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Miriam Hopkins

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Cause of death  Heart Attack
Role  Film actress
Name  Miriam Hopkins

Years active  1928–1970
Occupation  Actress
Children  Michael Hopkins
Miriam Hopkins Miriam Hopkins 1933 by Everett

Full Name  Ellen Miriam Hopkins
Born  October 18, 1902 (1902-10-18) Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
Died  October 9, 1972, New York City, New York, United States
Spouse  Raymond B. Brock (m. 1945–1951)
Education  Syracuse University, Goddard College
Movies  Trouble in Paradise, Design for Living, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Old Maid, Becky Sharp
Similar People  Ernst Lubitsch, Rouben Mamoulian, William Wyler, Franchot Tone, Edmund Goulding

Tcm bette davis vs miriam hopkins 1of2 the old maid intro

Ellen Miriam Hopkins (October 18, 1902 – October 9, 1972) was an American film and TV actress known for her versatility. She first signed with Paramount in 1930, working with Ernst Lubitsch and Joel McCrea, among many others. Her long-running feud with Bette Davis was publicized for effect. Later she became a pioneer of TV drama. Hopkins was a distinguished Hollywood hostess, who moved in intellectual and creative circles.


Miriam Hopkins Miriam HopkinsAnnex

Movie Legends - Miriam Hopkins

Early life

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Hopkins was born in Savannah, Georgia to Homer Hopkins and Ellen Cutler and raised in Bainbridge, near the Alabama border. She had an older sister, Ruby (1900-1990). Her maternal great-grandfather, the fourth mayor of Bainbridge, helped establish St. John's Episcopal Church, in Bainbridge, where Hopkins sang in the choir.

Miriam Hopkins HOLLYWOODLAND Miriam Hopkins

In 1909, she briefly lived in Mexico. After her parents separated, she moved as a teen with her mother to Syracuse, New York, to be near her uncle, Thomas Cramer Hopkins, head of the Geology Department at Syracuse University.

Miriam Hopkins MIRIAM HOPKINS Sam Maronies Entertainment Funhouse

She attended Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vermont (which later became Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont) and Syracuse University (in New York). She became estranged from her father, and when in 1922 at the age of 19 she applied for a passport in preparation for a theatrical tour of South America, she listed his address as "unknown."


Miriam Hopkins HOLLYWOODLAND Miriam Hopkins

At age 20, Hopkins became a chorus girl in New York City. In 1930, she signed with Paramount Pictures, and made her official film debut in Fast and Loose. Her first great success was in the 1931 horror drama film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in which she portrayed the character Ivy Pearson, a prostitute who becomes entangled with Jekyll and Hyde. Hopkins received rave reviews, but because of the potential controversy of the film and her character, many of her scenes were cut before the official release, reducing her screen time to approximately five minutes.

Nevertheless, her career ascended swiftly thereafter and in 1932 she scored her breakthrough in Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise, where she proved her charm and wit as a beautiful and jealous pickpocket. During the pre-code Hollywood of the early 1930s, she appeared in The Smiling Lieutenant, The Story of Temple Drake and Design for Living, all of which were box office successes and critically acclaimed. Her pre-Code films were considered risqué at the time, with The Story of Temple Drake depicting a rape scene and Design for Living featuring a ménage à trois with Fredric March and Gary Cooper. She also had success during the remainder of the decade with the romantic comedy The Richest Girl in the World (1934), the historical drama Becky Sharp (1935), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, Barbary Coast (1935), These Three (1936) (the first of four films with director William Wyler) and The Old Maid (1939).

Hopkins was one of the first actresses approached to play the role of Ellie Andrews in It Happened One Night (1934). However, she rejected the part, and Claudette Colbert was cast instead. She did audition for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, having one advantage none of the other candidates had: she was a native Georgian. But the part went to Vivien Leigh. Interestingly, both Colbert and Leigh won Oscars for their performances.

Hopkins had well-publicized fights with her arch-enemy Bette Davis (Hopkins believed Davis was having an affair with Hopkins' husband at the time, Anatole Litvak), when they co-starred in their two films The Old Maid (1939) and Old Acquaintance (1943). Davis admitted to enjoying very much a scene in Old Acquaintance in which she shakes Hopkins forcefully during a scene where Hopkins' character makes unfounded allegations against Davis's. There were even press photos taken with both divas in a boxing ring with gloves up and director Vincent Sherman between the two. Davis described Hopkins as a "terribly good actress" but also "terribly jealous" in later interviews.

After Old Acquaintance, Hopkins did not work again in films until The Heiress (1949), where she played the lead character's aunt. In Mitchell Leisen's 1951's comedy The Mating Season, she gave a comic performance as Gene Tierney's character's mother. She also acted in The Children's Hour, which is the theatrical basis of her film These Three (1936). In the remake, she played the aunt to Shirley MacLaine, who took Hopkins' original role.

Hopkins was a television pioneer, performing in teleplays in three decades, spanning the late 1940s through the late 1960s, in such programs as The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre (1949), Pulitzer Prize Playhouse (1951), Lux Video Theatre (1951–1955), The Outer Limits (1964) and even an episode of The Flying Nun in 1969.

She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for motion pictures at 1701 Vine Street, and one for television at 1708 Vine Street.

Private life

Hopkins was married and divorced four times: first to actor Brandon Peters, second to aviator, screenwriter Austin Parker, third to the director Anatole Litvak, and fourth to war correspondent Raymond B. Brock. In 1932, Hopkins adopted a son, Michael T. Hopkins (March 29, 1932 – October 5, 2010).

She was known for hosting elegant parties. John O'Hara, a frequent guest, noted that

most of her guests were chosen from the world of the intellect...Miriam knew them all, had read their work, had listened to their music, had bought their paintings. They were not there because a secretary had given her a list of highbrows.

She was a staunch Democrat who strongly supported the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.


Hopkins died in New York City from a heart attack nine days before her 70th birthday. She is buried in Oak City Cemetery in Bainbridge, Georgia.


Short Subjects:

  • "The Home Girl" (1928)
  • "Hollywood on Parade No. B-1" (1933)
  • References

    Miriam Hopkins Wikipedia