Tandy, Jessica

Jessica Tandy, actress (b at London, Eng 7 June 1909; d at Easton, Conn 11 Sept 1994). Tandy had a long and distinguished career on the major stages of England, the US and Canada. Educated at the Ben Greet Academy of Acting in London 1924-27, she established herself as an immensely versatile actress, equally successful in the classics and in contemporary drama. She played Ophelia to John Gielgud's Hamlet in 1934 and Cordelia to his King Lear in 1940. She acted with Laurence Olivier in Tyrone Guthrie's productions of Twelfth Night and Henry V at the Old Vic in 1937. She married Canadian actor Hume CRONYN in 1942. They were often compared to the Lunts because of the numerous times they acted together in memorable productions.

The much-honoured actress received Tony Awards for her historic performance as Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire (1948), and in The Gin Game (1978) and Foxfire (1982).

As well, she received Obie and Drama Desk awards for her performances in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days and Not I (1972). She was nominated for a Tony Award in 1986 acting in The Petition with Cronyn. In 1994 both received a special Tony for their life's work in the theatre and both were nominated for Emmy Awards for their work in "To Dance With the White Dog" (1994).

She played important roles in Canada, including Hesione Hushabye in Heartbreak House at the Shaw Festival in 1968; Hippolyta/Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Lady Wishfort in The Way of the World at Stratford in 1976; the title role in Eve by Larry Fineberg in 1976 and Annie Nations in Foxfire in 1980. At Theatre London in 1977, Robin Phillips directed her in Long Day's Journey Into Night.

Tandy had an important film career highlighted by winning an Academy Award for best actress in the Oscar-winning film Driving Miss Daisy(1989) and was nominated for best supporting actress in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). At the age of 80 she was the oldest actor to win an Academy Award.

She appeared in numerous memorable movies, including The Birds (1963), Butley (1974), The World According to Garp (1982), The Bostonians (1984), Cocoon (1985), *batteries not included (1987), Used People (1992), Camilla (1994) and Nobody's Fool (1994).

Tandy received an honorary LLD from the University of Western Ontario in 1974.