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Overview for Jeanette Nolan
Jeanette Nolan

Jeanette Nolan



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Also Known As: Died: June 5, 1998
Born: December 30, 1911 Cause of Death: complications from a stroke
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: Cast ... actor salesgirl


A veteran character actress, Jeanette Nolan capped her long career with a cameo appearance as the elderly mother of Tom Booker (played by Robert Redford) in "The Horse Whisperer" (1998), filmed in her adopted home state of Montana. The petite native of Los Angeles began her career as a teenager at the Pasadena Playhouse and by the time she was in college had begun appearing in radio dramas. Her debut was in one of the first transcontinental broadcasts, "Omar Khayyam" in 1932. Nolan went on to amass credits in such shows as "One Man's Family" and "Suspense." In the early 1930s she met and married fellow actor John McIntire; they moved to NYC in 1935 where each landed work on radio's "The March of Time." She and her husband purchased a ranch in Montana in 1937 where they spent much of their free time.

Nolan made an auspicious screen debut as Lady Macbeth to Orson Welles' "Macbeth" (1948) but the film was overshadowed by Olivier's "Hamlet" and Welles tinkered with his film, re-editing it and showing it around the country to mostly mixed reviews. (It took two years before "Macbeth" played NYC.) More recently, it has been re-evaluated and is considered a fine, although flawed, adaptation. Over the next 50 years, Nolan appeared in a number of films, often in supporting roles. She was the mother of Mickey Rooney' Lorenz Hart in the fictional biopic "Words and Music" (1948), teamed onscreen with her husband in the slightly maudlin "No Sad Songs for Me" (1950) and offered a strong turn as the widow of a suicidal cop in Fritz Lang's noir classic "The Big Heat" (1953). She later racked up credits in several Westerns, notably "Tribute to a Bad Man" and "Seventh Cavalry" (both 1956), as well as two for director John Ford, "Two Rode Together" (1961) and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962). As she aged, her film work slowed some. but Nolan found time to provide the vocals for two animated Disney films, creating Ellie Mae in "The Rescuers" (1977) and Widow Tweed in "The Fox and the Hound" (1981). McIntire and Nolan also played an elderly married couple in "Cloak and Dagger" (1984).

On TV, Nolan distinguished herself in a variety of roles, many in Westerns. She appeared in the first unsold pilot for "The Virginian" (NBC, 1958) before debuting as a series regular as the manager of a 19th Century Colorado rooming establishment in the CBS series "Hotel de Paree" (1959-60). Nolan was a regular player on the dramatic anthology "The Richard Boone Show" (NBC, 1963-64), garnering an Emmy nod for her lead role in the 1963 episode "Vote No on 11!." She created the role of Sally Fergus in a 1972 episode of "Gunsmoke" and later reprised it for the short-lived Western drama "Dirty Sally" (CBS, 1974), for which she earned her third Emmy nod. A fourth nomination came for her turn as Granny in the 1978 NBC miniseries "The Awakening Land." Nolan remained active into the late 80s, supporting Sally Field and William Hurt in the live NBC broadcast of "All the Way Home" (1981) and in episodes of such series as "The Golden Girls" (as the mother of Betty White's Rose) and "Cagney & Lacey" (as a woman accused of witchcraft). She died of complications from a stroke on June 5, 1998.

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