You were right if you guessed it’s Thelma Ritter. That’s her with Jeanne Crain.

Ritter has the dubious distinction of being nominated for the Oscar SIX times in that category and NEVER winning. And she should have been nominated a few more times, too. As she noted, “always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”

What a spectacular career for a stage and radio actress from New York City who had married and raised two children before starting in movies.

Her debut was in a brief, uncredited role as a disgruntled parent visiting Macy’s Santa in 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street. There were two more uncredited roles, one in Northside 777, and one in Joseph Mankiewicz’s A Letter to Three Wives.

She was so singularly outstanding in that film that everyone took notice. Darryl Zanuck put her under contract at 20th Century Fox and Mankiewicz wrote her a fabulous part in his next picture, All About Eve. It garnered her her first Oscar nomination.

Then the parts and nominations began rolling in. Throughout the 1950s and 50s she was the first choice for any part in her age group.  See any film she’s in and you won’t be disappointed. She bounced between comedy and drama, and was excellent in both. She’s even in a few noir films.

Today she’s probably best remembered for her role in Rear Window with James Stewart and Grace Kelly.

She her in Pillow Talk and Birdman of Alcatraz. But don’t miss her in Joe’s favorite — a small film (for which she received her second Oscar nomination) The Mating Season. Star billing goes to Gene Tierney and John Lund. And even Miriam Hopkins is billed above Ritter, but everyone knew she was the REAL star of the movie.

For those of you who keep records on the Oscars– yes, we know, Deborah Kerr received six nominations and never won, but that was in the Best Actress category. And Glenn Close has received six nominations and never won. But she has three in Best Actress and three in Best Supporting Actress categories.

 

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