Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Dame Judith as "Memnet"
Dame Judith as "Medea"
Dame Judith as "Mrs. Danvers" with Joan Fontaine

Dame Judith Anderson was born on February 10, 1898 in Australia.

She distinguished herself on the Broadway stage as "Medea" which was also made into a recording with which I grew up (and memorized almost every speech!) Dame Judith murdered both of her children and set Jason's new wife on fire in that one.

She was the evil Mrs. Danvers in "Rebecca" with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She burned down Mandalay in that one.

And she was Memnet in "The Ten Commandments" - slave woman to Princess Nina Foch, mother of Moses (Charleton Heston). She revealed that Moses was an Israelite in that one and was put to death for it in that one.

I was privileged to see her live twice: once in my college days she came around in a tour of "Hamlet" - playing (yes) Hamlet in pants and boots. She was wonderful.

And when she passed the torch of Medea to Zoe Caldwell on Broadway, she played Medea's Nurse and nearly stole the entire evening all by herself.

And she was Big Mama in the movie version of "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor.

We will never see her like again. Trust me. A star of the first magnitude.

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