Patricia Neal, the Oscar-winning actress whose storied life was the subject of films, books and endless gossip, died yesterday in Martha's Vineyard at the age of 84.
Let's look back on the high and low points of her incredible career:
-she won a Tony at the first-ever broadcast of the award show in 1946
-played the lead in the 1949 adaptation of "The Fountainhead," which launched her to, at the time, semi-stardom. After an affair with co-star Gary Cooper, who was married and apparently demanded she get an abortion, Neal suffered a nervous breakdown. It's believed the surprising — at least for the time — press scrutiny of their relationship is at least partly to blame.
-she soon bounced back with The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Miracle Worker, Breakfast At Tiffany's and my personal favorite, A Face In The Crowd, lead by an unforgettable Andy Griffith.
-after Tiffany's, Neal starred alongside Paul Newman in Hud, another Hollywood classic and the one for which she was awarded a Best Actress Oscar.
-just two years later, she suffered a series of strokes that nearly ended her life and should have terminated her career. In fact, she was forced to turn down the Mrs. Robinson role in The Graduate because she wasn't sufficiently recovered. She also apparently lost out on the lead in "The Waltons" even after winning a Golden Globe for the pilot because producers feared she wouldn't be able to handle the pressure.
-Neal recovered from her breakup to marry children's author (and former porn writer) Roald Dahl, although they broke up in the 80s because of his affair with her best friend.
-HuffPo reports her as saying just a few years ago: "I don't quite understand it, but nobody calls me and nobody wants me. But I love to act." I last saw her in New York in 2008, when she and Budd Schulberg, who wrote On The Waterfront, screened A Face In The Crowd. The applause when her name was called was tremendous.