Sylvia Sidney was one of a kind. Author James Baldwin said of her, “She was the only American film actress who reminded me of reality.” Film historian John Springer called her the “finest emotional actress” of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Her work enhanced landmark films of the 1930s, yet it wasn’t until 1974 that Sidney received an Academy Award® nomination (Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams). Sidney was blunt and opinionated, offering salty assessments of her directors and co-stars. She had high praise for Spencer Tracy and James Cagney, but her opinion of Humphrey Bogart was less than enthusiastic.
A whole new generation of fans enjoyed Sidney’s about-turn in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988). Along with acting, her passion for pug dogs and needlepoint contributed to the fascinating persona that was Sylvia Sidney. Scott O’Brien had input from Sylvia Sidney’s co-stars and friends for this long overdue biography of one of cinema’s best. Three of O’Brien’s books have made the Huffington Post’s “Best Cinema Books of the Year.”