Debate, and discuss, just dont Bore me.
Published on August 9, 2010 By Dr Guy In Entertainment

Another Hollywood person died this weekend. But this one was special.  At least to me.

Patricia Neal had a fine career.  Not one of headlines that we are constantly bombarded with as some of the "stars" today like to do.  But one of grace, beauty and competence that enriched our lives. She was one of the few stars that seemed to love her work for the work, and allowed us to escape on an occasional Saturday from the mundane to the world of make believe

She won an Oscar for Hud, and some say that was her best role.  But I know of 2 others that impacted my life a lot more.  I remember her first in the original (and still the only one that merits viewing) The Day the Earth Stood Still.  She did not play an hysterical screamer, but a strong woman.  A role that basically defined her niche in Hollywood.  Strong Women.

Her next role that impressed me with her talent was In Harm's Way.  It was not her first role opposite John Wayne, but it was her best one.  Those roles bracketed her Oscar performance in Hud.  I last remember seeing her in Cookie's Fortune.  A surprise for me as I assumed her career had waned at that point.  But while her career had taken a hit after her 3 strokes, she never stopped bringing the spirit of the strong woman to the screen for our enjoyment.

We often miss some actors and actresses because of their supporting roles.  And those we miss the most are the ones that live up to that title.  Making the stars shine without over shadowing them.  But when we think back on those movies and why we like this or that actor (actress) so much, that is when we notice the part the supporting people played in making them shine.  That was Patricia Neal.

When I first saw the movies she was in (with the exception of the last one), I did not think twice about the actress behind the role.  But as I thought about those movies, I realized they were among my favorites not because of the stars, but because of the supporting Actress that made the stars shine.  So yes, when Cookie's Fortune came out, I was looking for her as soon as I found out she was in the movie.  She was that good.

As we grow older, our favorite stars, athletes, and role models are aging with us, and often passing on before we have a chance to thank them.  That is a shame.  For I wish I had taken the initiative to tell her thanks for the memories she gave me before she passed.  But as often is the case, I just thought - she would not know I was alive.  Perhaps so.  But I am thankful she was, and gave us her talents and gifts to enjoy.

I know this is late Ms. Neal, but thank you for the memories.  You made this man very happy to be able to be lost in movies for a few hours.  I will not forget you.


Comments
on Aug 09, 2010

You beat me to this topic, though I just posted similar thoughts on this passing.  Certainly a talented actress who left behind a nice long resume and pile of work to appreciate.

on Aug 09, 2010

terpfan1980
You beat me to this topic, though I just posted similar thoughts on this passing.  Certainly a talented actress who left behind a nice long resume and pile of work to appreciate.

She was not what one would call a top of the mind actress, but that did not matter.  I read a couple of obits for her, and while not bad, they seemed kind of short.  So anyone who wants to add to her legacy is great.  She was a great lady, and I do not like using those types of terms for actors and actresses.

on Aug 10, 2010

The Day the Earth Stood Still (original) is one of my favorites. I believe she will also be remembered for "The Homecoming", a movie which was the precursor to the TV show "The Walton's".

At least Hollywood stars (as do most famous persons) shine on after they depart, through film and digitally. They will live on longer than most of us. It would be interesting to see if any of this matters at all in a thousand years from now, will any of it still be relevant to anyone other than historians?

on Aug 10, 2010

I believe she will also be remembered for "The Homecoming", a movie which was the precursor to the TV show "The Walton's".

I think she added greatly to all her roles, I just picked out my favorites.  I can easily see that one being a favorite of many as well.

It would be interesting to see if any of this matters at all in a thousand years from now, will any of it still be relevant to anyone other than historians?

I wonder how much historians of the future will screw up the interpretation of the present.  Should man survive, movie stars of today will be more well known than most others due to the eternal nature of many movies.

on Aug 28, 2010

MamaCharlie says:  I knew rather more about Patricia Neal's personal life than I would've liked, as it turned out.  She was  happily married to author Roald Dahl, for years.   Then, as you may know, she suffered a massive stroke and was quite ill for some time.  Her husband was involved in an affair while she was recovering and Ms. Neal passed through even harder times because of this sorry situation.  I do not remember if they divorced,  but she did make a good recovery.  I always admired her acting work; " The Day the Earth Stood Still" was a favorite but I think I liked "The Fountainhead" with Gary Cooper the best. She was indeed a very different kind of movie star .  I can hear her distinctive voice and see her wonderful non-Hollywood face as I write this.  What a talent.  

on Aug 30, 2010

Big Fat Daddy
MamaCharlie says:  I knew rather more about Patricia Neal's personal life than I would've liked, as it turned out.  She was  happily married to author Roald Dahl, for years.   Then, as you may know, she suffered a massive stroke and was quite ill for some time.  Her husband was involved in an affair while she was recovering and Ms. Neal passed through even harder times because of this sorry situation.  I do not remember if they divorced,  but she did make a good recovery.  I always admired her acting work; " The Day the Earth Stood Still" was a favorite but I think I liked "The Fountainhead" with Gary Cooper the best. She was indeed a very different kind of movie star .  I can hear her distinctive voice and see her wonderful non-Hollywood face as I write this.  What a talent.  

Thanks for the eulogy MamaCharlie.  I guess the marital antics of most of hollywood has gotten to the point where I do not note it, unless it is normal for the rest of us (Like Bob Hope's Marriage).  TCM had a movie on of hers this past weekend with Andy Griffith, but my wife could not stand Andy's voice, so I was not able to catch it.  It is one I had not seen before.

But then they did do "in Harm's Way" (the Henry Fonda Tribute), so I did get my ration of Patricia Neal.

on Aug 30, 2010

MamaCharlie says:  I guess I mostly remember her personal story because of the stroke and how tough she was getting over it and returning to movies.  She had the stroke when she was pregnant with her fifth child; she nearly died but in spite of it all, her baby was born healthy and normal.  "In Harm's Way" is one of BFD's favorites, a movie from the sixties in black and white.  The Chief took him to see it when it first came out; BFD was a teenager.  The Chief pointed out all the inconsistencies and got all excited when his ship was in a scene.

on Aug 31, 2010

The Chief pointed out all the inconsistencies and got all excited when his ship was in a scene.

That would have been great to see which one was his!

The stroke was very devastating for her, yet she showed what America is all about with her recovery.  She inspired me when I was down to remember that no matter how bad it seemed, where there is life, there is hope.  It helped a young kid in the 70s.

on Aug 31, 2010

Thanks for the article. I found it particularly interesting because I've never been much of a movie-goer or watcher so I didn't know much about Patricia Neal from the actress part of her life. Your article filled in all the blanks.

I know Patricia Neal as one of the strongest pro-life advocates ever. She grieved from her own abortion and turned that grief and regret into a positive pro-life example.

Her life was definitely filled with sorrow and triumph. In 1960, her 4 month old son Theo, was nearly killed in his stroller by a NY taxi driver and left permanently brain damaged. 2 years later, her daughter Olivia, age 7 died of measles encephalitis and it's already been mentioned that Neal suffered a stroke while pregnant with her fourth daughter Lucy. 

According to an AP article, she died from a long battle with lung cancer.

 

 

 

on Aug 31, 2010

She inspired me when I was down to remember that no matter how bad it seemed, where there is life, there is hope.

Yes, this is the essence.

on Aug 31, 2010

I know Patricia Neal as one of the strongest pro-life advocates ever.

I was not aware of that, thank you for sharing it with me.

Her life was definitely filled with sorrow and triumph. In 1960, her 4 month old son Theo, was nearly killed in his stroller by a NY taxi driver and left permanently brain damaged. 2 years later, her daughter Olivia, age 7 died of measles encephalitis and it's already been mentioned that Neal suffered a stroke while pregnant with her fourth daughter Lucy.

She was dealt a harsh hand, but persevered through it all.  When I first saw her on TV, she impressed me with her acting.  The other stuff I learned later and it made me respect her as a person as well.

on Sep 03, 2010

TCM had a movie on of hers this past weekend with Andy Griffith, but my wife could not stand Andy's voice, so I was not able to catch it. It is one I had not seen before.

DG, I believe you are referring to "A Face In the Crowd". It's a complete 180 for the typical good natured, southern gent Andy is usually known for. Pity his is hawking gov. heath care reform these days. I guess it pays the bills.

on Sep 03, 2010

DG, I believe you are referring to "A Face In the Crowd". It's a complete 180 for the typical good natured, southern gent Andy is usually known for.

That was it!  An entertainer who got too big for his britches (or so the synopsis went).  I will have to DVR it the next time it comes on and watch it one night when I cannot sleep.

As for his politics. I do not mind an actor(ress) hawking their fame for their cause.  As long as they do not waste my time and money doing it.  If I go to see a movie, I want to see the movie, not an infomercial.  If I go to a concert, I want to hear singing (or jokes), not how bad 43 was or how good 44 is.

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