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December 15, 2022

Geraldine Fitzgerald: One of Ireland’s Greatest Film Actors

Born 1913 in Greystones, County Wicklow, Irish actress Geraldine Fitzgerald began her acting career in 1932 at Dublin’s Gate Theatre. After two seasons in Dublin, she moved to London,  where she found success in British films including The Mill on the Floss, Turn of the Tide, and Cafe Mascot.

Fitzgerald’s success led her to New York and the Broadway stage in 1938. She made her American debut in the Mercury Theatre production of Heartbreak House, and had two significant successes in 1939: a role in the Bette Davis film Dark Victory, and an Academy Award nomination for her supporting performance as Isabella Linton in William Wyler’s Wuthering Heights.

Fitzgerald continued to work throughout the 1940s, but the quality of her roles began to diminish and her career lost momentum. The 1950s provided her with few opportunities in film, but during the 1960s, she asserted herself as a character actor and her career enjoyed a revival. Among her successful films of this period were Ten North Frederick (1958), The Pawnbroker (1964), Rachel, Rachel (1968), and The Mango Tree (1977), for which she received an Australian Film Institute Best Actress nomination.

Fitzgerald was a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame. She was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6353 Hollywood Boulevard, for her contributions to motion pictures in 1960. In 2020, she was listed at number 30 on The Irish Times list of Ireland’s greatest film actors.

Fitzgerald died at age 91 in New York City, following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Take a look at these beautiful photos to see portraits of young Geraldine Fitzgerald in the 1930s and 1940s.


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