She was known for possessing the “saddest eyes in Hollywood.” She excelled at “victim parts” but tired of being asked to cry on cue.
Sylvia Sidney also had an extraordinarily long career (nearly 70 years), a star in the Thirties and early Forties and then a reinvention as a successful character actress on tv thereafter. A lifelong smoker (see above), she defied the odds and died in 1999 at the age of 88.
Sidney excelled in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 thriller, Sabotage, who as Mrs. Verloc famously takes a carving knife to her nefarious husband played by Oscar Homolka. She was a favorite of director Tim Burton, who cast her in supporting roles in Beetlejuice and Mars Attacks!, the latter her final movie.
Ok, so how much did you know about Sylvia Sidney? To review our Quiz questions, glance down at the blog below. Here are the answers:
1) Answer: d) George Stevens did not work with Sidney. As mentioned above, she worked with Hitchcock, with Henry Hathaway (1936’s The Trail of the Lonesome Pine), and Fritz Lang (1936’s Fury, his first American film).
2) Answer: Sylvia was nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress for her work in c) 1973’s Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams, directed by Gilbert Cates and starring Joanne Woodward. Sidney plays Joanne’s mother, who drops dead in a movie theater, precipitating her daughter’s mid-life crisis.
3) Answer: a) Bennett Cerf, the pubisher and tv personality, was husband No. 1. Then came actor Luther Adler. Finally, husband No. 3 was producer Carlton Alsop. Director Tim Burton, at least a generation younger than Sidney, admired Sylvia, and, as mentioned above, cast her in two of his pictures, Beetlejuice and Mars Attacks!. About his one-year marriage to Sidney, Cerf said: One should never legalize a hot romance.
4) Answer: Sylvia loved smoking cigarettes, to be sure, but was passionate about c) needlepoint. She was expert, and wrote two books on the subject in the 1970’s.
5) Answer: Sidney appeared in a ton of tv shows but not on the Fifties series, d) Life With Father.