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Susan Kohner (born November 11, 1936) is an American actress.

Early life and career

Born in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker, Kohner is the daughter of Mexican actress Lupita Tovar and Jewish film producer Paul Kohner who was born in Czechoslovakiamarker. Most of Kohner's film roles came during the late 1950s and early 1960s, including co-starring with Sal Mineo in both Dino (1957) and The Gene Krupa Story (1959). In 1959, she was cast as the racially ambiguous Sarah Jane, her most notable role, in the 1959 color remake of Imitation of Life. The expensive, glossy Ross Hunter production directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Lana Turner was a box office smash; Kohner won Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations in the supporting actress categories.

Following her appearance in Imitation of Life, Kohner appeared in All the Fine Young Cannibals, opposite Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. She later had guest roles on episodic television including roles on Hong Kong, Going My Way, and Temple Houston. She made her last film appearance in 1962, co-starring with Montgomery Clift in Freud: The Secret Passion.

Personal life

In 1964, Kohner married Germanmarker novelist and fashion designer John Weitz, and retired from acting. Their children, Chris and Paul Weitz, are successful film directors in Hollywoodmarker, having helmed films such as American Pie and About a Boy.


Year Film Role Notes
1955 To Hell and Back Maria
1956 The Last Wagon Jolie Normand
1957 Trooper Hook Consuela, Senora Sandoval's Granddaughter
Dino Shirley Alternative title: Killer Dino
1959 Imitation of Life Sarah Jane, age 18
The Big Fisherman Fara
The Gene Krupa Story Ethel Maguire Alternative title: Drum Crazy
1960 All the Fine Young Cannibals Catherine McDowall
1961 By Love Possessed Helen Detweiler
1962 Freud: The Secret Passion Martha Freud Alternative title: Freud
Year Title Role Notes
1956 The Alcoa Hour Joanna 1 episode
Four Star Playhouse Anita 1 episode
Cavalcade of American 1 episode
Climax! 2 episodes
1956-1957 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Lynn Howell 2 episodes
1957 Matinee Theatre 1 episode
Wagon Train Mokai 1 episode
Suspicion Gina 1 episode
1958 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Therese 1 episode
1960 Playhouse 90 Rachel Heller 1 episode
1961 The DuPont Show with June Allyson Clare Anderson 1 episode
Hong Kong Elena 1 episode
1961-1963 Route 66 Katherine
2 episodes
1962 Checkmate Vicki Angelo 1 episode
The Dick Powell Show Miriam Marks 1 episode
1963 The Nurses Terry Collins 1 episode
Going My Way Elaine Brady 1 episode
Temple Houston Ellena Romolo 1 episode
1964 Rawhide Abbie Bartlett 1 episode
Channing Rena 1 episode

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film
1960 Academy Award Nominated Best Supporting Actress Imitation of Life
1959 Golden Globe Award Won Most Promising Newcomer - Female
1960 Best Supporting Actress Imitation of Life
1963 Nominated Best Supporting Actress Freud: The Secret Passion
1958 Laurel Awards Nominated Top New Female Personality
1959 2nd Place Top Female New Personality

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