How much did you know about Teresa Wright?
There she is above with ‘Uncle Charlie’ played by costar Joseph Cotten in Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite film, Shadow of A Doubt.
Cotten, portraying a serial killer in the 1943 picture, felt he should have been involved in that year’s Oscar action for his Shadow performance.
As he wrote in his 1987 autobiography: P.S. I wasn’t even nominated. Teresa Wright, however, was nominated, but when the envelope was opened, the Oscar was handed to a young newcomer for her first role in ‘The Song of Bernadette.’ Her name, Jennifer Jones.
As much as we admire Cotten, we have to say that he is in error here. Wright was nominated twice for two 1942 pictures, Mrs. Miniver and The Pride of the Yankees. She won in the best supporting actress category for the former, and she received her award at the Academy Awards 1943 ceremony.
On the other hand, she was NOT nominated for any picture released in 1943.
Cotten is correct, however, in feeling that he was gypped out of a best actor Oscar for Shadow of a Doubt. As he wrote: This (was) due to obvious carelessness on the part of the vote counters and a double-cross by that wretchedly wonderful actor Paul Lukas. (He won at the 1944 ceremony for his role in Watch on the Rhine.)
By the way, best picture Oscar went that year to — Casablanca.
Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Teresa Wright Quiz.
1) Question: As mentioned, Wright holds a record for having been Oscar nominated for her first three pictures. Which one of the following was NOT a member of this trio? a) 1941’s Little Foxes; b)s; 1942’s Mrs. Miniver; c) 1946’s The Best Years of Our Lives; or d) 1942’s The Pride of the Yankees.
1) Answer: c) 1946’s The Best Years of Our Lives.
2) Question: Following up on the question above, Wright still retains the record of being the youngest actress in movie history to receive three Oscar nominations. a) True; or b) False.
2) Answer: b) False. Wright held the record until Jennifer Lawrence compiled four Oscar nominations, the first by the age of 21.
3) Question: Wright was the very first choice for the female lead (which went to Jennifer Jones) in producer David O. Selznick’s 1946 epic western Duel In The Sun. a) True; or b) False.
3) Answer: a) True. Wright’s first husband, Niven Busch, wrote the screenplay for Duel for producer David O. Selznick. Both pushed for Wright to get the leading female role, but Mother Nature had other pans. Wright got pregnant, feared performing the physical role, and dropped out — thus giving Jones one of her best onscreen opportunities.
4) Question: Wright’s early success right out of the gate made her one of MGM’s bigger young stars. a) True; or b) False.
4) Answer: b) False. Although signed by MGM, the studio made little use of Wright. Instead she was loaned out to various and very talented producer-directors for whom she made her best work.
5) Question: Wright was all to quickly pushed into maternal or plain-faced roles, but she did play the sister of Jean Simmons in 1953’s melodrama, The Actress. a) True or b) False.
5) Answer: b) False. Although only 11 years older than Simmons, Wright wound up playing her mother in The Actress, based on Ruth Gordon’s play about the aspirations of an aspiring actress. Spencer Tracy plays her father, while Anthony Perkins shows up in his movie debut.