Gale Sondergaard

1899 - 1985

Sly, manipulative, dangerously cunning and sinister were the key words that best described the roles that Gale Sondergaard played in motion pictures, making her one of the most talented character actresses ever seen on the screen. She was educated at the University of Minnesota and later married director Herbert J. Biberman. Her husband went to find work in Hollywood and she reluctantly followed him there. Although she had extensive experience in stage work, she had no intention of becoming an actress in film. Her mind was changed after she was discovered by director Mervyn LeRoy, who offered her a key role in his film Anthony Adverse (1936); she accepted the part and was awarded the very first Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress. LeRoy originally cast her as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz (1939), but she felt she was not right for that role. Instead, she co-starred opposite Paul Muni in The Life of Emile Zola (1937), a film that won Best Picture in 1937. Sondergaard's most-

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