Oscar Actors: Van Fleet, Jo

Born December 30, 1919, in Oakland, California, Jo Van Fleet was educated at the University of the Pacific. After training for the stage at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse, she made her debut in 1944.

Van Fleet won the Supporting Actress Oscar for her very first screen role, as James Dean's brothel-madam mother in Elia Kazan's “East of Eden” (1955).

She often played women, who looked and were older than herself, such as “Wild River,” also directed by Kazan.

Oscar Context

“East of Eden” was nominated for four Oscars, including a posthumous nomination for James Dean.