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Miriam Hopkins

miriam hopkins, miriam hopkins bette davis feud
Ellen Miriam Hopkins October 18, 1902 – October 9, 1972 was an American film and TV actress known for her versatility1 She first signed with Paramount in 1930, working with Ernst Lubitsch and Joel McCrea, among many others Her long-running feud with Bette Davis was publicized for effect Later she became a pioneer of TV drama Hopkins was a distinguished Hollywood hostess, who moved in intellectual and creative circles


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Private life
  • 4 Death
  • 5 Filmography
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early lifeedit

Hopkins was born in Savannah, Georgia to Homer Hopkins and Ellen Cutler2 and raised in Bainbridge, near the Alabama border She had an older sister, Ruby3 Her maternal great-grandfather, the fourth mayor of Bainbridge, helped establish St John's Episcopal Church, in Bainbridge,4 where Hopkins sang in the choir5

In 1909, she briefly lived in Mexico After her parents separated, she moved as a teen with her mother to Syracuse, New York, to be near her uncle, Thomas Cramer Hopkins, head of the Geology Department at Syracuse University6

She attended Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vermont which later became Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont and Syracuse University in New York6 She became estranged from her father, and when in 1922 at the age of 19 she applied for a passport in preparation for a theatrical tour of South America, she listed his address as "unknown"7


At age 20, Hopkins became a chorus girl in New York City In 1930, she signed with Paramount Pictures, and made her official film debut in Fast and Loose Her first great success was in the 1931 horror drama film Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in which she portrayed the character Ivy Pearson, a prostitute who becomes entangled with Jekyll and Hyde Hopkins received rave reviews, but because of the potential controversy of the film and her character, many of her scenes were cut before the official release, reducing her screen time to approximately five minutes8

Nevertheless, her career ascended swiftly thereafter and in 1932 she scored her breakthrough in Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise, where she proved her charm and wit as a beautiful and jealous pickpocket During the pre-code Hollywood of the early 1930s, she appeared in The Smiling Lieutenant, The Story of Temple Drake and Design for Living, all of which were box office successes and critically acclaimed9 Her pre-Code films were considered risqué even at that time, with The Story of Temple Drake depicting a rape scene and Design for Living featuring a ménage à trois with Fredric March and Gary Cooper She also had success during the remainder of the decade with the romantic screwball comedy The Richest Girl in the World 1934, the historical drama Becky Sharp 1935, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, Barbary Coast 1935, These Three 1936 the first of four films with director William Wyler and The Old Maid 1939citation needed

Hopkins was one of the first actresses approached to play the role of Ellie Andrews in It Happened One Night 1934 However, she rejected the part10 She did audition for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, having one advantage none of the other candidates had: she was a native Georgian But the part went to Vivien Leigh

Hopkins had well-publicized fights with her arch-enemy Bette Davis Hopkins believed Davis was having an affair with Hopkins' husband at the time, Anatole Litvak, when they co-starred in their two films The Old Maid 1939 and Old Acquaintance 194311 Davis admitted to enjoying very much a scene in Old Acquaintance in which she shakes Hopkins forcefully during a scene where Hopkins' character makes unfounded allegations against Davis's There were even press photos taken with both divas in a boxing ring with gloves up and director Vincent Sherman between the two Davis described Hopkins as a "terribly good actress" but also "terribly jealous" in later interviews

Hopkins and Herbert Marshall in a publicity photo for Trouble in Paradise 1932

After Old Acquaintance, Hopkins did not work again in films until The Heiress 1949, where she played the lead character's aunt In Mitchell Leisen's 1951's comedy The Mating Season, she gave a comic performance as Gene Tierney's character's mother She also acted in The Children's Hour, which is the theatrical basis of her film These Three 1936 In the remake, she played the aunt to Shirley MacLaine, who took Hopkins' original rolecitation needed

Hopkins was a television pioneer, performing in teleplays in three decades, spanning the late 1940s through the late 1960s, in such programs as The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre 1949, Pulitzer Prize Playhouse 1951, Lux Video Theatre 1951–1955, The Outer Limits 1964 and even an episode of The Flying Nun in 1969

She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for motion pictures at 1701 Vine Street, and one for television at 1708 Vine Street

Private lifeedit

Hopkins was married and divorced four times: first to actor Brandon Peters, second to aviator, screenwriter Austin Parker, third to the director Anatole Litvak, and fourth to war correspondent Raymond B Brock In 1932, Hopkins adopted a son, Michael T Hopkins March 29, 1932 – October 5, 2010

She was known for hosting elegant parties John O'Hara, a frequent guest, noted that

most of her guests were chosen from the world of the intellectMiriam knew them all, had read their work, had listened to their music, had bought their paintings They were not there because a secretary had given her a list of highbrows12

She was a staunch Democrat who strongly supported the presidency of Franklin D Roosevelt13


Hopkins died in New York City from a heart attack nine days before her 70th birthday She is buried in Oak City Cemetery in Bainbridge, Georgia


Year Title Role Notes
1930 Fast and Loose Marion Lenox Hopkins's film debut
1931 Smiling Lieutenant, TheThe Smiling Lieutenant Princess Anna The first of three films Hopkins made with Lubitsch
1931 24 Hours Rosie Duggan
1931 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Ivy Pearson
1932 Two Kinds of Women Emma Krull
1932 Dancers in the Dark Gloria Bishop
1932 The World and the Flesh Maria Yaskaya
1932 Trouble in Paradise Lily Second film directed by Lubitsch and starring Hopkins
1933 Story of Temple Drake, TheThe Story of Temple Drake Temple Drake
1933 Stranger's Return, TheThe Stranger's Return Louise Starr
1933 Design for Living Gilda Farrell Third and final film Hopkins and Lubitsch made together
1934 All of Me Lydia Darrow
1934 She Loves Me Not Curly Flagg
1934 Richest Girl in the World, TheThe Richest Girl in the World Dorothy Hunter First of five films Hopkins and McCrea made together
1935 Becky Sharp Becky Sharp Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
The first feature film made in the three strip Technicolor process
1935 Barbary Coast Mary 'Swan' Rutledge Second film starring Hopkins and McCrea
1935 Splendor Phyllis Manning Lorrimore Third film starring Hopkins and McCrea
1936 These Three Martha Dobie The film was adapted from the 1934 play The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman
Fourth film starring Hopkins and McCrea
1936 Men Are Not Gods Ann Williams
1937 Woman I Love, TheThe Woman I Love Madame Helene Maury Hopkins married director Anatole Litvak shortly after this film was made
It is the only film Hopkins made with Paul Muni
1937 Woman Chases Man Virginia Travis Final film Hopkins and McCrea made together
1937 Wise Girl Susan 'Susie' Fletcher
1939 Old Maid, TheThe Old Maid Delia Lovell Ralston The first of two films Hopkins made with Bette Davis
1940 Virginia City Julia Hayne Hopkins co-starred with Errol Flynn
1940 Lady with Red Hair Mrs Leslie Carter
1942 Gentleman After Dark, AA Gentleman After Dark Flo Melton
1943 Old Acquaintance Millie Drake Second of two films Hopkins made with Bette Davis
1949 Heiress, TheThe Heiress Lavinia Penniman Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1951 Mating Season, TheThe Mating Season Fran Carleton
1952 The Outcasts of Poker Flat Mrs Shipton/'The Duchess'
1952 Carrie Julie Hurstwood
1961 Children's Hour, TheThe Children's Hour Lily Mortar Hopkins had starred in the original film adaptation of the play The Children's Hour entitled These Three in the role of Martha Dobie In this film Shirley MacLaine played Martha and Miriam Hopkins played her Aunt Lily
1964 Fanny Hill Mrs Maude Brown
1966 Chase, TheThe Chase Mrs Reeves Hopkins played the mother of Robert Redford's character
1970 Savage Intruder Katharine Parker Hopkins's last film

Short Subjects:

  • "The Home Girl" 1928
  • "Hollywood on Parade No B-1" 1933


  1. ^ Obituary Variety, October 11, 1972, p 71
  2. ^ Virginia, Marriage Records 1936-2014
  3. ^ 1910 United States Federal Census
  4. ^ http://wwwepiscopalchurchorg/parish/st-johns-episcopal-church-bainbridge-ga
  5. ^ "Miriam Hopkins 1902-1972" Georgiaencyclopediaorg August 28, 2013 Retrieved October 17, 2015 
  6. ^ a b Profile, archivessyredu; accessed June 27, 2015
  7. ^ Ancestrycom US Passports Applications, 1795-1925, "Meriam Hopkins, Passport Issue Date 30 January 1922"
  8. ^ Profile, allanellenbergercom; accessed June 27, 2015
  9. ^ Profile, imdbcom; accessed June 27, 2015
  10. ^ Wiley, Mason; Damien Bona 1987 Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards Ballantine Books p 54 ISBN 0-345-34453-7 
  11. ^ Soares, Andre December 3, 2006 "Miriam Hopkins Biography in the Works" Alternative Film Guide 
  12. ^ "TimesMachine" Timesmachinenytimescom Retrieved October 17, 2015 
  13. ^ Michael Janeway August 22, 2009 The Fall of the House of Roosevelt: Brokers of Ideas and Power from FDR to LBJ Booksgooglecom Retrieved October 17, 2015 

External linksedit

  • Miriam Hopkins on Internet Movie Database
  • Miriam Hopkins at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Miriam Hopkins at Find a Grave
  • Photographs of Miriam Hopkins
  • Miriam Hopkins Interview with Biographer Allan Ellenberger

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