Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

Actress Patricia Neal dies aged 84

Published 09/08/2010

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal has died at the age of 84 (AP)
Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal has died at the age of 84 (AP)

Patricia Neal, who won an Oscar in 1964 for Hud and later fought back from crippling strokes, has died at the age of 84.

The actress had lung cancer and died at her home in Edgarton, Massachusetts, on Martha's Vineyard, said long-time friend Bud Albers of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Kentucky-born Patricia, famous for her husky voice, was already a Tony-winning stage actress when she made her film debut in 1949. Among her movies were The Fountainhead and A Face In The Crowd.

The year after winning the Academy Award, she suffered a series of strokes and had to relearn to walk and talk. But she returned to the screen and earned another Oscar nomination and three Emmy nominations.

The Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Centre in Knoxville, where she grew up, which concentrates on helping people recover from strokes and spinal cord and brain injuries, is named after her.

She had the female leads in the 1949 film version of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, the classic 1951 science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still and Elia Kazan's 1957 drama A Face in the Crowd.

She made a grand return to the screen after her strokes in 1968, winning an Oscar nomination for her performance in The Subject Was Roses.

In 1971, she played Olivia Walton in The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, a made-for-TV film that served as the pilot for the CBS series The Waltons. It brought her the first of her three Emmy nominations.

In 1953, she married writer Roald Dahl. They had five children, one of whom died from measles at the age of seven. Neal and Dahl divorced in 1983 after she learned he was having an affair with her best friend and he died in 1990.

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