The American actress, Teresa Wright is famous for winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1942 for her performance in ‘Mrs. Miniver’. Muriel Teresa Wright was born on October 27, 1918, in Harlem, New York City to Martha (née Espy) and Arthur Hendricksen Wright, an insurance agent.
Her parents separated when she was young and she spent her childhood staying with different relatives. She attended Columbia High School and became interested in acting as a student. In 1936, she went to watch Helen Hayes perform in ‘Victoria Regina’ at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City.
This incident greatly inspired the young girl and she began playing leading roles in school plays. She went to the Wharf Theater in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on a scholarship she acquired with the help of a teacher. She apprenticed for two summers and graduated from high school in 1938.
A much-respected actress of her era, she was more than just a beautiful face. Known for her acting skills and dedication to work, she became the only performer ever to be nominated for Academy Awards for her first three films. Born in Harlem, New York City during the late 1910s, she developed an interest in acting as a young girl.
After seeing Helen Hayes star in the play ‘Victoria Regina,’ she decided to seriously pursue acting as a career. As a student, she played leading roles in school plays which earned her scholarship to the Wharf Theater in Provincetown. She ventured into a stage career following her graduation and enjoyed a successful stint.
It was during one of her stage performances that she came to the notice of film producer Samuel Goldwyn who offered her a film contract. A serious actress from the very beginning, she refused to be labeled as a sex symbol and focused more on making her acting skills to stand out.
She earned much respect for her professionalism in a long career that spanned over five decades. Teresa Wright impressed the film critics with her performance as Alexandra Giddens in her debut film ‘The Little Foxes.’ She played the role of an innocent and kind-hearted girl who struggles with a villainous and manipulative mother.
The role earned her a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her film career was not as successful in the 1950s. She appeared in a string of unsuccessful films including ‘The Capture’, ‘Something to Live For’,‘California Conquest’, ‘The Steel Trap’, ‘Count the Hours’, and ‘Track of the Cat.
During the late 1950s, she returned to the theatre and also began working frequently on television. Her successful stage plays from this era include ‘The Rainmaker’ and ‘The Dark at the Top of the Stairs’.
She remained active on the New York stage throughout the 1960s, playing Mary McKellaway in ‘Mary, Mary’, Alice in ‘I Never Sang for My Father’, and Mary Hallen in ‘Who’s Happy Now?’ In addition to her stage work, she also appeared in several television productions including episodes for ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’, ‘Bonanza’, and ‘The Defenders’.
During her later years, she focused more on the stage and television though she also appeared in a few films. She played the role of the grandmother in ‘The Good Mother’ and the role of Miss Birdie in John Grisham’s ‘The Rainmaker’.
Teresa Wright was twice married and twice divorced. Her first marriage was to a writer, Niven Busch, from 1942 to 1952. They had two children.