Gene Tierney's mystical features were transposed into the portrait of "Laura," haunting millions of moviegoers as it did the tough detective who sought to unravel her alleged slaying in that film.
Before her career crumbled in a tangle of emotional problems that led to years in mental hospitals, Miss Tierney appeared in more than 35 motion pictures. Although she was known the world over for her sensual Laura, she was nominated for an Academy Award only once—for her portrayal of a murderess in "Leave Her to Heaven" (1945).
She was romanced by international playboy Prince Aly Khan, a young naval officer named John F. Kennedy, actor Tyrone Power and Howard Hughes.
But her professional and personal triumphs were carried out under a dark shadow, the retardation of a daughter by her first marriage to fashion designer Oleg Cassini. By 1954 — after a breakup with Aly Khan — she had lost much of her grip on reality.
She had no recollection of many events in her life during the late 1950s, she said in her 1979 autobiography, "Self Portrait," and had to recover details from relatives, friends, scrapbooks and letters. She wrote:
"I had been invited in 1956 to the inauguration of President Eisenhower. That memory was just about the last I had until I woke up one day and wondered how it happened to be 1959. . . . I didn't know who was running the government. I didn't know that Russia and the United States had fired rockets into space. I didn't know who Elvis Presley was, or the names of any new books or songs or movies."
In the early 1960s, she managed to pick up a few pieces of her career, appearing in a television drama and in three films. The last was "The Pleasure Seekers" (1964), in which she had a cameo role. Her last acting role was in 1980 in the TV-movie "Scruples," in which she portrayed a magazine editor.
In 1961, she married millionaire Texas oilman W. Howard Lee, the former husband of actress Hedy Lamarr. She lived with him in Houston until his death in 1981. She stayed there, remaining active in local politics and in such causes as helping retarded children.
|1945||Best Actress||Leave Her to Heaven||Nomination|