Oscar Actors: Collinge, Patricia (Supporting Actress Nominee, The Little Foxes)

Born in Dublin as Eileen Cecilia Collinge on September 20, 1982, Patricia Collinge was a wonderful Irish American actress, specializing in character roles on stage and screen.

After some dancing and piano lessons, she committed to acting, making her first stage appearance as a child at the London Garrick Theatre in 1904 as a Chinese doll in Little Black Sambo.  Her first New York acting was in 1908 in The Queen of the Moulin Rouge, while living with her mother.

Collinge acted with Douglas Fairbanks, Amelia Bingham and William Henry Crane in 1913  in Broadway’s The New Henrietta, a play based on a comedy by Bronson Howard.   In 1914, she again appeared with Douglas Fairbanks in the play He Comes Up Smiling.

Her biggest success to date was in the Broadway cast of Lilian Hellman’s The Little Foxes with Tallulah Bankhead in 1939, as Birdie Hubbard. In 1941, she played the same part in the Oscar-nominated screen version, starring Bette Davis.

Other stage work includes roles in The Heiress, Just Suppose, The Dark Angel, The Importance of Being Earnest, To See Ourselves, and Lady With A Lamp. Her final stage appearance was in NY in the 1952 I’ve Got Sixpence.

Collinge’s film debut was in 1941 in The Little Foxes, for which she was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.  Other films include Hitchcock’s 1943 masterpiece, Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Tender Comrade (1943), Washington Story (1952), Teresa (1951) and The Nun’s Story (1959); the last two directed by Fred Zinnemann.

The Hitchcock Connection

Hitchcock allowed Collinge rewrite the crucial, penultimate scene between Teresa Wright and MacDonald Carey in the garage.  Collinge also worked with Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville and Ben Hecht (uncredited), on the screenplay for Hitchcock’s 1944 Oscar nominated Lifeboat, starring Tallulah Bankhead.  In the late 1950s, Collinge appeared in episodes of the anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Collinge was also a professional writer, penning the play Dame Nature (1938), an adaptation of a French drama by Andre Birabeau, and The Small Mosaics of Mr. and Mrs. Engel, a travelogue in Italy.  She also wrote some short stories for the New Yorker and contributed to the NY Times Book Review.

Collinge died on April 10, 1974 in NYC, at age 81, of heart attack.