TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. She was 31. Hugh Grant never wanted to be Hollywood’s ‘romantic Englishman.’ So he gave it up, The actor, once known for romantic comedies, has taken on darker roles of late — including as a potentially dangerous version of himself in HBO’s “The Undoing.”. Survivors include her mother and a brother, Frank Dennis of Des Moines. Op-Ed: On the COVID frontlines, we’re tired of hearing lame excuses for risky behavior. … Dennis said her work on stage brought her the most satisfaction. In her later roles, Ms. Dennis was never able to match the dazzling successes of her earlier years in terms of either public acclaim or favorable reviews. Successive Tonys, After making her movie debut in 1961 in a supporting role in "Splendor in the Grass," she won a Tony Award in 1963 for her performance on Broadway, opposite Jason Robards, as a social worker in "A Thousand Clowns." Ms. Dennis's death was confirmed by a spokesman for the Lewis Funeral Home in Westport. Once in the Big Apple, her talent was quickly spotted. She abused drugs and alcohol while pregnant with her daughter, Georgia, who was born prematurelyin July 1977. ", Bosley Crowther, reviewing that film in The New York Times, praised her portrayal as "engagingly natural, sensitive, literate and thoroughly moving." Although the exact cause of her death was not known, Ms. Dennis had been fighting a long battle with cancer, said Doris Elliott, a longtime friend. Learning that she was pregnant did little to mellow Denny's reckless lifestyle, which was heightened by increasing depression, mood swings and the unravelling of her "tumultuous" marriage to Trevor Lucas. It was just one of those things.”. This affected even Walter Kerr, the longtime Broadway critic, who had praised Ms. Dennis's performance in "Any Wednesday" with the lines: "Let me tell you about Sandy Dennis. Where critics had once been charmed by her freshness and girl-next-door innocence, many later seemed to detect a mannered nervous quality that drove them to distraction. There should be one in every home.". "You have to keep going, giving the best you've got to get something intangible." He said that Ms. Dennis gave "a vivid performance of emotional range and depth," and added that she "sincerely acquaints us with a genuine loving person we can believe wants to find her pupils' wounds and, what's more, try to heal them, which she can't.". Death. Sandy Dennis, Veteran Actress And Prize Winner, Is Dead at 54. Ms. Dennis's success was extraordinary for any actor or actress, but she seemed to recognize that such oversize fame might be ephemeral. Dennis lived with prominent jazz musician Gerry Mulligan from 1965 until they split up in 1974. ", She also drew critical praise for her 1967 role as the idealistic schoolteacher in the film "Up the Down Staircase. Los Angeles County has issued a new COVID-19 pandemic order in a desperate move aimed at slowing an unprecedented surge of coronavirus infections. L.A. County’s new stay-home order is the strictest in California. The coroner’s report recorded her death as a ‘traumatic mid-brain haemorrhage. Much like her moods, Denny's interes… Sandy Dennis, the Academy Award-winning actress who made an art form of intense, nervous mannerisms, has died of cancer in Connecticut. She was raised in Kenesaw and Lincoln, where she went to high school with talk show host Dick Cavett. Here’s how it works. The actress lived in Westport, Conn., with her mother. The New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael once complained that Ms. Dennis "has made an acting style of postnasal drip," an assessment Ms. Dennis herself said was correct and worked to change. Dennis lived for many years with jazz musician Gerry Mulligan, but she insisted that they were never married, as was often reported. Linda Thompson would later note that Denny "really started going downhill in 1976" and demonstrated increasing levels of both manic and depressive behaviour. ", Then in 1966, she won an Academy Award as best supporting actress for her portrayal of Honey, the mousy, scared-of-her-own-shadow half of a young faculty couple alternately seduced and browbeaten by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Edward Albee's scalding "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. What you need to know about the new restrictions, Pasadena stepping up restriction enforcement and may consider new rules. Welcome to our comprehensive gift guide for the 2020 holiday season. Another friend, who asked not to be identified, told the wire service that Dennis had been suffering from ovarian cancer. The temporary and limited stay-at-home order that takes effect Monday in Los Angeles County is not as restrictive as limits adopted earlier this year. Sandy Dennis died from ovarian cancer on March 2, 1992, at her home in Westport, Connecticut, at age 54. She lived with actor Eric Roberts from 1980 to 1985. But in 1967, Mr. Kerr wrote tolerantly but pointedly of Ms. Dennis's "habit" of speaking onstage as though sentences "were poor crippled things that couldn't cross a street without making three false starts from the curb." Ms. Dennis, born and raised in Nebraska and blessed with an aura of appealing fragility, came to New York at age 18. She was just 19, a kid fresh from Nebraska and summer stock with the New London Players of New Hampshire when she went to New York and enrolled at the respected acting school HB Studios in Greenwich Village to study with Lee Grant and founder Herbert Berghof. Still, she continued to work steadily in films and plays and in summer stock. Her first major success on Broadway was in 1962, when she captured a Tony Award as a child welfare official who was bewitched, bothered and befuddled by the carefree Jason Robards in Herb Gardner’s hit comedy “A Thousand Clowns.”. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. No details of funeral services were available. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. They separated in 1976. Mr. Burton once described her as "one of the most genuine eccentrics I know of. Personal life. Sandy Dennis, who as a young actress in the 1960's entranced Broadway and Hollywood with performances that won her two Tony Awards and an Academy Award, died on Monday at her home in Westport, Conn. She was 54 years old. What you do — how we ALL act in the next six weeks — will make the difference between an inconvenient fall and a disaster that will take years to overcome. Dennis won her supporting actress Oscar as a whimpering young faculty wife in the 1965 film version of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. Her screen image was often that of a flake or a neurotic, but she also exhibited an air of innocence. Sandra Dale Dennis was born in Hastings, Neb., on April 27, 1937. “I went to New York to perform in theater.”. After seeing her in a small part in Graham Greene’s comedy “The Complaisant Lover,” New York Herald Tribune drama critic Walter Kerr said of her, “No home should be without one.”, That same year, she landed a bit part in “Splendor in the Grass,” her first film role. “I don’t know why. She wasn’t daunted by Manhattan and its rumored threats to sanity when she arrived. A year later she won another Tony as the slightly offbeat mistress of a tycoon, played by Gene Hackman, in "Any Wednesday. She briefly studied at Nebraska Wesleyan University and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln before heading to New York and her acting career. L.A. County adopts further restrictions on public and private gatherings to slow spread of virus. Her performance won the Moscow Film Festival prize for best actress. In one interview she remarked that acting "isn't like painting a picture or writing a book. In the event, Denny died naturally on April 21, 1978. This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. ", See the article in its original context from. Elliott, however, said she did not know when the actress died. Her other film credits include “Up the Down Staircase,” “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean,” “The Out of Towners,” “The Four Seasons” and Sean Penn’s “The Indian Runner.”. “I didn’t think twice about it,” she said. “I never thought of acting in the movies ever in my life,” she told an interviewer in 1990. ", "When you finish an acting stint, there's nothing except money," she said. Sandy Dennis, the Academy Award-winning actress who made an art form of intense, nervous mannerisms, has died of cancer in Connecticut. Accidental.’ In the 40 years since Sandy Denny’s death, her recorded works have been reissued, remastered and re-evaluated. Her second Tony came for her portrayal of a tax-deductible kept woman in “Any Wednesday” in 1964. Sandy Dennis, who as a young actress in the 1960's entranced Broadway and Hollywood with performances that won her two Tony Awards and an Academy Award, died on Monday at her home in Westport, Conn. 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