Anne Baxter

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Anne Baxter
Anne Baxter.jpg
Born May 7, 1923
Michigan City, Indiana
Died Dec 12, 1985 - age 61
New York City, New York
Years active 1940 - 1983
Spouse(s) John Hodiak (1946-1953)
Randolph Galt (1960-1969)
David Klee (1977-1977)

Anne Baxter (May 7, 1923 – December 12, 1985) was an Academy Award-winning American actress.

Early life Baxter was born in Michigan City, Indiana to Kenneth Stuart Baxter and Catherine Wright; her maternal grandfather was architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Baxter's father was a prominent executive with the Seagrams Distillery Co. and she was raised in New York City amidst luxury and sophistication. At age ten, Baxter attended a Broadway play starring Helen Hayes, and was so impressed that she declared to her family that she wanted to become an actress. By the age of thirteen, Anne had appeared on Broadway. During this period, Baxter learned her acting craft as a student of the famed teacher Maria Ouspenskaya.


Baxter as Eve Harrington, from the trailer for All About Eve (1950)

Baxter screen-tested for the role of Mrs. DeWinter in Rebecca, but lost out to Joan Fontaine because director Alfred Hitchcock considered her "too young" for the role. The strength of that first foray into movie acting secured the then sixteen-year-old Baxter a seven year contract with 20th Century Fox. Her first movie role was in 20 Mule Team in 1940. She was chosen by Orson Welles to appear in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), based on the novel by Booth Tarkington. Baxter co-starred with Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney in 1946's The Razor's Edge, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1950 she was chosen to co-star in All About Eve, largely because of a resemblance to Claudette Colbert, who had initially been chosen to co-star in the film. Baxter received a nomination for Best Actress for the title role of Eve Harrington, which is one of Baxter's enduring legacies to the history of cinema. Later during that decade, Baxter also continued to act in professional theater. According to a program from the production, Baxter appeared on Broadway in 1953 opposite Tyrone Power in Charles Laughton's John Brown's Body, a play based upon the narrative poem by Stephen Vincent Benét (though the Internet Broadway Database states that Power's co-star was Judith Anderson).

Baxter with Yul Brynner, from the trailer for The Ten Commandments (1956)

Today, Baxter is probably best remembered for her compelling role as the Egyptian princess Nefertiri opposite Charlton Heston's portrayal of Moses in Cecil B. Demille's award winning The Ten Commandments (1956).

Baxter appeared regularly on television in the 1960s. For example, she did a stint as one of the What's My Line? Mystery Guests on the popular Sunday Night CBS-TV program. She also starred as the special guest villain "Zelda the Great" in two episodes of the 60s superhero show Batman. She also appeared as the special guest villain "Olga, Queen of the Cossacks" opposite Vincent Price's "Egghead" in three episodes of the show's third season.

Baxter appeared again on Broadway during the 1970s, in Applause, the musical version of All About Eve, but this time in the "Margo Channing" role played by Bette Davis in the film (she was replacing Lauren Bacall, who won a Tony Award in the role). Bette Davis tells, in one of her biographies, of attending one such performance by Baxter, to their mutual delight.

In the 1970s, Baxter was a frequent guest and stand-in host on the popular daytime TV talk-fest The Mike Douglas Show, since Baxter and host Mike Douglas were the best of friends.

In 1983, she starred in the television series Hotel after replacing Bette Davis in the cast after Davis took ill. Baxter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6741 Hollywood Blvd.

Private life

In the 1950s, Baxter was married to and then divorced from actor John Hodiak. That union produced Baxter's oldest daughter, Katrina. In 1961, Baxter and her second husband, Randolph Galt, left the United States to live and raise their children on a cattle station in the Australian outback. She told the story in her memoir Intermission: A True Story. In the book, Baxter blamed the failure of her first marriage to Hodiak on herself.

Though her second marriage to Galt did not last much longer, Baxter and Galt had two daughters together: Melissa and Maginel. Privately during this period, Baxter chose to refer to herself as Ann Galt amongst her neighbors in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, probably as a way to downplay her star status and to raise her daughters as normally as possible. Baxter was briefly married again in 1977 to David Klee, a prominent stockbroker, but was widowed when he died unexpectedly due to illness; Baxter never remarried. They had purchased a sprawling property in Easton, Connecticut which they extensively remodeled, but Klee did not live to see the renovations completed. The house itself was architecturally reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's flat-roofed structures. Baxter remodeled the living room fireplace to resemble the fireplace in her grandfather's masterpiece, Fallingwater. Although Baxter maintained a residence in West Hollywood, California, she considered her beloved Connecticut home to be her primary residence.

Baxter died from a brain aneurysm on December 12, 1985, while walking down Madison Avenue in New York City. She is buried on the estate of Frank Lloyd Wright in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Baxter was survived by her three adult daughters. Baxter was a lifelong friend of the late costume designer Edith Head, who appeared with Baxter in a cameo role in the Columbo episode in which Baxter starred. Upon Head's death in 1981, Baxter's daughter Melissa was bequeathed her extraordinary collection of jewelry. Melissa Galt today works as an interior designer in Atlanta. Baxter's daughter Katrina Hodiak ultimately married and had children. Baxter's daughter Maginel Galt is reportedly a Catholic nun living and working in Rome, Italy.

Pin-up Gallery


More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Anne Baxter filmography ]


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