Oscar Actors: Fitzgerald, Geraldine (Suffering Wife in Wuthering Heights)

Geraldine Fitzgerakd was nominated for oe Oscar, Best Supporting Actress, in William Wyler’s Wuthering Heights (1939), which was also nominated for Best Picture.

Born November 24, 1913 in Dublin, she died July 17, 2005, at age 91.

The daughter of a prominent attorney (his firm E&T Fitzgerald is mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses), she began her acting career at Dublin’s Gate Theatre, where she met another aspiring beginner, Orson Welles.

In 1934, Fitzgerald began appearing in lowbudget British films. In 1936, she married a horse breeder and in 1938 moved to New York, where Welles launched her American career in the Mercury Theater production of “Heartbreak House.”

The following year she went to Hollywood, where she played intense, often stem leads in Warner melodramas of the early 1940s.

Like her friend Bette Davis, Fitzgerald fought with the studio bosses over more suitable roles. Unlike Davis, she lost the fight, and her promising film career had faded by the end of the decade. She later returned to the screen in occasional character roles. In 1971 she made a triumphant comeback to ecstatic reviews in the Broadway revival of O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”

In 1946, she married wealthy businessman Stuart Scheftel, grandson of the founder of Macy’s, who, as a dollarayear man, was chairman of New York Mayor John Lindsay’s Youth Board. She helped him by forming streetcomer theater groups.

Her son from her first marriage is director Michael LindsayHogg, who helmed the Beatles film “Let It Be” (1970).

While appearing opposite Orson Welles in the Mercury Theatre production of Heartbreak House, she was seen by the film producer Hal B. Wallis who signed her to a seven-year film contract.

She achieved two significant successes in 1939: an Oscar nomination for her role as Isabella Linton in Wuthering Heights, and an important supporting role in Dark Victory.   Both pictures achieved great box-office success.

Oscar Alert:

In 1939, Geraldine Fitzgerald competed for the Supporting Actress Oscar with Olivia De Havilland in “Gone With the Wind,” Hattie McDaniel (who won) in “Gone With the Wind,” Edna May Oliver in “Drums Along the Mohawk,” and Maria Ouspenskaya in “Love Affair.”