metcalf
(2017)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 17265532 LCCN: n80051560 ISNI: 0000 0000 8096 2816 GND: 118943979 SUDOC: 197677630 BNF: cb121770342 (data) BIBSYS: 90549

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