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Kim Stanley (February 11, 1925 – August 20, 2001) was an American actress, primarily in theatre but with occasional film performances.

Stanley began her acting career in theatre, and subsequently attended the The Actors Studiomarker. She received the 1952 Theatre World Award for role in The Chase (1952), and starred in the Broadway productions of Picnic (1953) and Bus Stop (1955). She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her roles in A Touch of the Poet (1959) and A Far Country (1962).

During the 1950s, Stanley was a prolific performer in television, and later progressed to film, with a well received performance in The Goddess (1959). She was the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and starred in Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), for which she won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She was less active during the remainder of her career; two of her later film successes were as the mother of Frances Farmer in Frances (1982), for which she received a second Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress, and as Pancho Barnes in The Right Stuff (1983). She received an Emmy Award for her performance in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1985).

She did not act during her later years, preferring the role of teacher, in Los Angelesmarker and later Santa Femarker, where she died in 2001, of uterine cancer.

Early life

Stanley was born Patricia Beth Reid in Tularosamarker, New Mexicomarker, the daughter of Ann (née Miller), an interior decorator, and J. T. Reid, a professor of philosophy and education. Her father was of Irish and Cherokee Native American descent, and her mother was of German and English ancestry. Reid was a drama major at the University of New Mexicomarker and later studied at the Pasadena Playhousemarker. She took on her maternal grandmother's surname as her stage name.


Stanley was a successful Broadwaymarker actress with only a few motion picture roles. She was singled out by the New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson for her early work. She eventually attended The Actors Studiomarker, studying under Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg. She received the 1952 Theatre World Award for her performance of "Anna Reeves" in The Chase, and starred in such Broadway hits as Picnic (1953), playing "Millie Owens," and Bus Stop (1955), playing "Cherie." She was nominated for the 1959 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for A Touch of the Poet and the 1962 Tony for Best Actress in a Play for A Far Country.

Stanley was also the leading lady of live television drama, which flourished in New York Citymarker during the 1950s. Among her many starring roles was Wilma, a star-struck 15-year-old girl from the U.S. Gulf Coast of Texasmarker in Horton Foote's A Young Lady of Property, which aired on the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse April 5, 1953.

A savaging by English critics after her Londonmarker performance of "Masha" in The Actor's Studiomarker production of Anton Chekhov's play The Three Sisters (1965) made her vow never to perform on stage again, a vow she kept for the rest of her life.


Stanley's first movie was The Goddess (1958), playing a tragic movie star modeled on Marilyn Monroe. In 1964, she starred in Seance on a Wet Afternoon, won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actress for it and was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. In 1966, the filmed version of Strasberg's directed Three Sisters opened with Stanley reprising the role of Masha, and is the only time one can see her perform in a film alongside Geraldine Page, Sandy Dennis, Shelley Winters and other well known names of the Actor's Studiomarker.

She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Frances Farmer's possessive mother in Frances (1982). She also played Pancho Barnes in The Right Stuff (1983).

Stanley was the uncredited narrator in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. As the narrator, she represents the character "Jean Louise Finch" ("Scout") as an adult. Mary Badham portrays "Scout" as a child in the film.

She received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in the episode, A Cardinal Act of Mercy, on the TV series, Ben Casey (1963), and an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special for playing, "Big Mama," in Tennessee Williams' Southern melodrama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1985).

Personal life

Stanley had four husbands, Bruce Hall (married 1945-divorced 1946), Curt Conway (married 1949-divorced 1956), Alfred Ryder (married 1958-divorced 1964) and Joseph Siegel (married 1964-divorced 1967).

She had three children, one by Conway, one by Brooks Clift (brother of Montgomery Clift) while she was married to Conway, and one by Ryder. During her marriage to Alfred Ryder, Kim Stanley converted to Judaism.

Kim Stanley died of uterine cancer at her home in Santa Fe, New Mexicomarker at the age of 76. She was survived by her first husband, Bruce Hall, her brother Justin Truman Reid, and her three children. Her biography, Female Brando: the Legend of Kim Stanley, by Jon Krampner, was published in the spring of 2006 by Back Stage Books, a division of Watson-Guptill Publications.

Notable films she rejected


  2. Internet Broadway Database: The Chase Production Credits

External links

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