Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born Frances Margaret Anderson-Anderson in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, Anderson began acting in Australia before moving to New York in 1918. She established herself as a dramatic actress of note making several appearance in the plays of William Shakespeare.
Preferring the stage, she did not appear in many films, and in Hollywood she was considered a character actress who was difficult to cast because of her striking features. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca. As the housekeeper Mrs Danvers, Anderson was required to mentally torment a young bride played by Joan Fontaine, even encouraging her to commit suicide and the character is widely considered to be one of the screen's most memorable female villains.
This led to several film appearances during the 40s in such films as Kings Row (1943), Laura (1944), The Diary of a Chambermaid and And Then There Were None (both 1946). She continued returning to the New York stage, playing the role of Lady Macbeth twice and winning a Tony Award in 1948 for her role in Medea.
Her stage and film work continued and by the 50s she was also appearing in television productions.
In her later years she played two more prominent roles in productions that took her as far away from her Shakespearean origins as possible. In 1984 she appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock as the Vulcan High Priestess, and the same year commenced a three year stint as matriarch Minx Lockridge on the popular soap opera Santa Barbara of which she had professed to be a fan.
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