The Info List - Sylvia Sidney

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Sylvia Sidney
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. Sidney later on came to be best known for her role as The Maitlands' afterlife case worker, Juno, in Tim Burton's 1988 hit comedy film Beetlejuice. She won a Saturn Award
Saturn Award
as Best Supporting Actress for her performance. She was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973).


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

Early life[edit] Sidney, born Sophia Kosow[1] 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.[2][3] 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.[4] 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 Hollywood
talent scout and made her first film appearance later that year.[citation needed] Career[edit]

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 Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda, Joel McCrea, Fredric March, George Raft
George Raft
and Cary Grant. Among her films from this period were: An American Tragedy, City Streets and Street Scene (all 1931), Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage and Fritz Lang's Fury (both 1936), You Only Live Once, Dead End (both 1937) and The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, an early three-strip Technicolor film. It was during this period that she developed a reputation for being difficult to work with.[5] Her career diminished somewhat during the 1940s. In 1949 exhibitors voted her "box office poison".[6] 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 CBS's Playhouse 90
Playhouse 90
anthology series. On May 16, 1957, she appeared as Lulu Morgan, mother of singer Helen Morgan in "The Helen Morgan
Helen Morgan
Story". Four months later, Sidney joined her former co-star Bergen again on the premiere of the short-lived NBC variety show, The Polly Bergen Show.[7] She also worked in television during the 1960s on such programs as Route 66, The Defenders, and My Three Sons. In 1973, Sidney received an Academy Award
Academy Award
nomination for her supporting role in Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams. As an elderly woman Sidney continued to play supporting screen roles, and was identifiable by her husky voice, the result of a lifetime cigarette smoking habit. She was the formidable Miss Coral in the film version of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden and later was cast as Aidan Quinn's grandmother in the television production of An Early Frost for which she won a Golden Globe Award. She played Aunt Marion in Damien: Omen II and had key roles in Beetlejuice
(directed by longtime Sidney fan Tim Burton), as Juno, for which she won a Saturn Award, and Used People (which co-starred Jessica Tandy, Marcello Mastroianni, Marcia Gay Harden, Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates
and Shirley MacLaine). Her final role was in another film by Burton, Mars Attacks!, in which she played an elderly woman whose beloved Slim Whitman
Slim Whitman
records help stop an alien invasion from Mars: when played over a loudspeaker, they cause the Martians' heads to explode. 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, The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., and Trapper John, M.D.. 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
Tennessee Williams
play Vieux Carré in 1977.[8] 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
George Eastman House
for distinguished contribution to the art of film. Personal life[edit] Sidney was married three times. She first married publisher Bennett Cerf on October 1, 1935, but the couple 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.[1] During her marriage to Luther Adler
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 divorced on March 22, 1951. Death[edit] Sidney died on July 1, 1999, from oesophageal 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 underwent chemotherapy, which proved unsuccessful.[9] Her remains were cremated.[1] Filmography[edit]


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

1973 Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams Mrs. Pritchett Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated— Academy Award
Academy Award
for Best Supporting Actress Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated— Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award
for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture

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
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

1988 Beetlejuice Juno Saturn Award
Saturn Award
for Best Supporting Actress

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[10]

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"

1969 My Three Sons Miss Houk Episode: "Teacher's Pet"

1975–1976 Ryan's Hope Sister Mary Joel 3 episodes

1976 Starsky and Hutch Olga Grossman Episode: "Gillian"

1977 Westside Medical Unknown Episode: "Tears for Two Dollar Wine"

1977 Eight Is Enough Unknown 2 episodes

1978 WKRP in Cincinnati Mama Carlson Episode: "Pilot – Part 1"

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 The Equalizer Judge Episode: "Trial by Ordeal"

1989 Thirtysomething Rose Waldman Episode: "Be a Good Girl"

1993 Diagnosis: Murder Alice Episode: "Miracle Cure"

1998 Fantasy Island Clia 7 episodes

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source

1941 Philip Morris Playhouse Angels with Dirty Faces[11]

1941 Philip Morris Playhouse Wuthering Heights[12]


^ a b c "Sylvia Sidney, 30's Film Heroine, Dies at 88". The New York Times. July 2, 1999.  ^ " Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
profile at". Film Reference. Retrieved 2010-05-27.  ^ Bergan, Ronald (July 6, 1999). "Obituary: Sylvia Sidney". The Guardian. London.  ^ " Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
Sued By Father". The New York Times. November 19, 1933. p. 20.  ^ Vallance, Tom (July 21, 1999). "Obituary: Sylvia Sidney". The Independent. London.  ^ "Mary Armitage's FILM CLOSE-UPS". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. January 29, 1949. p. 3 Supplement: Sunday Magazine. Retrieved July 11, 2012.  ^ "The Polly Bergen Show". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved January 9, 2011.  ^ "Prunella Charming In Guild Youths' Hands". The New York Times. June 16, 1926. p. 23.  ^ "Actress Sylvia Sydney Talks with Designer Mel Odom 1999". YouTube. Retrieved March 24, 2018.  ^ "Debut". Long Beach Independent. September 9, 1955. p. 30. Retrieved March 27, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  ^ "Johnny Presents". Harrisburg Telegraph. September 19, 1941. p. 17. Retrieved July 21, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  ^ "Raymond Massey and Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
in 'Wuthering Heights'". Harrisburg Telegraph. October 11, 1941. p. 26. Retrieved July 21, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. 


Miller, Sally, Sylvia: A Memoir Of Hollywood
Star Sylvia Sidney, Synergy Book Service (September 15, 2004), ISBN 0-9758581-0-6/ISBN 978-0975858103 Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
on IMDb Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
at the Internet Broadway Database Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
at the TCM Movie Database Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
at AllMovie Sidney accepting her Golden Globe (1986) on YouTube

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sylvia Sidney.

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Cum a ajuns Sylvia Sydney, fiica unei croitorese din Bacău, să ia minţile bărbaţilor de la Hollywood. Românca era văzută ca simbol al frumuseţii perfecte, 21 May 2016, Ionela Stănilă, Adevărul

v t e

Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award
for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film

Gail Fisher
Gail Fisher
(1970) Sue Ane Langdon
Sue Ane Langdon
(1971) Ruth Buzzi
Ruth Buzzi
(1972) Ellen Corby
Ellen Corby
(1973) Betty Garrett
Betty Garrett
(1974) Hermione Baddeley
Hermione Baddeley
(1975) Josette Banzet (1976) Polly Holliday
Polly Holliday
(1978) Polly Holliday
Polly Holliday
(1979) Valerie Bertinelli/ Diane Ladd
Diane Ladd
(1980) Valerie Bertinelli
Valerie Bertinelli
(1981) Shelley Long
Shelley Long
(1982) Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
(1983) Faye Dunaway
Faye Dunaway
(1984) Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
(1985) Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
(1986) Claudette Colbert
Claudette Colbert
(1987) Katherine Helmond
Katherine Helmond
(1988) Amy Madigan
Amy Madigan
(1989) Piper Laurie
Piper Laurie
(1990) Amanda Donohoe (1991) Joan Plowright
Joan Plowright
(1992) Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
(1993) Miranda Richardson
Miranda Richardson
(1994) Shirley Knight
Shirley Knight
(1995) Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates
(1996) Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie
(1997) Faye Dunaway/ Camryn Manheim
Camryn Manheim
(1998) Nancy Marchand
Nancy Marchand
(1999) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(2000) Rachel Griffiths
Rachel Griffiths
(2001) Kim Cattrall
Kim Cattrall
(2002) Mary-Louise Parker
Mary-Louise Parker
(2003) Anjelica Huston
Anjelica Huston
(2004) Sandra Oh
Sandra Oh
(2005) Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt
(2006) Samantha Morton
Samantha Morton
(2007) Laura Dern
Laura Dern
(2008) Chloë Sevigny
Chloë Sevigny
(2009) Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch
(2010) Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
(2011) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(2012) Jacqueline Bisset
Jacqueline Bisset
(2013) Joanne Froggatt
Joanne Froggatt
(2014) Maura Tierney
Maura Tierney
(2015) Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman
(2016) Laura Dern
Laura Dern

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

v t e

Saturn Award
Saturn Award
for Best Supporting Actress

Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino
(1974/75) Bette Davis
Bette Davis
(1976) Susan Tyrrell
Susan Tyrrell
(1977) Dyan Cannon
Dyan Cannon
(1978) Veronica Cartwright
Veronica Cartwright
(1979) Eve Brent
Eve Brent
(1980) Frances Sternhagen
Frances Sternhagen
(1981) Zelda Rubinstein
Zelda Rubinstein
(1982) Candy Clark (1983) Polly Holliday
Polly Holliday
(1984) Anne Ramsey
Anne Ramsey
(1985) Jenette Goldstein (1986) Anne Ramsey
Anne Ramsey
(1987) Sylvia Sidney
Sylvia Sidney
(1988) Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg
(1989/90) Mercedes Ruehl
Mercedes Ruehl
(1991) Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Rossellini
(1992) Amanda Plummer
Amanda Plummer
(1993) Mia Sara (1994) Bonnie Hunt
Bonnie Hunt
(1995) Alice Krige
Alice Krige
(1996) Gloria Stuart
Gloria Stuart
(1997) Joan Allen
Joan Allen
(1998) Patricia Clarkson
Patricia Clarkson
(1999) Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (2000) Fionnula Flanagan
Fionnula Flanagan
(2001) Samantha Morton
Samantha Morton
(2002) Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres
(2003) Daryl Hannah
Daryl Hannah
(2004) Summer Glau
Summer Glau
(2005) Famke Janssen
Famke Janssen
(2006) Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden
(2007) Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton
(2008) Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver
(2009) Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis
(2010) Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt
(2011) Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway
(2012) Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson
(2013) Rene Russo
Rene Russo
(2014) Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain
(2015) Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 5130975 LCCN: nr98003177 ISNI: 0000 0001 2275 9729 GND: 143209353 SUDOC: 067644694 BNF: cb14023603j (data) BIBSYS: 99011299 BNE: XX1171