Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Old Westbury, New York, Straight was educated in England where she began acting in amateur theater. Returning to the United States she made her Broadway debut in a 1935 production of Bitter Oleander . She concentrated her attentions on her theater work, winning a Tony Award for her role as Elizabeth Proctor in the 1953 production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
She worked infrequently in television and cinema, and is remembered by film goers for two roles. As the devastated wife, confronted by her husband William Holden's infidelity in Network (1976), Straight was onscreen for a little more than 5 minutes, however her performance was widely praised, and earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Further film and television roles, such as the mother of Lynda Carter in the Wonder Woman series, did nothing to enhance her film career. She played the role of the paranormal investigator, Dr Lesh in the film Poltergeist (1982), the most widely seen role of her film career.
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