SYLVIA SIDNEY (born SOPHIA KOSOW; August 8, 1910 – July 1, 1999) was an American actress of stage, screen and film, with a career spanning over 70 years, who first rose to prominence in dozens of leading roles in the 1930s.
* 1 Early life * 2 Career * 3 Personal life * 4 Death
* 5 Filmography
* 5.1 Film * 5.2 Television
* 6 Radio appearances * 7 References * 8 Sources * 9 External links
Sidney, born SOPHIA KOSOW in The Bronx , was the daughter of Rebecca
(née Saperstein), a Romanian Jew, and Victor Kosow, a Russian Jewish
immigrant who worked as a clothing salesman. Her parents divorced by
1915, and she was adopted by her stepfather, Sigmund Sidney, a
dentist. Her mother became a dressmaker and renamed herself Beatrice
Sidney. Now using the surname Sidney, she became an actress at the
age of fifteen as a way of overcoming shyness. As a student of the
Theater Guild's School for Acting, Sidney appeared in several of their
productions during the 1920s and earned praise from theater critics.
In 1926, she was seen by a
The Wagons Roll at Night (1941)
During the Depression, Sidney appeared in a string of films, often
playing the girlfriend or the sister of a gangster. She appeared
opposite such heavyweight screen idols as
Her career diminished somewhat during the 1940s. In 1949 exhibitors voted her "box office poison". In 1952, she played the role of Fantine in Les Misérables , and her performance was widely praised and allowed her opportunities to develop as a character actress.
She appeared three times on
In 1973, Sidney received an
On television, she appeared in the pilot episode of WKRP in
Cincinnati as the imperious owner of the radio station, on
Thirtysomething as Melissa's tough grandmother, Rose, and at the
beginning of each episode as the crotchety travel clerk on the
short-lived late-1990s revival of Fantasy Island . She also was
featured on such shows as
Starsky and Hutch
Her Broadway career spanned five decades, from her debut performance as a graduate of the Theatre Guild School in June 1926 at age 15, in the three-act fantasy Prunella to the Tennessee Williams play Vieux Carré in 1977. Other stage credits included The Fourposter , Enter Laughing , and Barefoot in the Park . In 1982, Sidney was awarded The George Eastman Award by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.
Sidney was married three times. She first married publisher Bennett Cerf on October 1, 1935, but the couple were divorced six months later, on April 9, 1936. She later married actor and acting teacher Luther Adler in 1938, by whom she had her only child, a son, Jacob ("Jody"; 1939–1987), who died of Lou Gehrig\'s disease . Adler and Sidney divorced in 1947. During her marriage to Luther Adler she was a sister-in-law to acclaimed stage actress and drama teacher Stella Adler . On March 5, 1947, she married radio producer and announcer Carlton Alsop; they were divorced on March 22, 1951.
Sidney died on July 1, 1999 from esophageal cancer at the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, after a career spanning more than 70 years and a lifetime smoking habit. She died a month before her 89th birthday. Before her death, she went under chemotherapy to treat her cancer. She was cremated .
YEAR TITLE ROLE NOTES
1929 Thru Different Eyes Valerie Briand
1930 Five Minutes from the Station Carrie Adams Short film
1931 City Streets Nan Cooley
1931 Confessions of a Co-Ed Patricia Harper
1931 An American Tragedy Roberta "Bert" Alden
1931 Street Scene Rose Maurrant
1931 Ladies of the Big House Kathleen Storm McNeill
1932 The Miracle Man Helen Smith
1932 Merrily We Go to Hell Joan Prentice
1932 Make Me a Star Unknown
1932 Madame Butterfly Cho-Cho San
1933 Pick-Up Mary Richards
1933 Jennie Gerhardt Jennie Gerhardt
1934 Good Dame Lillie Taylor
1934 Thirty-Day Princess Nancy Lane/Princess Catterina
1934 Behold My Wife Tonita Storm Cloud
1935 Accent on Youth Linda Brown
1935 Mary Burns, Fugitive Mary Burns
1936 The Trail of the Lonesome Pine June Tolliver
1936 Fury Katherine Grant
1936 Sabotage Mrs. Verloc
1937 You Only Live Once Joan Graham
1937 Dead End Drina Gordon
1938 You and Me Helen Dennis
1939 ...One Third of a Nation... Mary Rogers
1941 The Wagons Roll at Night Flo Lorraine
1945 Blood on the Sun Iris Hilliard
1946 The Searching Wind Cassie Bowwman
1946 Mr. Ace Margaret Wyndham Chase
1947 Love from a Stranger Cecily Harrington
1952 Les Misérables Fantine
1955 Violent Saturday Elsie Braden
1956 Behind the High Wall Hilda Carmichael
1971 Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate Elizabeth Gibson Television movie
Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
1975 The Secret Night Caller Kitty Television movie
1975 Winner Take All Anne Barclay Television movie
1976 God Told Me To Elizabeth Mullin
1976 Death at Love House Clara Josephs Television movie
1977 Raid on Entebbe Dora Bloch Television movie
1977 I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Miss Coral
1977 Snowbeast Mrs. Carrie Rill Television movie
1978 Damien: Omen II Aunt Marion
1978 Siege Lillian Gordon Television movie
1980 The Gossip Columnist Alma Lewellyn Television movie
1980 F.D.R.: The Last Year Cousin Polly Television movie
1980 The Shadow Box Felicity Television movie
1981 A Small Killing Sadie Ross Television movie
1982 Hammett Donaldina Cameron
1983 Copkiller Margaret Smith
1983 The Brass Ring Grandmother Television movie
1985 Finnegan Begin Again Margaret Finnegan Television movie
1985 An Early Frost Beatrice McKenna Television movie Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1987 Pals Ferb Stobbs Television movie
1990 The Witching of Ben Wagner Grammy Television movie
1992 Used People Becky
1996 Mars Attacks! Grandma Florence Norris
YEAR TITLE ROLE NOTES
1952 Cameo Theater Unknown Episode: "The Gathering Twilight"
1952 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Unknown Episode: "Experiment"
1952 Tales of Tomorrow Natalie Episode: "Time to Go"
1952 Lux Video Theater Joyce Episode: "Night Be Quiet"
1952 Lux Video Theater Laura Barrie Episode: "Pattern for Glory"
1953–1955 The Ford Television Theatre Unknown 2 episodes
1954 Philco Television Playhouse Unknown Episode: "Catch My Boy on Sunday"
1955 Star Stage "famous stage actress" title unknown
1955–1956 Celebrity Playhouse Meg Fraser 2 episodes
1955–1957 Climax! Louella Wheedron 2 episodes
1957 Kraft Television Theater Unknown Episode: "Circle of Fear"
1960 The DuPont Show with June Allyson Beulah Episode: "Escape"
1961 Naked City Florence Episode: "A Hole in the City"
1961 Route 66 Hannah Ellis Episode: "Like a Motherless Child"
1962 The Defenders Adela Collins 2 episodes Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
1963 The Eleventh Hour Mrs. Arnold Episode: "Five Moments Out of Time"
1964 Route 66 Lonnie Taylor Episode: "Child of a Night"
1964 The Nurses Mrs. Sands Episode: "To All My Friends on Shore"
My Three Sons
1975–1976 Ryan\'s Hope Sister Mary Joel 3 episodes
Starsky and Hutch
1977 Westside Medical Unknown Episode: "Tears for Two Dollar Wine"
1977 Eight Is Enough Unknown 2 episodes
WKRP in Cincinnati
1978 Kaz Unknown Episode: "A Fine Romance"
1979 Supertrain Agatha Episode: "Superstar"
1979 California Fever Mother Episode: "Movin' Out"
1981 The Love Boat Natalie Episode: "I Love You Too, Smith"
1983 Magnum, P.I. Elizabeth Barrett Episode: "Birdman of Budapest"
1984 Domestic Life Mrs. Moscewicz Episode: "Small Cranes Court"
1984 Whiz Kids Dolly Episode: "The Lollipop Gang Strikes Back"
1984 Trapper John, M.D. Mildred Prosser Episode: "Aunt Mildred Is Watching"
1986 Morningstar/Eveningstar Binnie Taylor 7 episodes
1988 Dear John Mrs. Lumenski Episode: "Dancing in the Dark"
1989 Thirtysomething Rose Waldman Episode: "Be a Good Girl"
1993 Diagnosis: Murder Alice Episode: "Miracle Cure"
1998 Fantasy Island Clia 7 episodes
YEAR PROGRAM EPISODE/SOURCE
1941 Philip Morris Playhouse Wuthering Heights
* ^ A B "Sylvia Sidney, 30\'s Film Heroine, Dies at 88". New York
Times. July 2, 1999.
* ^ "
* Miller, Sally, Sylvia: A Memoir Of