Closest Thing to Biography
Mom in the Movies: The Iconic Screen Mothers You Love (And a Few You Love to Hate)
By Turner Classic Movies and Richard Corliss, Simon & Schuster, 2014
Played Moms and Neurotics but Was Neither
Actually one of those Reveres, Anne Revere was born in Manhattan and educated at Wellesley College. She studied at the American Laboratory Theatre, the New York-based drama school that trained such theatre luminaries as Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler.
After enjoying success on Broadway in the early 1930s, Revere went to Hollywood to reprise her stage role in the film version of the play, Double Door (1934), but didn't get another film role until 1940. This time, she enjoyed regular work as a character actress, playing mostly the worried, poor, or otherwise careworn mother of the lead actor.
The work dried up abruptly in 1951 after Revere exercised her Fifth Amendment rights before the House Un-American Activities Committee. She had just finished a plum role in the film A Place in the Sun (1951) as Montgomery Clift's mother, but the studio whittled it down to practically nothing in response. She didn't appear in another film until nearly 20 years later. Revere resigned from her position on the board of the Screen Actors Guild that same year.
The now blacklisted Academy-Award-Winning actress (Best Supporting Actress 1944, National Velvet) and her husband, writer and actor Samuel Rosen, ran a theatre school in Los Angeles for a time, then went back to New York to work on the stage. She won a Tony in 1961 for her performance in Lillian Hellman's, "Toys in the Attic," and also appeared on television in several soap operas.
So work she did, and without regret: "I'm a free thinking Yankee rebel and nobody's going to tell me what to do!" A sentiment her ancestor, Paul, could certainly get behind.
Now I feel bad for continually mixing her up with Flora Robson in my youth.
I'll do just about anything a movie tells me to do. Unless it tells me wrong...
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