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Jane Darwell, Award Winner – MovieActors.com

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Jane Darwell: Best Supporting Actress 1940: MovieActors.com

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THE GRAPES OF WRATH (Drama)

Jane Darwell won her Supporting Oscar for playing Ma Joad in Steinbeck's Pulitzer prize-winning novel and film classic... THE GRAPES OF WRATH.












About Jane Darwell (1879 – 1967)

Jane Dawrwell was born under the name of Patti Mary Woodward on October 15th, 1879, the daughter of William Robert Woodard, and Ellen Booth in Palmyra; in Marion County in north- eastern Missouri.

Jane Darwell was a character actress from Missouri, who specialized in playing "motherly women," strong matriarchs, or "brassy old dames." She is best known for her oscar-winning role of Ma Joad, the matriarch of the Joad family, determined to keep her family together.

Jane's father was a railroad president. Jane grew up on a ranch in Missouri. Jane was drawn to the arts, and displayed her artistic gifts in singing and acting. Her father disapproved of her desire to go on the stage, as either an opera singer or an actress. Nice women in well-to-do families didn't usually work, and if they did, it wasn't in the arts! Therefore, Jane delayed her first appearance on the stage until age 33, changing her name from Woodward to Darwell, as to not embarrass her strict family.

Jane started her acting career in theatre productions in Chicago. At the age of 40, Jane started her film career in 1913, and was in twenty silent film shorts and movies over the next two years, before returning to the stage.

Fifteen years later, Jane returned to working in the film medium, being cast in talkies. At this time, she began her thespain career as a character actress. She was a popular actress, often being cast as the mother of the main character, sweet grandma, and as the housekeeper, including five Shirley Temple movies: BRIGHT EYES;(1934), CURLY TOP;(1935), CAPTAIN JANUARY;(1936),POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL;(1936).

Jane Darwell won a Supporting Oscar for playing Ma Joad, Henry Fonda's Mom, matriarch of a tough family of farmers who had lost their land; victims of the dust bowl, in the 1940 film classic, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, that was based on Steinbeck's Pulitzer prize-winning novel of the same title.It was directed by John Ford, and starred Henry Fonda as her eldest son.

Jane Darwell played a vigilante, who shoots the horse out from under a lynching victim, in the 1943 film, THE OX-BOW INCIDENT, also with Henry Fonda.

Jane was cast in 5 other John Ford films:MY DARLING CLEMENTINE;(1946), 3 GODFATHERS;(1948), WAGON MASTER;(1950), THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT;(1953), and THE LAST HURRAH;(1958), and LITTLE MISS BROADWAY;(1938).

Darwell later quipped, “I've played Henry Fonda's mother so often that, whenever we run into each other, I call him 'Son,' and he calls me 'Ma,' just to save time.”

Throughout the 50s' and 60s', Jane also worked on TV series, such as: THE FORD TELEVISION THEATRE;(1954,1955), PLAYHOUSE 90;(1956, 1957), WAGON TRAIN;(1959-1961), THE REAL MCCOYS;(1961), BURKE'S LAW; Who Killed Eleanora DAvis?;(1963), and THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR;The Jar- 1964).

At the age of 80, On February 8th, 1960, Jane was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pcitures at 6735 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

At the age of 83, Jane Darwell was suffering from poor health, and living in retirement at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, California. Walt Disney visited her in person, to persuade her to play the role of "The Bird Woman," in the Disney classic, MARY POPPINS; (1964), which was her last film role.

On February 8th, 1960, Jane was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures at 6735 Hoolywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

Jane Darwell died of a heart attack, on August 13th, 1967, at the age of 87. Her remains were interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. When she died, she had 210 film and television credits under her belt.

Jane Darwell's notable movie credits include...

BREWSTER'S MILLIONS
TOM SAWYER (1930)
SLAVE SHIP (1937)
THREE BLIND MICE (1938)
JESSE JAMES (1936)
GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
BRIGHAM YOUNG (1940)
ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (1941)
ON THE SUNNY SIDE (1942)
HIGHWAYS BY NIGHT (1942)
THE LOVES OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (1942)
THE OX BOW INCIDENT (1943)
STAGE DOOR CANTEEN (1943)
GILDERSLEEVE'S BAD DAY (1943)
RECKLESS AGE (1944)
SUNDAY DINNER FOR A SOLDIER (1944)
CAPTAIN TUGBOAT ANNIE (1945)
MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946)
WAGON MASTER (1950)
THE LEMON DROP KID (1951)
HIT THE DECK (1955)
THE LAST HURRAH (1958)
HOUND-DOG MAN (1959)
MARY POPPINS (1964)


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Jane Darwell in THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940).

 

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