Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


A brunette beauty with apple cheeks and luminous brown eyes, Jennifer Jones was a sensitive actress with a screen persona that combined shy vulnerability and bold emotion. She was equally convincing as saint or sinner, and some of her best performances blended the two types to create characters who were somewhere between innocent heroine and passionate femme fatale.

Jones was born Phylis Lee Isley on March 2, 1919, in Tulsa, OK. Her interest in acting began as a child, when her parents operated a small theatrical troupe and later ran a chain of movie theaters. She studied theater at Northwestern University in Illinois, then at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. It was at the latter that she met her first husband, actor Robert Walker.

An audition for the play Claudia led Jones into a fateful meeting with producer David O. Selznick, who had the rights to the film version of the play and would become her second husband, as well as an almost Svengali-like influence on her life. Selznick helped her land the coveted leading role in the 20th Century-Fox film that would instantly establish her as a major star: The Song of Bernadette (1943). Jones was incandescent as the French peasant girl who claimed to have had visions of the Virgin Mary. The role earned Jones an Academy Award® for Best Actress.

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