Estelle Winwood


Estelle Winwood

Estelle Winwood (January 24 1883 – June 20 1984) was an English stage and movie actress who moved to America in mid-career and became celebrated for her longevity.

Early life and career

Born Estelle Goodwin in Lee, Kent, she decided at the age of five that she wanted to be an actress. With her mother's support, but her father's disapproval, she trained with the Liverpool Repertory Company, before moving on to a career in London's West End.

She moved to the United States in 1916 and made her Broadway debut, and until the beginning of the 1930s she divided her time between New York and London. Throughout her career, her first love was the theatre and as the years passed she appeared less frequently in London, but became a prolific performer on Broadway. Her many successes include "A Successful Calamity" (1917), "A Little Journey" (1918), "Spring Cleaning" (1923), "The Distaff Side" (1934), "The Importance of Being Earnest" (which she also directed, 1939), "When We Are Married" (1939), "Ladies in Retirement" (1940), "The Pirate" (1942), "Ten Little Indians" (1944), "Lady Windermere's Fan" (1947) and "The Madwoman of Chaillot" (1948).

A reluctant film and television actress

Like many stage actors of her era, she expressed a distaste for films and resisted the offers she received during the 1920s. Finally, she relented, and made her film debut in 1931 in "Night Angel" but her scenes were cut before the film's release. Her official film debut came in 1933 in "The House of Trent" and "Quality Street" (1937) was her first role of note. She made no cinematic films during the 1940s but expressed a willingness to participate in the new medium of television, starring in a television production of "Blithe Spirit" in 1946. During the 1950s she appeared more frequently in television that she did in film in such series as "Robert Montgomery Presents", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", and "The Donna Reed Show". Her few films from that period include "The Glass Slipper" (1955), "The Swan" (1956) and "23 Paces to Baker Street" (1956)

Her other film credits include "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" (1959), "The Misfits" (1961), "The Magic Sword" (1962), "The Notorious Landlady" (1962), "Dead Ringer" (1964), "Camelot" (1967) and "The Producers" (1968). She later denigrated the last film, saying she couldn't imagine why she had done it except for the money; nonetheless it is now considered a comedy classic.

Her other work for television included guest roles in memorable episodes of "The Twlight Zone", "Dr. Kildare", "Perry Mason", "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", "The Name of the Game", "Bewitched", "Batman", "Love, American Style", "Cannon" and "Police Story".

Later career and longevity

Winwood's final film appearance was at the age of 93 in "Murder by Death" (1976), as Elsa Lanchester's character's ancient nursemaid, although in real life they were rivals who engaged in a vinegary exchange of insults captured by author Kenneth Anger in his book Hollywood Babylon. In this movie she joined other veteran actors spoofing some of the most popular detective characters in murder mysteries on film and television (e.g. Dick and Dora Charleston, Jessica Marbles, etc). When she made her final television appearance in a 1979 episode of the series "Quincy", she officially became, at age 96, the oldest actor working in the United States, beating out fellow British actress, Ethel Griffies, who worked until her 90s almost until she died. Winwood ultimately achieved an 80-year career on the stage from her debut at the age of 16 until her final appearance at age 96. At the time of her death at the age of 101, she was the oldest member in the history of the Screen Actors Guild.

Centenarian actress and death

On her 100th birthday, she was asked how she felt to have lived so long. Her response was, "How rude of you to remind me!" Bette Davis, an old co-star, was photographed at Winwood's side on the occasion in Hollywood.

She was very good friends with libertine actress and outsized personality Tallulah Bankhead until Bankhead's death in 1968. She, Bankhead, and actresses Eva Le Gallienne and Blyth Daly were dubbed "The Four Riders of the Algonquin" in the early silent film days, due to their appearances together at the "Algonquin Round Table". Also, Winwood was married 4 times, at least once to a gay man (Guthrie McClintic, who was also married to lesbian actress Katharine Cornell) but had no children; another of her husbands was a brother of the Welsh Oscar-winning actor Edmund Gwenn ("The Miracle on 34th Street").

Estelle Winwood died in her sleep in Woodland Hills, California in 1984 aged 101. She was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

External links

*ibdb name|id= 16528|name= Estelle Winwood
*imdb name|id=0936115|name= Estelle Winwood
* [http://www.glbtq.com/arts/stage_actors_actresses,4.html Eva Le Gallienne, Estelle Winwood]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Estelle Winwood — (Estelle Goodwin; * 24. Januar 1883 in Lee, Kent, England; † 20. Juni 1984 in Woodland Hills, Kalifornien) war eine englische Bühnen und Filmschauspielerin. Winwood kam 1916 in die Vereinigten Staaten und begann ihre Karriere am Broadway. Ihr… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Estelle Winwood — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Winwood. Estelle Winwood est une actrice anglaise, née le 24 janvier 1883 à Lee (Royaume Uni), et décédée le 20 juin 1984 à Woodland Hills, près de Los Angeles (États Unis). Filmographie 1933 : The House of… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Winwood — is a surname, and may refer to* Estelle Winwood, a British actress * Ian Winwood, a British music journalist * Muff Winwood, a British musician and record company executive, brother of Steve Winwood * Ralph Winwood, a British politician and… …   Wikipedia

  • Estelle — ist ein weiblicher Vorname. Herkunft und Bedeutung Der Name Estelle kommt vom lateinischen Stella „Stern“. Namensträgerinnen Estelle Axton (1918–2004), US amerikanische Unternehmerin, Gründerin von Stax Records Estelle Getty (1923–2008), US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Winwood — ist der Familienname von: Estelle Winwood (1883–1984), englische Schauspielerin Steve Winwood (* 1948), englischer Musiker Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort b …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Winwood, Estelle — (1883 1984)    Born in Lee, England, Estelle Winwood began an acting career there in 1898 before emigrating to the United States in 1916, scoring her first notable success in Jesse Lynch Williams s Pulitzer PRizE winning Why Marry? (1917).… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Winwood —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie des personnes (réelles ou fictives) partageant un même patronyme. Winwood est un nom de famille notamment porté par : Estelle Winwood (1883 1984), actrice britannique ; Steve Winwood (né en 1948) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Swan (film) — Infobox Film name = The Swan caption = director = Charles Vidor producer = Dore Schary writer = John Dighton Ferenc Molnar (play) starring = Grace Kelly Alec Guinness Louis Jourdan Jessie Royce Landis Estelle Winwood Brian Aherne Agnes Moorehead… …   Wikipedia

  • Murder by Death — For the rock band, see Murder by Death (band). Murder by Death Theatrical release poster Directed by Robert Moore …   Wikipedia

  • The Glass Slipper — Infobox Film name = The Glass Slipper caption = Original film poster director = Charles Walters producer = Edwin H. Knopf writer = Helen Deutsch starring = Leslie Caron Michael Wilding Keenan Wynn Estelle Winwood Elsa Lanchester music = Bronislau …   Wikipedia