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Greer Garson, Award Winner – MovieActors.com

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Greer Garson: Best Actress 1942: MovieActors.com

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MRS. MINIVER (Drama)

Greer Garson won her Best Actress award for playing Mrs. Miniver, a story about an English family's adjustments during World War 2.













About Greer Garson (1904 – 1996)

Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson was born on September 29th, 1904 in Manor Park, LOndon, Essex, England. She was the only child of her parents Nancy Greer, and George Garson, a commercial clerk in a London Importing business. Nancy's family was from Northen Ireland; Ulster-Scots, and George's family was from Scotland. Greer Garson became a naturalized American citizen in 1951, two years after the marriage to the love of her life, Texan E. E. Fogelson.

Despite the fact that her father died in 1906 because of surgical shock from operation to remove his appendicitis before it burst, Greer had a normal, English childhood, and showed no interest in acting. His family was active in the Presbyterian Church, and greer was devout. Greer graduated from the University of London, with a degree with honors in French and 18th century literature. She studied at the University of Grenoble, with the intent of entering the teaching profession.

Greer decided that teaching wasn't for her, so she was hired at an advertising agency. Just for a fun pasttime, she began to act in local community theater plays, and wowed all who saw her performances, which led to her to quickly get the reputation of being a talented thespian indeed!

Greers' advise to ASPIRING thespians: "Keep your horizon's wide and your waistline slim."

In 1932, Greer jumped ship from working at an advertising agency with a safe job to the risky profession of acting full-time professionally at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in London. She was coached by Laurence Olivier to grow professionally as an actress.

In 1937, Greer got her feet wet as well on early British television projects. She co-starred in the BBC TV Movies, THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL, THEATRE PARADE, and HOW HE LIED TO HER HUSBAND, while still acting on stage. More people became Greer Garson fans.

Her future changed forever when a vacationing Louis B Mayer saw one of her stage performances in 1938, and promptly signed her up to be a contract actress for MGM. Greer became a lead actress, and didn't start out in small or supporting roles, like many contract thespians did back in the day of the studio contract system; struggling to rise to the top of the thespian food chain.

More advice from Greer, which could apply to anyone's hopes and aspirations: "All I know about getting something that you want is that there are three essential things: wanting, trying and getting the opportunity, the breaks. None works alone without the others. Wanting is basic. Trying is up to you. And the breaks - I do know this, they always happen."

In Greer's first MGM movie, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS;1939, Greer plays the wife of the school teacher and title character, who died in childbirth. She was nominated for her first Best Actress Academy Award for her role; the first of eight nominations.

The next year, in 1940, Greer played the leading role of Elizabeth Bennett in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Greer Garson was nominated for her 1941 portrayal of a mother who loses her child at a young age and becomes a children's cause crusader, in BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST.

In the 1942 film MRS. MINIVER, Garson won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a British matriarch; keeping strong and guiding her family through trials of wartime Britain.

In 1943, Greer Garson played the title role in MADAM CURIE, the story of the French scientist who discovered radiation. Greer Garson was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

In 1944, Greer Garson was nominated again for her work in the movie, MRS. PARKINGTON, the story of the fortunes of a woman who started out in life as a hotel worker in the Old West and became a New York society maven upon her marriage to Mr. Parkington.

One year later, in 1945, Greer Garson co-starred with Gregory Peck in THE VALLEY OF DECISION, in which she plays a young woman who becomes involved with the rich mining family responsible for her miner father's disability, when she goes to work for them as a domestic.

In 1960, Greer Garson played Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in SUNRISE AT CAMPOBELLO. The film told the story of Franklin Roosevelt's struggle to overcome polio; enough to become president and create the New Deal during the Great Depression. At the 1961 Golden Globe Awards presentation, Greer Garson won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress.

In 1960, Greer Garson was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1651 Vine Street.

After this film, Garson did about one project every other year until her retirement in her late 70's.

She commented on the roles that were offered to her. "I've been offered nymphomaniacs, kleptomaniacs, pyromaniacs, homicidal maniacs and just plain maniacs. I think producers felt that after playing a long series of noble and admirable characters there would be quite a lot of shock value in seeing me play something altogether different. But I prefer upbeat stories that send people out of the theater feeling better than they did coming in. It's my cup of tea."

Greer Garson was at first, unlucky at love; being a successful actress got in the way. Her first marriage was to Edward Snelson, but it lasted until the end of their honeymoon. She found out that he was posessive and was obsessed with her, wanting her to give up acting and live with him in India.

Greer and Edward lived apart, but didn't divorce until 1943, when Greer married actor Richard Ney, who portrayed her son in the film, MRS. MINIVER. He was quite a bit younger than her, and an insecure actor. Uh oh! This marriage lasted four years. They got divorced because he was jealous of her success, and behaved badly in verbal put-downs toward her, and generally acting like a jerk.

Her third, 1949 marriage was to the love of her life, millionare oilman and Texas horse breeder, E.E. Fogelson, who had worked to get his own money and success, and just loved he. It was a mutual love between them. Greer lived with him on his ranch in Dallas, Texas, and on their other ranch in New Mexico. Greer had always wished to adopt kids, and she got her family when E.E. adopted his late sister's three children.

Greer established the Greer Garson Theatre facility at Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the ARts in Dallas, and the Greer Garson Theatre at the Santa Fe University of Arts and Design. The conditions were that the stages had to be round, the first play to be presented would be A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and that they would have large ladies' rest rooms.

Greer gave generously to various charities as well, living her faith.

Greer Garson died from heart issues on April 6th, 1996 at Presbyterian Hopsital in Dallas, at the age of 91. She was buried at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas.

Greer Garson's other Best Actress Nominations were for...

GOODBYE MR. CHIPS (39)
BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST (41)
MADAME CURIE (43)
MRS. PARKINGTON (44)
VALLEY OF DECISION (45)
SUNRISE AT CAMPOBELLO (60)

Greer Garson's other credits include...

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940)
RANDOM HARVEST (1942)
ADVENTURE (1945)
JULIA MISBEHAVES (1948)
THAT FORSYTE WOMAN (1949)
THE MINIVER STORY (1950)
SCANDAL AT SCOURIE (1953)
JULIUS CAESAR (1953)
PEPE (1960)
THE SINGING NUN (1966)
THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE (1967)

Greer Garson's television credits include...

GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER (TV Series 1956-1960)
THE DUPONT SHOW OF THE WEEK: The Shadowed Affair (TV Series 1962)
INVINCIBLE MR. DISRAELI (TV Movie 1963)
CROWN MATRIMONIAL (TV Series 1974)
LITTLE WOMEN (TV Series 1978)

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Garson, with co-star Teresa Wright, in MRS. MINIVER.

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Greer Garson in RANDOM HARVEST (1942).

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Greer Garson in GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS (1939).