Sylvia Sidney

Sylvia Sidney

Infobox actor

imagesize =
caption = from the trailer for "Fury" (1936)
birthdate = birth date|1910|8|8|mf=y
birthplace = Bronx, New York
deathdate = death date and age|1999|7|1|1910|8|8|mf=y
deathplace = New York, New York
birthname = Sophia Kosow
yearsactive = 1929-1998
spouse = Bennett Cerf (1935-1936)
Luther Adler (1938-1946)
Carlton Alsop (1947-1951)
goldenglobeawards = Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
1986 "An Early Frost"
awards = NBR Award for Best Supporting Actress
1973 "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams"
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress (film)
1988 "Beetlejuice"

Sylvia Sidney (August 8, 1910 - July 1, 1999) was an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning American actress.


Early life

Sidney, an only child, was born Sophia Kosow [ [ Sylvia Sidney, 30's Film Heroine, Dies at 88 - New York Times ] ] in The Bronx, New York, the daughter of Rebecca (née Saperstein), a Romanian Jew, and Victor Kosow, a Russian Jewish immigrant who worked as a clothing salesman. [ [ Sylvia Sidney Biography (1910-) ] ] [ [ The Guardian (06/Jul/1999) - Obituary: Sylvia Sidney :: Alfred Hitchcock DVD Wiki ] ] She was adopted by her stepfather, Sigmund Sidney, a dentist. [ [ Sylvia Sidney, 30's Film Heroine, Dies at 88 - New York Times ] ] Sidney became an actress at the age of fifteen as a way of overcoming shyness, using her stepfather's surname as her professional surname. As a student of the Theater Guild's School for Acting, Sidney appeared in several of their productions during the 1920s and earned praise from theater critics. In 1926, she was seen by a Hollywood talent scout and made her first film appearance later that year.


During the Depression, Sidney appeared in a string of films, often playing the girlfriend or the sister of a gangster. She appeared opposite such heavyweight screen idols as Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda, Joel McCrea, Fredric March, George Raft (a frequent screen partner), and Cary Grant. Among her films from this period were:"An American Tragedy", "City Streets" and "Street Scene" (all 1931), Alfred Hitchcock's "Sabotage" and Fritz Lang's "Fury" (both 1936), "You Only Live Once", "Dead End" (both 1937) and "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" which was shot in early Technicolor. Although Sidney had an arresting, slightly Eurasian face and a lovely figure, these assets were often obscured for the sake of the stark, gritty plots of her films.After what seemed to be a promising second phase of her career playing opposite the likes of James Cagney in films like "Blood on the Sun" (1945) with a considerably more glamorous screen persona, her career diminished somewhat during the 1940s. In 1952, she played the role of Fantine in "Les Misérables", and her performance was widely praised and allowed her opportunities to develop as a character actress. She received an Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams" (1973). During the filming of "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams", costar Joanne Woodward remarked how she and her husband, Paul Newman, had a difficult time remembering their anniversary date. Later, Sidney surprised Woodward with a gift of a handmade pillow with the inscription "Paul and Joanne" and their anniversary date.

As an elderly woman Sidney continued to play supporting screen roles, and was identifiable by her husky voice, the result of a lifetime cigarette smoking habit. She was the formidable Miss Coral in the film version of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" and later was cast as Aidan Quinn's grandmother in the television production of "An Early Frost" for which she won a Golden Globe Award. She played Aunt Marion in "" and had key roles in "Beetlejuice" (directed by longtime Sidney fan Tim Burton) and "Used People" (which co-starred Jessica Tandy, Marcello Mastroianni, Marcia Gay Harden, Kathy Bates and Shirley MacLaine). Her final role was in another film by Burton, "Mars Attacks!", in which she played a senile grandmother whose beloved Slim Whitman records stop an alien invasion from Mars when played over a loudspeaker.

On TV, she appeared as the imperious mother of Gordon Jump on the pilot episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati"; as the troubled grandmother of Melanie Mayron in the comedy-drama "Thirtysomething" and, finally, as the crotchety travel clerk on the short-lived late-1990s revival of "Fantasy Island" with Malcolm McDowell, Fyvush Finkel and Mädchen Amick.She also appeared in an episode of Dear John.

Sidney's Broadway theatre career spanned five decades, from her debut performance as a graduate of the Theatre Guild School in the June 1926 3-act fantasy "Prunella" ["Prunella Charming In Guild Youths' Hands" (New York Times, June 16, 1926 Pg. 23] to the Tennessee Williams play "Vieux Carré" in 1977. Additional credits include "The Fourposter", "Enter Laughing", and "Barefoot in the Park".

Personal life

Sidney was married three times, she married publisher Bennet Cerf on 1 October 1935, but the couple were divorced shortly after on April 9, 1936. She then was married to actor and acting teacher Luther Adler from 1938 until 1947, by whom she had a son, Jacob, who predeceased her, and a daughter, Jody, who was born on October 22, 1939. On March 5, 1947 she married radio producer and announcer Carlton Alsop. They were divorced on March 22, 1951. Sidney died from throat cancer in New York City at the age of 88, after a career spanning more than 70 years. She was cremated and her ashes were either given to a friend or family.

Sidney has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures at 6245 Hollywood Boulevard.


*"Thru Different Eyes" (1929)
*"Five Minutes from the Station" (1930)
*"City Streets" (1931)
*"Confessions of a Co-Ed" (1931)
*"An American Tragedy" (1931)
*"Street Scene" (1931)
*"Ladies of the Big House" (1931)
*"The Miracle Man" (1932)
*"Merrily We Go to Hell" (1932)
*"Make Me a Star" (Cameo, 1932)
*"Madame Butterfly" (1932)
*"Pick-up" (1933)
*"Jennie Gerhardt" (1933)
*"Good Dame" (1934)
*"Thirty Day Princess" (1934)
*"Behold My Wife" (1934)
*"Accent on Youth" (1935)
*"Mary Burns, Fugitive" (1935)
*"The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" (1936)
*"Fury" (1936)
*"Sabotage" (1936)
*"You Only Live Once" (1937)
*"Dead End" (1937)
*"You and Me" (1938)
*"One Third of a Nation" (1939)
*"The Wagons Roll at Night" (1941)
*"Blood on the Sun" (1945)
*"The Searching Wind" (1946)
*"Mr. Ace" (1946)
*"Love from a Stranger" (1947)
*"Les Misérables" (1952)
*"Violent Saturday" (1955)
*"Behind the High Wall" (1956)
*"Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams" (1973)
*"God Told Me To" (1976)
*"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" (1977)
*"" (1978)
*"Hammett" (1982)
*"Copkiller" (1983)
*"Beetlejuice" (1988)
*"Used People" (1992)
*"Mars Attacks!" (1996)


*"Cameo Theatre" (1 episode, 1952)
*"Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" (1 episode, 1952)
*"Tales of Tomorrow" (1 episode, 1952)
*"Lux Video Theatre" (2 episodes, 1952)
*"Broadway Television Theatre" (6 episodes, 1952-1953)
*"The Philco Television Playhouse" (1 episode, 1954)
*"Kraft Television Theatre" (2 episodes, 1953-1955)
*"The Ford Television Theatre" (2 episodes, 1953-1955)
*"Playwrights '56" (1 episode, 1955)
*"The 20th Century Fox Hour" (1 episode, 1955)
*"Celebrity Playhouse" (2 episodes, 1955-1956)
*"Climax!" (2 episodes, 1955-1957)
*"Kraft Television Theatre" (1 episode, 1957)
*"Playhouse 90" (3 episodes, 1957-1958)
*"General Electric Theater" (1 episode, 1960)
*"The DuPont Show with June Allyson" (1 episode, 1960)
*"Naked City" (1 episode, 1961)
*"The Defenders" (2 episodes, 1962)
*"The Eleventh Hour" (1 episode, 1963)
*"Route 66" (2 episodes, 1961-1964)
*"The Nurses" (1 episode, 1964)
*"My Three Sons" (1 episode, 1969)
*"Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate" (1971)
*"The Secret Night Caller" (1975)
*"Winner Take All" (1975)
*"Ryan's Hope" (3 episodes, 1975-1976)
*"Death at Love House" (1976)
*"Starsky and Hutch" (1 episode, 1976)
*"Raid on Entebbe" (1977)
*"Westside Medical" (1 episode, 1977)
*"Snowbeast" (1977)
*"Eight Is Enough" (2 episodes, 1977)
*"Siege" (1978)
*"WKRP in Cincinnati" (1 episode, 1978)
*"Kaz" (1 episode, 1978)
*"Supertrain" (1 episode, 1979)
*"California Fever" (1 episode, 1979)
*"The Gossip Columnist" (1980)
*"F.D.R.: The Last Year" (1980)
*"The Shadow Box" (1980)
*"The Love Boat" (1 episode, 1981)
*"A Small Killing" (1981)
*"Come Along with Me" (1982)
*"Having It All" (1982)
*"The Brass Ring" (1983)
*"Magnum, P.I." (1 episode, 1983)
*"Domestic Life" (1 episode, 1984)
*"Whiz Kids" (1 episode, 1984)
*"Trapper John, M.D." (1 episode, 1984)
*"Finnegan Begin Again" (1985)
*"An Early Frost" (1985)
*"Morningstar/Eveningstar" (Unknown episodes, 1986)
*"The Witching of Ben Wagner" (1987)
*"Pals" (1987)
*"Dear John" (1 episode, 1988)
*"The Equalizer" (1 episode, 1989)
*"Thirtysomething" (1 episode, 1989)
*"Andre's Mother" (1990)
*"Diagnosis Murder" (1 episode, 1993)
*"Fantasy Island (7 episodes, 1998)


*tcmdb name|id=177223|name=Sylvia Sidney
* [ Brief biography]

External links


###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
before=Faye Dunaway
for "Ellis Island"
for "An Early Frost"
after=Olivia de Havilland
for "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna"

NAME= Sidney, Sylvia
DATE OF BIRTH= August 8, 1910
PLACE OF BIRTH= Bronx, New York
DATE OF DEATH= July 1, 1999
PLACE OF DEATH= New York, New York

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Look at other dictionaries:

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