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Gale Sondergaard, Award Winner – MovieActors.com

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Sondergaard in THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA.

Gale Sondergaard: Best Supporting Actress 1936: MovieActors.com

ANTHONY ADVERSE (Drama)

Gale Sondergaard was the first Supporting Actress winner for her performance as a scheming woman during Napoleon's time.


About Gale Sondergaard (1899 – 1985)

Gale Sondergaard was a beautiful, tall, dark actress who was born in Litchfield, Minnesota, on February 15th, 1899, under the name, Edith Holm Sondergaard. Her parents were both immigrants from Denmark, and had met in the United States. Her father voted for the American Socialist Party, and her mother was a firm believer in women's rights.

Gale shared in an inteview, "My parents were both progressive people. My father, we thought, voted the Democratic ticket, but actually he voted the Socialist ticket; my mother was a suffragette and I marched in parades with her."

She went to college at the University of Minnesota, becoming an active member of the School of Music and Dramatic Arts.

Sondergaard began her acting career first on the stage, where she worked extensively.

Gale Sondergaard was known as an actress who shined in portraying "sly, manipulative, dangerously cunning and sinister" women.

Gale Sondergaard's physical presence was the inspiration to develop the beautiful but wicked queen in Walt Disney's 1937 animated film, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS.

When she met and married director Herbert J. Biberman, Gale followed him to Hollywood. There she began to work in films, making her film debut in Mervyn LeRoy's film, ANTHONY ADVERE in 1936. Her performance in her first film earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in this Mervyn LeRoy film.

Mervyn LeRoy also wanted her to portray the character of the wicked witch in THE WIZARD OF OZ, in 1939, but she turned it down to do THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA, that won an Oscar for Best Picture in 1937.

Sondergaard's most memorable role was in THE LETTER, in 1940. Gale Sondergaard played a film noir femme fatale, along with Bette Davis, who was the murderess of Sondergaard's husband, both actresses portraying people with evil motives and bad attitudes.

Gale Sondergaard earned a second nomination for her 1946 supporting performance in ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM.

Sondergaard was blacklisted in 1948, when she did not cooperate with the HUAC Committee and refused to testify. Henry Biberman was also black-listed. The couple moved to New York City, and continued on working in stage plays, with a bitter taste in their mouths about Hollywood. Many actors, actresses and directors who were blacklisted went to New York to resume their careers on stage. Her film career was basically over.

In the 1960's, Gale also started to work on television projects, up until 1981. She only did a few more films, starting again in 1969, with SAVAGE INTRUDER, FOLLOWED by the film, SLAVES. She got a big role in RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE, in 1976. Her final film role was starring as the mother of two twins in ECHOES.

Gale Sondergaard died on August 14, 1985, in Woodland Hills, California.

Gale Sondergaard's notable movie credits include...

ANTHONY ADVERSE (1936)
MAID OF SALEM (1937)
SEVENTH HEAVEN (1937)
THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA (1937)
LORD JEFF (1938)
DRAMATIC SCHOOL (1938)
NEVER SAY DIE (1939)
JUAREZ (1939)
THE LLANO KID (1939)
THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939)
THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940)
THE BLUEBIRD (1940)
THE LETTER (1940)
PARIS CALLING (1941)
THE BLACK CAT (1941)
ENEMY AGENTS MEET ELLERY QUEEN (1942)
MY FAVORITE BLONDE (1942)
APPOINTMENT IN BERLIN Í(1943)
THE STRANGE DEATH OF ADOLF HITLER (1943)
SPIDER WOMAN (1944)
ENTER ARSENE LUPIN (1944)
FOLLOW THE BOYS (1944)
THE CLIMAX (1944)
CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY (1944)
ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM (1946)
NIGHT IN PARADISE (1946)
THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946)
THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946)
ROAD TO RIO (1947)
PIRATES OF MONTEREY (1947)
EAST SIDE WEST SIDE (1949)
RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE (1976)
PLEASANTVILLE (1976)
ECHOES - TV Movie (1982)

Gale Sondergaard's notable movie credits include...

CENTENNIAL (TV MINI-SERIES 1979)
RYAN'S HOPE (TV SERIES 1976)
THE CAT CREATURE (1973)
TANGO (TV MOVIE)(1970)


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Gale Sondergaard in THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA (1937).