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Date Posted: Friday, August 03, 01:19:20pm
Ida Lupino; Actress, TV And Film Director
FROM: The Los Angeles Times (August 5th 1995) ~
By Myrna Oliver, Staff Writer
Ida Lupino, British-born actress who gave up a lucrative
film contract to become one of Hollywood's first major women
producers and directors, has died. She was 77.
Miss Lupino, who had been battling colon cancer, died
Thursday night at her Burbank Rancho home of complications
from a stroke, her conservator and business manager, Mary
Ann Anderson, said late Friday.
A popular film star in the 1930s and 1940s, Miss Lupino
deprecated her own acting accomplishments, once declaring
herself "a poor man's Bette Davis."
Always spunky and independent, the diminutive actress boldly
walked out on a $1,700-a-week contract in 1937 because she
was fed up with lightweight ingenue parts. The move put her
out of work for a while, but eventually landed her
significant and successful roles as the cockney harridan
model in "The Light That Failed" in 1939, the domineering
sister in "The Hard Way" in 1942, for which she won a Best
Actress award from the New York Film Critics, and as Emily
Bronte in "Devotion" in 1946.
Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper credited Miss Lupino with
combining "three little words -- talent, nerve and
courage -- to spell success."
Miss Lupino abandoned another lucrative acting contract in
the early 1950s to produce, write and direct, and within a
few years became a much-sought-after director in television
She directed episodes of such famed television series as
"Have Gun, Will Travel," "77 Sunset Strip" and "G.E.
She also directed several low-budget, high-voltage films
that were box office successes. Her favorite directing
project was the 1966 film "The Trouble With Angels,"
starring Rosalind Russell.
Miss Lupino returned to acting, including a 1957-58
television series with her third husband, the late actor
Howard Duff, called "Mr. Adams and Eve," loosely patterned
on their own experiences as married actors.
Her last acting appearance was in a 1976 episode of
"Charlie's Angels," titled prophetically "I Will Be
Miss Lupino made it clear she preferred her work behind the
cameras to that in front, telling a Times columnist in 1960
when he lamented the absence of her acting: "Darling, I
loathe acting. Darling, I have been acting all my life. Let
me direct. It's so much more fun. Creating it yourself, not
just parading in front of a camera."
Born Feb. 4, 1918, in London, Miss Lupino was the daughter
of British comedian Stanley Lupino and actress Connie
Emerald, and she was a descendant of a theatrical family
dating back to the 17th Century.
She made her film debut at 15 in "Her First Affaire" after
she accompanied her mother to an audition but attracted the
director's eye and won the role herself.
After appearing in a number of other British films, Miss
Lupino was summoned to Hollywood by Paramount in 1934 as a
candidate for "Alice in Wonderland." With her own ideas of
Hollywood glamour, the teen-ager bleached her hair and
applied a lot of makeup -- and lost the Alice role.
"I thought it would be most impressive if I copied the top
stars. One week I would try to look like Dietrich by
penciling my eyebrows way up on my forehead and the next I
would copy Colbert and cut bangs. Oh, I was all over the
place doing things with makeup and changing the color of my
hair," she recalled later. "I finally took Hedda's advice --
stopped doing ridiculous things with myself and concentrated
on developing my talent."
She was cast as a brainless blond glamour girl in a series
of forgettable pictures, with a couple of notable exceptions
such as "Anything Goes" opposite Bing Crosby in 1936 and
"Artists and Models" with Jack Benny in 1937.
Miss Lupino's favorite acting roles, Anderson recalled
Friday, were in "Ladies in Retirement" in 1941 and "Road
House" in 1948. Her least favorite -- in fact she hated
it -- was in "The Devil's Rain" in 1975, John Travolta's
Miss Lupino married and divorced three times -- actor Louis
Hayward, Columbia executive Collier Young and Duff, whom she
separated from in 1972 and divorced in 1983.
In addition to their television series, Miss Lupino appeared
in several movies with Duff.
She is survived by their daughter, Bridget Duff of Burbank,
and a sister, Rita Lupino of Beverly Hills.
No public memorial service is planned.
"If you give me a funeral," Anderson quoted Miss Lupino as
saying, "I won't go."
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