How much did you know about the woman who bounced from horror films to sophisticated dramas and even comedies?
After a pioneering stage career in Russia, Europe and — after 1922 — on Broadway, Ouspenskaya entered Hollywood with a bang, an Oscar nomination for her first American title, 1936’s Dodsworth.
There she is above right as Baroness Baroness von Obersdorf counseling counseling Ruth Chatterton.
Yes, she often played exotic, heavily accented characters who were OLD. We thought it might be interesting to offer a view of Ouspenskaya when she was younger. (She died in Los Angeles of a stroke in 1949; she was 73.)
Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Ouspenskaya Quiz>
- Question: Although Ouspensaya was widely known in Hollywood for her many character roles, she was even better known as a) a professional acting coach b) a voice and diction coach; c) an astrologer; or d) a psychologist to the stars.
Answer: Ouspenskaya was highly regarded as (a) an acting coach. She was schooled and professionally trained at the Moscow Art Theater in the Stanislavky method, and founded her own acting school in New York to promote “the Method.” Meeting the economic demands of the academy led to Ouspenskaya’s migration to Hollywood where she made two dozen films over a 12-year period.
2. Question: Despite her exotic-sounding foreign name, Ouspenskya was actually born in Nutley, New Jersey. a) True; or b) False?
Answer: b) False. Our Joe and Martha Stewart come from Nutley but not Ouspenskaya. She was born in 1876 in Tulsa, Russia.
3. Question: Which of one of the following pictures did Ouspenskaya NOT appear in? a) 1940’s Waterloo Bridge; b) 1936’s Dosworth; b) 1945’s Tarzan and the Amazon; or d) 1943’s I Walked With A Zombie.
Answer: Ouspenskaya appeared in her share of Universal horror films but she had nothing to do with (d) I walked With A Zombie (an excellent picture, by the way) that originated at RKO.
4. Question: Although she appeared diminutive onscreen, Ouspenskaya was actually a formidable physical presence offscreen. a) True; or b) False?
Answer: b) False. Ouspenskaya was a tiny wisp of a woman standing less than 5-feet-2 and weighing in at less than 100 pounds. Her talent was, however, formidable.
5. Question: Ouspenskaya was widely beloved by the Hollywood community both in front and in back of the cameras. a) True; or b) False?
Answer: b) False. Ouspenskaya was often considered to be something of a pain. An astrology enthusiast, she consulted the signs to determine her on-camera appearances and travel, which didn’t help efficient shooting schedules. She was strong willed and independent, perhaps to a fault.