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Ida Lupino (4 February – 3 August ) was an English-American film actress and director, and a pioneer among women filmmakers. In her forty-eight year career, she appeared in fifty-nine films, and directed nine others. She also appeared in episodic television fifty-eight times and directed fifty other episodes. In addition, she contributed as a writer to five films and four TV episodes.

Acting career

Lupino was born into a family of performers. Her father, Stanley Lupino, was a music-hall comedian, and her mother, Connie Emerald, was an actress. As a girl, she was encouraged to enter show business by both her parents and her uncle, Lupino Lane, and made her first movie appearance in , in The Love Race. She would spend the next several years playing minor roles.

It was after her appearance in The Light That Failed in that Lupino began to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress. As a result, her parts improved during the 1940s and she began to describe herself as "the poor man's Bette Davis."

During this period, Lupino became known for her hard-boiled roles, and appeared in such films as They Drive by Night ( ) and High Sierra ( ), both opposite Humphrey Bogart. For her performance in The Hard Way ( ), Lupino won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress. She acted regularly, and was in demand throughout the 1940s without becoming a major star until later. In , Lupino left the Warner Brothers company to become a freelance actress. Notable films she appeared in around that time include Road House and On Dangerous Ground.

Directing career

In the mid-40s, while on suspension for turning down a role, Lupino became interested in directing. She described herself as being bored on set while "someone else seemed to be doing all the interesting work." She and her husband Collier Young formed an independent company, The Filmmakers, and Lupino became a producer, director and screenplay-writer of low-budget, issue-oriented movies.

Her first directing job came unexpectedly in when Elmer Clifton suffered a mild heart attack and couldn't finish Not Wanted, the film he was directing for Filmmakers. Lupino stepped in to finish the film, and went on to direct her own projects, becoming Hollywood's only female film director of the time.

In an article for the Village Voice, Carrie Rickey wrote that Lupino was a model of modern feminist moviemaking, stating:
Not only did Lupino take control of production, direction and screenplay, but each of her movies addresses the brutal repercussions of sexuality, independence, and dependence.

After four "woman's" films about social issues – including Outrage ( ), a film about rape – Lupino directed her first hard-paced, fast-moving picture, The Hitch-Hiker ( ), making her the first woman to direct a film noir. Writer Richard Koszarski noted that:
Her films display the obsessions and consistencies of a true auteur ...
[In her films The Bigamist and The Hitch-Hiker] Lupino was able to reduce the male to the same sort of dangerous, irrational force that women represented in most male-directed examples of Hollywood film noir.

Lupino often joked that if she had been the "poor man's Bette Davis" as an actress, then she had become the "poor man's Don Siegel" as a director. In 1952, Lupino was invited to become the "fourth star" in Four Star Productions by Dick Powell, David Niven, and Charles Boyer, after Joel McCrea and Rosalind Russell had dropped out of the company.


Lupino continued acting throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and her directing efforts during these years were almost exclusively television productions such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Have Gun Will Travel, The Donna Reed Show, Gilligan's Island, 77 Sunset Strip, The Investigators, The Ghost & Mrs Muir, The Rifleman, Batman, Sam Benedict, Bonanza, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, Columbo, and Bewitched. She guest starred on The Streets of San Francisco (CBS), Season 2, episode Blockade, that aired on 1974 January 24.

From January through September , Lupino starred with her then husband, Howard Duff, in the CBS sitcom Mr Adams and Eve, in which the duo played husband and wife film stars named Howard Adams and Eve Drake, living in Beverly Hills, Californiamarker. Olive Carey played their housekeeper, Elsie, in the 66-episode series, and Alan Reed played J.B. Hafter, their studio boss. Duff and Lupino also co-starred as themselves in 1959 in one of the 13 one-hour installments of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Later on in her acting career, Lupino guest-starred on numerous television programs, before she retired at the age of sixty. She made her final movie appearance in .


Lupino has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker for her contributions to the fields of television and motion pictures. They are located at 1724 Vine Street and 6821 Hollywood Boulevardmarker.

Personal life

Lupino in 1979
Lupino was born in Camberwellmarker, Londonmarker, (allegedly under a table during a World War I zeppelin raid). She was the daughter of the actress Connie O'Shea (a.k.a. Connie Emerald) and the music hall entertainer, Stanley Lupino, a member of the theatrical Lupino family. Ida was born in 1918, and not in 1914, as some other biographies have stated.

Lupino was married and divorced three times:

Lupino died from a stroke while she was undergoing treatments for colon cancer in Los Angelesmarker in August 1995, at the age of 77. Her remains are interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemeterymarker in Glendale, Californiamarker.Lupino is buried beside Errol Flynn.


Lupino was the titular subject of a jazz homage composed by Carla Bley.


Year Title Credited as
Director Actress Role
1931 The Love Race Yes Minor Supporting Role
1932 Her First Affaire Yes Anne
1933 The Ghost Camera Yes Mary Elton
High Finance Yes Jill
Money for Speed Yes Jane
I Lived with You Yes Ada Wallis
Prince of Arcadia Yes The Princess
1934 Search for Beauty Yes Barbara Hilton
Come on Marines Yes Esther Smith-Hamilton
Ready for Love Yes Marigold Tate
1935 Paris in Spring Yes Mignon de Charelle
Smart Girl Yes Pat Reynolds
Peter Ibbetson Yes Agnes
La Fiesta de Santa Barbara Yes Herself
1936 Anything Goes Yes Hope Harcourt
One Rainy Afternoon Yes Monique Pelerin
Yours for the Asking Yes Gert Malloy
The Gay Desperado Yes Jane
1937 Sea Devils Yes Doris Malone
Let's Get Married Yes Paula Quinn
Artists & Models Yes Paula Sewell aka Paula Monterey
Fight for Your Lady Yes Marietta
1939 The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt Yes Val Carson
The Lady and the Mob Yes Lila Thorne
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Yes Ann Brandon
The Light That Failed Yes Bessie Broke
Screen Snapshots Series 18, No. 6 Yes Herself
1940 They Drive by Night Yes Lana Carlsen
1941 High Sierra Yes Marie
The Sea Wolf Yes Ruth Webster
Out of the Fog Yes Stella Goodwin
Ladies in Retirement Yes Ellen Creed
1942 Moontide Yes Anna
Life Begins at Eight-Thirty Yes Kathy Thomas
1943 Forever and a Day Yes Jenny
The Hard Way Yes Mrs. Helen Chernen
Thank Your Lucky Stars Yes Herself
1944 In Our Time Yes Jennifer Whittredge
Hollywood Canteen Yes Herself
1945 Pillow to Post Yes Jean Howard
1946 Devotion Yes Emily Bronte
1947 The Man I Love Yes Petey Brown
Deep Valley Yes Libby Saul
Escape Me Never Yes Gemma Smith
1948 Road House Yes Lily Stevens
1949 Lust for Gold Yes Julia Thomas
Not Wanted Yes
Never Fear Yes
1950 Woman in Hiding Yes Deborah Chandler Clark
Outrage Yes Yes Country Dance Attendee
1951 From Dangerous Depths Yes
Hard, Fast and Beautiful Yes Yes Seabright Tennis Match Spectator
1951 On the Loose Yes Narrator
1952 On Dangerous Ground Yes Mary Malden
Beware, My Lovely Yes Mrs. Helen Gordon
1953 The Hitch-Hiker Yes
Jennifer Yes Agnes Langley
The Bigamist Yes Yes Phyllis Martin
1954 Private Hell 36 Yes Lilli Marlowe
1955 Women's Prison Yes Amelia van Zandt
The Big Knife Yes Marion Castle
1956 While the City Sleeps Yes Mildred Donner
Strange Intruder Yes Alice Carmichael
1966 The Trouble with Angels Yes
1972 Junior Bonner Yes Elvira Bonner
1975 The Devil's Rain Yes Mrs. Preston
1976 The Food of the Gods Yes Mrs. Skinner
1978 My Boys Are Good Boys Yes Mrs. Morton


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