Throughout history women have made their mark in a wide variety of ways. Each Saturday I plan to highlight one of these remarkable women. There will be no limit to the areas of history that I may include; however as a guide I will look to the month of their birth, the month of their death or the month associated with their mark in history when I select them. Is there an outstanding women in history you would like me to include? I welcome your suggestions. Would you like to guest blog one of the world’s outstanding women? Let me hear from you. You access all the previous postings of these remarkable women from the menu at the top of my site.
For today’s post, an outstanding woman from the world of entertainment and activism. Meet Joanne Woodward.
Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.
— Joanne Woodward
An activist is someone who makes an effort to see problems that are not being addressed and then makes an effort to make their voice heard. Sometimes there are so many things that it’s almost impossible to make your voice heard in every area, but you can sure try.
— Joanne Woodward
- Born on February 27, 1930 in Thomasville, Georgia,
- Her parents were Wade Woodward, Jr. and Elinor (née Trimmier). Her father had been vice president of the publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons.
- Joanne’s middle names, “Gignilliat Trimmier”, are of Huguenot origin (French Protestants.
Elinor Woodward loved the movies and this had a big influence on her daughter. Joanne was named after the actress Joan Crawford. Joanne is the Southern pronunciation of the name. As a child at the age of nine, Joanne attended the premiere of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta. She rushed into the parade of stars and sat on the lap of Laurence Olivier an actor she would later work with in 1977. On the set of the television production, Come Back, Little Sheba, Joanne mentioned the incident to Olivier and he remember.
In the second grade, the Woodwards relocated to Marietta, Georgia, where Joanne would later attend Marietta High School. She remains a booster of Marietta High and of that city’s Strand Theater. They moved once again when she was a junior in high school, after her parents divorced. She graduated from Greenville High School in 1947, in Greenville, South Carolina. While she was a teenager, Woodward won many beauty contests, appeared in theatrical productions at Greenville High and in Greenville’s Little Theatre. Woodward majored in drama at Louisiana State University, where she was an initiate of Chi Omega sorority, then headed to New York City to perform on the stage.
Woodward’s first film was a post-Civil War Western, Count Three and Pray, in 1955.
She continued to move between Hollywood and Broadway, eventually understudying in the New York production of Picnic, which featured Paul Newman. The two were married in 1958 after their work together in the film The Long, Hot Summer. (I love this movie including the television remake with Don Johnson).
By that time, Woodward had starred in The Three Faces of Eve (1957), for which she won the 1957 Academy Award for Best Actress.
Joanne Woodward met actor Paul Newman in 1953. They later reconnected on the set of The Long Hot Summer in 1957 and married on February 2, 1958, in Las Vegas. It was an exciting year for Joanne Woodward as not only did she marry the man she would be with until death parted them, on March 28 she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. The couple were married for 50 years before Paul Newman’s death from lung cancer on September 26, 2008.
Joann and Paul had three daughters: Elinor Teresa (1959), known on screen as Nell Potts and generally as Nell Newman, Melissa “Lissy” Stewart (1961), and Claire “Clea” Olivia Newman (1965). They also have two grandsons, by Lissy.
In 1990, Woodward graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with her daughter Clea. Newman delivered the commencement address, during which he said he dreamed that a woman had asked,
“How dare you accept this invitation to give the commencement address when you are merely hanging on to the coattails of the accomplishments of your wife?”
In 1988, Newman and Woodward established the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, named for the outlaws in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Located in Ashford, Connecticut, the camp provides services to 20,000 seriously ill children and families free of charge.
Woodward continues to live in Westport, Connecticut.