She received eight Academy Award nominations despite her relatively short filmography. She finally won the Oscar in 1986 for her performance in The Trip to Bountiful.
Summer and Smoke
Toys in the Attic
You’re a Big Boy Now
The Three Sisters
The Happiest Millionaire
What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?
Pete ‘n’ Tillie
Happy as the Grass Was Green
The Day of the Locust
Honky Tonk Freeway
I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can
The Pope of Greenwich Village
Walls of Glass
The Trip to Bountiful
My Little Girl
Riders to the Sea
Geraldine Page was nominated for a total of 8 Academy Awards.
Four for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
- Hondo (1953)
- You’re a Big Boy Now (1966)
- Pete ‘n’ Tillie (1972)
- The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984)
Four for Best Actress in a Leading Role and won one
- Summer and Smoke (1961)
- Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)
- Interiors (1978)
- The Trip to Bountiful (1985) – WON
If I read a part and think I can connect to it, that I can touch people with it, I will do it, no matter what its size. And if I think I can’t do something with a part, I won’t take it. ~ Geraldine Page
Geraldine Sue Page was born November 22, 1924 in Kirksville, Missouri. She was the daughter of Edna Pearl (née Maize) and Leon Elwin Page. She had a younger brother, Frederick.
After graduating from Chicago’s Englewood Technical Prep Academy in Chicago, Illinois, she attended the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago (later renamed The Theatre School at DePaul University) in Chicago and later studied acting with Uta Hagen in New York City.
Page was a trained method actor and worked closely with Lee Strasberg. She began appearing in stock theatre at age 17. Her appearance as Alma in the 1952 production of Summer and Smoke, written by Tennessee Williams and staged at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York City’s Greenwich Village, was legendary.
Her work continued on Broadway as the spinster in the 1954–1955 production of The Rainmaker, written by N. Richard Nash; and as the frustrated wife whose husband becomes romantically obsessed with a young Arab, played by James Dean, in the 1954 production of The Immoralist, written by Augustus Goetz and Ruth Goetz and based on the novel of the same name (1902) by André Gide.
She earned critical accolades for her performance in the 1959 production of Williams’s Sweet Bird of Youth opposite Paul Newman. She originated the role of a larger-than-life, addicted, sexually voracious Hollywood legend trying to extinguish her fears about her career with a young hustler named Chance Wayne, played by Newman. For her performance, Page received her first nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, as well as the Sarah Siddons Award for her performance in Chicago. She and Newman later starred in the film adaptation of the same name (1962) and Page earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for the film.
In 1963, Page starred in Toys in the Attic, based on Lillian Hellman’s play of the same name, and garnered a Golden Globe nomination. She received another nomination the following year starring in Delbert Mann’s Dear Heart as a self-sufficient but lonely postmistress visiting New York City for a convention, finding love with a greeting card salesman.
In 1969, Page appeared opposite Ruth Gordon in What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?, the third and final film in the Robert Aldrich-produced trilogy which followed What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). The film is based on the novel The Forbidden Garden from Ursula Curtiss and features Page as Claire Marrable, a recently widowed socialite, who, upon discovering that her husband has left her virtually nothing, hires a number of unsuspecting housekeepers whom she murders one by one and robs them of their life savings in order to keep up her extravagant lifestyle. However, her latest hire (Gordon) is determined to discover the whereabouts of one of the previous housekeepers.
She has also appeared in roles such as a repressed schoolmistress in the Clint Eastwood film The Beguiled; a charismatic evangelist (modeled after Aimee Semple McPherson) in The Day of the Locust; a nun, Sister Walburga, in Nasty Habits; and as “Aunt Beverly” in Harry’s War. Her final film was the 1987 Mary Stuart Masterson film My Little Girl, which featured the film debut of Jennifer Lopez. She also was a voice actress and voiced the villainous Madame Medusa in the Disney animated film The Rescuers.
In all, despite her relatively small filmography, Page received eight Academy Award nominations. She finally won the Oscar in 1986 for her performance in The Trip to Bountiful, which was based on a play by Horton Foote.
Her other notable screen roles included Academy Award-nominated performances in Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke, Sweet Bird of Youth, You’re a Big Boy Now, Pete ‘n’ Tillie, Woody Allen’s Interiors and The Pope of Greenwich Village.
She performed in various television shows in the 1950s through the 1980s, including movies and series, such as Hawaii Five-O, Kojak, and several episodes of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, including “The Sins of the Fathers” and “Something in the Woodwork”.
Page was married to violinist Alexander Schneider from 1954 to 1957. On September 8, 1963, she married actor Rip Torn, who was six years her junior, in Pinal, Arizona. They remained married until her death. Page bore him three children, a daughter (actress Angelica Page) and twin sons, actor Tony Torn, and John Torn.
Page, who suffered from kidney disease, died of a heart attack in 1987 during a run on Broadway in Sir Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Neil Simon Theatre. She did not arrive for either of the show’s two June 13 performances; at the end of the evening performance, the play’s producer announced that she had died at the age of 62.