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Anne Baxter (May 7, 1923 – December 12, 1985) was an American actress known for her performances in films such as All About Eve, The Razor's Edge and The Ten Commandments.

Early life

Baxter was born in Michigan City, Indianamarker to Kenneth Stuart Baxter and Catherine Wright; her maternal grandfather was the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Baxter's father was a prominent executive with the Seagrams Distillery Co. and she was raised in New York Citymarker in a well-to-do home, and attended the prestigious Brearley Schoolmarker. At age 10, Baxter attended a Broadwaymarker play starring Helen Hayes, and was so impressed that she declared to her family that she wanted to become an actress. By the age of 13, she had appeared on Broadway. During this period, Baxter learned her acting craft as a student of the famed teacher Maria Ouspenskaya.

Career

At 16 Baxter screen-tested for the role of Mrs. DeWinter in Rebecca, losing out to Joan Fontaine because director Alfred Hitchcock considered her "too young" for the role, but the strength of that first foray into movie acting secured her a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox. Her first movie role was in 20 Mule Team in 1940. She was chosen by director Orson Welles to appear in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), based on the novel by Booth Tarkington. Baxter co-starred with Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney in 1946's The Razor's Edge, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1950, she was chosen to co-star in All About Eve, largely because of a resemblance to Claudette Colbert, who had initially been chosen to co-star in the film; the original idea being to have her character gradually come to visually mirror Colbert's over the course of the film. Baxter received a nomination for Best Actress for the title role of Eve Harrington. Later during that decade, Baxter also continued to act in professional theater. According to a program from the production, Baxter appeared on Broadway in 1953 opposite Tyrone Power in Charles Laughton's John Brown's Body, a play based upon the narrative poem by Stephen Vincent Benét (though the Internet Broadway Database states that Power's co-star was Judith Anderson). In 1953 she appeared opposite Montgomery Clift in Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess.

Baxter is also remembered for her role as the Egyptianmarker princess Nefertiri opposite Charlton Heston's portrayal of Moses in Cecil B. DeMille's award winning The Ten Commandments (1956).

Baxter appeared regularly on television in the 1960s. For example, she did a stint as one of the What's My Line? "Mystery Guests" on the popular Sunday night CBS-TV quiz program. She also starred as guest villain "Zelda the Great" in two episodes of the superhero show Batman. She appeared as another villain, "Olga, Queen of the Cossacks," opposite Vincent Price's "Egghead" in three episodes of the show's third season. She also played an old flame of Raymond Burr on his crime series Ironside.

Baxter returned to Broadway during the 1970s in Applause, the musical version of All About Eve, but this time in the "Margo Channing" role played by Bette Davis in the film. (She was replacing Lauren Bacall, who won a Tony Award in the role.)

In the 1970s, Baxter was a frequent guest and stand-in host on the popular daytime TV talk-fest The Mike Douglas Show, since Baxter and host Mike Douglas were friends. She portrayed a homicidal movie star on an episode of Columbo called "Requiem for a Fallen Star."

In 1983, Baxter starred in the television series Hotel, replacing Bette Davis in the cast after Davis was taken ill.

Baxter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker at 6741 Hollywood Blvd.

Private life

In the 1950s, Baxter was married to and then divorced from actor John Hodiak. They had a daughter, Katrina. In 1960 Baxter married second husband, Randolph Galt. They left Hollywoodmarker to briefly live on a cattle station in the Australian outback before moving to New Mexicomarker and Hawaiimarker and settling back in Brentwoodmarker, Californiamarker. She told the story in her memoir Intermission: A True Story. In the book, Baxter blamed the failure of her first marriage to Hodiak on herself.

Baxter and Galt had two daughters Melissa, an interior designer and Maginel, a Roman Catholic nun in Rome.

Baxter was briefly married again in 1977 to David Klee, a prominent stockbroker, but was widowed when he died unexpectedly due to illness. Baxter never remarried. They had purchased a sprawling property in Easton, Connecticutmarker which was extensively remodeled, but Klee did not live to see the renovations completed. The house was architecturally reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's flat-roofed structures. Baxter remodeled the living-room fireplace to resemble the one in her grandfather's masterpiece, Fallingwatermarker. Although Baxter maintained a residence in West Hollywood, California, she considered her beloved Connecticut home to be her primary residence.

She was a lifelong friend of the late costume designer Edith Head, who she first met on the set of The Ten Commandments and who also appeared in a cameo role with Baxter in the Columbo episode in which Baxter starred. Upon Head's death in 1981, Baxter's daughter, Melissa, who was also a goddaughter of Head, was bequeathed her extraordinary collection of jewelry.

Death

Baxter died from a brain aneurysm on December 12, 1985, while walking down Madison Avenue in New York Citymarker. She is buried on the estate of Frank Lloyd Wright at Lloyd Jones Cemetery in Spring Green, Wisconsinmarker. She was survived by her three daughters.

Filmography





Footnotes

  1. Anne Baxter genealogy. Rootsweb.com.


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