She was, according to her ex-husband, “the unluckiest lucky girl in the world.” She was considered an electrifying screen presence, the embodiment of unattainable beauty, the image of perfection.
In the words of costar Richard Widmark, she had a fresh, dew-like quality — an early Grace Kelly. No question that when she walked into a scene, viewer attention immediately shifted in her direction. She was one of Hollywood’s most beautiful stars, ever, an “extraordinary genetic model better looking in life than in pictures.”
And Gene Tierney was a huge star, and a powerful actress to boot, perhaps 20th Century Fox’s biggest box office attraction in the mid-1940’s. Her offscreen life was every bit if not more drama-laden than her professional career. She was romantically sought after by a prince and future president. She suffered severe personal setbacks. In the end, in the words of that ex-husband again, she was “battered by destiny.”
Just how much do you know about Gene Tierney? Time to brush up, perhaps. So why not take our Monday Quiz to have some fun and see how you stand. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Hollywood first took notice of Tierney when the gorgeous 17-year-old caught the eye of which one of the following directors, who met her on a tour of the Warner Bros. studio? a) Anatole Litvak; b) Michael Curtiz; c) Otto Preminger; or d) John Ford.
2) Question: After making her first movie, 1940’s The Return of Frank James opposite Henry Fonda, Tierney was appalled at how high voice recorded, comparing herself to “an angry Minnie Mouse.” How did she go about lowering her voice? a) By taking singing lessons; b) By drinking a lot; c) By tryng various growling techniques; or d) By smoking a lot.
3) Question: Who was Tierney’s first husband, a smooth continental European who encountered the disapproval of her studio, 20th Century Fox, and Tierney’s strong-willed father? a) Louis Jourdan; b) Oleg Cassini; c) Jean Gabin; or d) Jean-Pierre Aumont.
4) Question: Name the movie that Tierney made in 1941 that today is most prized of all her films by serious film buffs. a) The Shanghai Gesture; b) Son of Fury; c) Heaven Can Wait; or d) The’s Razor’s Edge.
5) Question: As mentioned, Tierney was romantically pursued by a rich and famous prince and a U.S. politician with presidential ambitions. Can you name them?
6) Question: It may come as a surprise to learn that Tierney was NOT the first choice for the lead in 1944’s “Laura,” her signature film. Who was? a) Vivien Leigh b) Olivia DeHavilland; c) Ingrid Bergman; or d) Jennifer Jones.
7) Question: Which of these dreadful events contributed to Tierney’s complete mental breakdown in her mid-Thirties? a) She gave birth to a severely retarded daughter; b) She learned that her father was cheating on her mother and had frittered away her movie earnings; c) A divorce; or d) She suffered a miscarriage.
8) Question: Tierney’s portrayal of the madly jealous wife of Cornell Wild in 1945’s Leave Her To Heaven remains one of the most chilling roles in Hollywood history. Why? a) She shoots up an orphanage; b) She abuses defenseless animals; c) She has sex with Donald O’Connor; or d) She impassively watches as a handicapped boy drowns in a lake.
9) Question: Tierney died in 1991 at age 70 of which of the following ailments: a) breast cancer; b) emphysema; c) acid reflux; or d) heart attack. (Hint: see question 2.)
10) Question: Tierney’s last movie was an Ann-Margret musical. a) True; or b) False?