glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 

   member name
  
   password
  
 
   
   Forgot Your Password?  
   
Not a Member Yet?  
   
JOIN TODAY. IT'S FREE!

 
  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy
  Copyright

 

 

 

 

 
arts

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Bookmark and Share
Moorehead, Agnes (1900-1974)  
 
page: 1  2  

Agnes Moorehead is probably best known for her role as Endora, the tart-tongued mother-in-law on the situation comedy Bewitched. When she took on that part, however, she had already had a long, varied, and distinguished acting carrer.

Sources often give the year of Moorehead's birth as 1906. Like many actresses of her era, she shaved a few years off her age in order to remain in contention for good parts. Agnes Robertson Moorehead was in fact born December 6, 1900 in Clinton, Massachusetts, where her father was serving as a Presbyterian minister. His pastoral assignments took the family to Hamilton, Ohio in 1904 and to St. Louis eight years later.

Sponsor Message.

Moorehead spent four years in the ballet and chorus of the St. Louis Municipal Opera Company. By the time that she graduated from high school she was considering a career on the stage. Her parents did not discourage her ambitions, but her father insisted that she receive a sound education first. She enrolled at Muskingum College, a Presbyterian school in New Concord, Ohio that had been founded by her uncle. She appeared in student plays there before graduating in 1923. She then continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin, from which she graduated with a master's degree in English and public speaking. While studying at Wisconsin she also worked as a high school English teacher and drama coach.

In 1926 Moorehead went to New York, where she auditioned successfully for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. While pursuing her course there she taught acting at a private school and appeared in several plays. She graduated from the Academy with honors in 1929.

The following June she married John Griffith Lee, who had been a fellow student at the Academy. Finding no success as an actor, Lee took over the management of the large Ohio farm that had been in Moorehead's family since her great-grandparents' day.

Moorehead, meanwhile, was embarking on a theatrical career. She toured with several companies, but when the Depression made opportunities scarce, she turned to radio. Her talents were much in demand. She was featured on many shows, sometimes as many as seven or eight in a day.

Among the most memorable of Moorehead's radio performances came in Sorry, Wrong Number (1943) on the Suspense program. In a role written especially for her by Lucille Fletcher, Moorehead portrayed a bedridden woman who is going to be murdered. She was severely disappointed when the lead role of the film version of the play went to Barbara Stanwyck.

Moorehead's radio work included several performances with Orson Welles. Beginning in 1937 she spent two years acting on the extremely popular program The Shadow, and she also had an uncredited bit part in Welles' classic War of the Worlds (1938).

Moorehead also participated with Welles in the Mercury Theatre Group, memorably appearing in a modern-dress production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in 1937. When the company moved to California in 1939 to work with RKO films Moorehead also traveled west and began her screen career.

Moorehead appeared in more than sixty films over three decades. She was nominated for the Academy Award for best supporting actress four times (1942, 1944, 1948, and 1964).

Morehead's first cinematic role was as Charles Foster Kane's mother in Welles' Citizen Kane (1941). Welles also directed her in her second film, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), for which she garnered her first Academy Award nomination and won the New York Film Critics award.

At the same time that Moorehead was appearing in films she made occasional returns to the stage, including a performance as Lady Macbeth in a 1947 production directed by Welles.

Moorehead's busy professional schedule kept her from spending much time with her husband, but fan magazines alluded to her eagerness to take every opportunity to return to Ohio and work beside him on the family farm. The stories are reminiscent of those that portrayed Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne as delighting in agrarian domesticity.

Moorehead divorced Lee in 1952. She complained that her husband--by then estranged--called her his "meal ticket."

The following year she married Robert Gist, who was some twenty years her junior. The union was short-lived. The couple separated in 1954 amidst charges by Moorehead that Gist had been unfaithful. They eventually divorced in 1958.

While Moorehead continued to appear in numerous films, she also had a successful turn as a director in a 1955 stage production of George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell. The play opened in San Francisco and then toured Canada and the Pacific Northwest to enthusiastic audience response.

    page: 1  2   next page>  
 
zoom in
Agnes Moorehead dressed in costume as a witch for the "Rapunzel" episode of the television show Shirley Temple's Storybook (1958).
  
 interact  
   
Contact Us
 
Join the Discussion
 
 find 
   
Related Entries
 
More Entries by this contributor
 
A Bibliography on this Topic

 
Citation Information
 
More Entries about The Arts
 
   
spacer
Popular Topics:

Literature

 
Williams, Tennessee
Williams, Tennessee


Literary Theory: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer


The Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance


Romantic Friendship: Female
Romantic Friendship: Female


Feminist Literary Theory


American Literature: Gay Male, 1900-1969
American Literature: Gay Male, 1900-1969


Erotica and Pornography
Erotica and Pornography


Mishima, Yukio
Mishima, Yukio


Sadomasochistic Literature


Beat Generation
Beat Generation

 
 


 

 

This Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.

www.glbtq.com is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.