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Patricia Neal


Patricia Neal was an American actress.


NEAL, Patricia was born on January 20, 1926 in Packard, Kentucky, United States of America. Daughter of William Burdette Neal and Eura Mildred Petrey.


Student, Northwestern University, 1945. Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), Simmons College, Rockford College, University Massachusetts, Northwestern University.


She was a model before working in summer stock and making her Broadway debut in 1946 in The Voice of the Turile. Her film debut was in John Loves Mary (49, David Butler) and she was outstanding in King Vidors The Fountainhead (49), entering without hesitation into that unique film’s study of elemental creative power and being effectively wooed by Gary Cooper and a pneumatic drill.

But in the next few years she failed to establish herself as a major screen actress, perhaps by choice: The Hasty Heart (49, Vincent Sherman); Bright Leaf (50, Michael Curtiz); Three Secrets (50, Robert Wise); The Breaking Point (50, Curtiz); The Day the Eaiih Stood Still (51, Wise); Weekend with Father (51, Douglas Sirk); Operation Pacific (51, George Waggner); Canyon Pass (51, Edwin L. Marin); Washington Story (52, Robert Pirosh); Diplomatic Courier (52, Henry Hathaway); Something for the Birds (52, Wise); Immediate Disaster (54, Burt Balaban), a 16mm produetion; and Stranger from Venus (54, Balaban).

Having married the writer Roald Dahl, she made only a few, carefully selected films: Kazans A Face in the Crowd (57); Blake Edwards’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (61); as the long-suffering housekeeper in Martin Ritt’s Hud (63), for which she won the best actress Oscar. But after Alexander Singer’s Psyche 59 (64) and Preminger’s In Harm's Way (65), she suffered a debilitating stroke. Her recovery from paralysis has been extraordinary and she has since made The Subject Was Roses (68, Ulu Grosbard); Baxter! (72, Lionel Jeffries); Happy Mother’s Day . . . Love George (73, Darren McGavin); B. Must Die (73, Jose Luis Borau); The Passage (78, J. Lee Thompson); All Quiet on the Western Front (79, Delbert Mann); and Ghost Story (81, John Irvin).

In 1981, her recovery from the stroke was filmed as The Patricia Neal Story (Anthony Harvey and Anthony Page)—with Glenda Jackson playing her and Dirk Bogarde as Dahl. Since then, she has acted in Shattered Vows (84, Jack Bender); Love Leads the Way (84, Mann); Caroline? (90, Joseph Sargent); as Shelley Winters’s sister in An Unremarkable Life (89, Amin Q. Ghaudhri).

Since then she has been in A Mother's Plight: The Elizabeth Morgan Story (92, Linda Otto); Heidi (93, Michael Rav Rhodes); Cookie’s Fortune (99, Robert Altman); For the Love of May (00, Mar)' McDonough and Marv Beth McDonough).



Committee member International Help for Children, England. Honorary board directors National Foundation Encephalitis Research. Member Washington Speakers Bureau, 1978.

Founder Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center. Member Actors Studio, Pi Beta Phi, Phi Beta.


She was a blonde, yet she had a dark look. Her voice was grownup, drawling, but a little harsh—all beyond her years. She had something new, and Gaiy Cooper was shaken by it. He and Neal had an intense affair that nearly unhinged his marriage.


  • Other Interests

    Needlepoint, gardening, cooking.


Married Roald Dahl, July 2, 1953 (divorced 1983). Children: Olivia Twenty (deceased 1962), Tessa Sophia, Theo Mathew Roald, Ophelia Magdalene, Lucy Neal.

William Burdette Neal

Eura Mildred Petrey

Roald Dahl