Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Sylvia Sidney



Born: August 8, 1910

Died: July 1, 1999

Aged: 88 years of throat cancer

Real Name: Sophia Kossow

Marriages: 3 times-2nd to Luther Adler

Affairs: Budd Schulberg

Delicate, suffering beauty with the strength of steel! Grew up in the Bronx from Russian/Romanian Jewish parents. She was exceptionally shy but came out of her shell when she started acting.  She went to the theatre but soon Hollywood beckoned and she became one of the top stars during the early 1930's. She made one film, "Madame Butterfly" that was horrible (except for her performance) but her name was popular in Japan for  condoms which they called Sylvia Sidneys. She disliked being controlled by the Hollywood studios so she left! She signed with director, Walter Wanger, who was a bully and brought out her insecurities and whom she, ultimately, did not like at all. She worked with Fritz Lang (director) on 3 pictures also known for his roughness but she found him easier to deal with. In the 40's her film work slowed down but she enjoyed other outlets. She loved needlepoint and wrote  and published 2 books on the subject. She was also known for  breeding many prize-winning dogs(I heard pugs). Her only son passed away in the 70's from Lou Gehrig's disease. Her ex, Luther Adler  consoled her and vice versa since they remained life-long friends. She continued to work often in TV but made a resurgence late in her career in comedies. She always felt it was easy to do tragic parts since she could cry on cue but comedy was much more difficult. She was a life long smoker which finally caught up with her.

Oscar Nomination: "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams"

Films: "American Tragedy", " City Streets", "Ladies of the Big House", "Merrily We Go To Hell", "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine", "Sabotage", "Fury", "You Only Live Once", "Dead End", "Beetlejuice", "Mars Attacks"

Quote:  When she realized she could refuse roles she didn't like -"When I realized I didn't have to, I became a bitch on wheels!"


The films in bold I would see first-start with her earlier roles-she is great in the later 2 comedies

49 comments:

  1. I didn't recognize her from the picture you posted. I think I only know her in her later years on TV. I think she got more lovely with age.

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    1. I always thought she was one of the most beautiful. I knew her first when she was younger. I then saw her in TV movies and saw her being interviewed-she was so spunky!

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  2. Despite being a smoker, she lived to age 89--we can all hope to live that long a life!

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    1. That is so true! Her voice was affected but it worked well in beetlejuice and the grandmom who love Slim Whitman in Mars Attacks

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  3. Mars Attacks? Wow. She was sure beautiful.

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    1. Yup-she was the old grand mom who listened to the Slim Whitman records which saved the world!

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  4. Beautiful! Never heard of her. That was kind of sad about the Japanese and the condoms with her name.....Glad she made it to 88 before the smoking caught up with her though.

    betty

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    1. I know all because she played a geisha in Madame Butterfly

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  5. I don't know her either - not sure why the condoms would be called after her - do you know?
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    1. Oh yes-the film, Madame Butterfly-she plays a geisha-the film tanked but because she played that role and the Japanese saw her in that, they called them after her name. She took it as a badge of honor and laughed about it

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  6. Pretty woman, don't know of her... have heard about many of the films.

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    1. She is best remembered for her later films. She plays the lady who sets up the 2 undead people to find out more about being ghosts. In Mars Attacks she was the old lady who loved Slim Whitman and helped save the world

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  7. I don't recognize her or her name, although I'm a fan of Beetlejuice. She was beautiful.

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    1. She was the old lady that the 2 ghosts meet in the other world. She gets them prepared and tell them to read the book

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  8. Beetlejuice and Mars Attacks! I remember her now.

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    1. Yes! She is most known for that but she was a big star in the 30's and so beautiful

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  9. She disliked being controlled by Hollywood studios?
    Huh. You think she'd be peeved by that condom thing.

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    1. Nope-she laughed about the condoms but didn't like being controlled

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  10. I remember her performance in Beetlejuice. She made that part memorable.

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    1. She did as she was such a spitfire:)

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  11. Interesting post, but I'm not familiar with her work. Maybe on TV?

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    1. She did do some TV movies but did you ever see Beetlejuice?

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  12. lol never knew that about the condoms. I've seen quite a few with her in them, never would have realized. Lived a long while before smoking caught up to her

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    1. She did live a long life and makes me wonder how much longer she would have lived if she didn't smoke

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    2. I will have to see more of her movies.

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  13. What a beauty she was. I had never heard of her before now, thank you.

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    1. She is a beauty and a great actress

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  14. She was in Beetlejuice?
    A very pretty lady.

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    1. Yup! She was the old lady in the dead world who helps out the ghost couple

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  15. She was in Beetlejuice! She was the receptionist in the way station for dead people who had died in all sorts of unnatural ways. She herself had had her throat cut. She smoked and smoke came out of the slice.

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    1. Yup! You got it:) That is the gal and I thought she was just great in that role.

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  16. I don't know her at all. It is a well known fact in the theatre that comedy is much more difficult than drama. Timing is so very important in comedy.

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    1. It is so difficult to do comedy-timing is everything and delivery

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  17. >>... her name was popular in Japan for condoms which they called Sylvia Sidneys.

    Ha!-Ha!

    I didn't recognize her name at all. Not hard to look at, and I've apparently seen her because I've seen a few of the movies you listed, but... you had me beat with this one.

    ~ D-FensDogG

    POSTSCRIPT:
    I left some Q's for you to supply A's to in the comment section of my latest blog bit. No rush, but whenever you get a chance, I am genuinely interested in your thoughts on those matters.

    I am only 27 minutes away from watching 'TORTILLA FLAT', one of my all-time Top Ten favorite movies. (Yep... gonna have some wine while I watch. How can ANYONE watch 'Tortilla Flat' and not drink some wine with it?!?!?!)

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    1. Poor Sylvia needs some more recognition:) I think she is only lovely lady. I shall look now:)

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  18. I remember Sylvia Sidney from her later work. How tragic about her son.

    Julie

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    1. It is tragic. I remember her being interviewed-one strong lady

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  19. I know that name. I think my image of her is older.

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    1. Oh I bet since she was in those comedies I mentioned above

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  20. Such a variety of roles. Very sad about her son.

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    1. She was suffering in the 30's, playing weird characters in the 70's and 80's and comedy in the 90's

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  21. Such a variety of roles. Very sad about her son.

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  22. They say any publicity is good, though I'm not sure how I'd feel about condoms named Robyn Engel. That's kinda weird.

    She was a talented beauty.

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    1. It is weird and silly actually but she took it in stride

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  23. So pretty and sad. Love your "S".

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    1. She is very pretty. Thanks-I grabbed it from Goggle search and since she did needle point-thought it was a good choice

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  24. So pretty and sad. Love your "S".

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  25. I haven't heard of this lady but I love her quote. :D

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  26. Never heard of this beautiful lady. Good she stuck to her guns.

    Inventions by Women A-Z
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