Patricia Neal has died
August 9, 2010 5:32 AM   Subscribe

Patricia Neal has died, aged 84. She was best known for her Oscar winning performance in Hud in 1963, in which she co-starred with Paul Newman.

Neal suffered a major stroke in 1965 and, at the insistence of her then husband Roald Dahl was put through an intensive rehabiliation program (so tough, she called him "Rotten Roald"). She went on to get a further Oscar nomination for The Subject was Roses and had a successful career in TV. The Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville, where she grew up, is named after her. After her stroke, Neal became a firm advocate for stroke and paralysis victims.

Coincidentally, Roald Dahl's biography, which deals with Neal's stroke and the death of their daughter Olivia, is being serialized at the moment (1, 2, 3,4, 5).
posted by MuffinMan (30 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite that as chud. i was so confused, thinking of this movie poster and trying to reconcile that with an oscar performance.
posted by andywolf at 5:47 AM on August 9, 2010

posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:16 AM on August 9, 2010

I just read that Telegraph article (Rotten Roald) yesterday afternoon; what a difficult life she and her husband led-- glamorous in some ways but filled with tragic struggles. She was an amazing woman-- tough, strong, beautiful, intelligent and creative. She is a great role model for stroke victims, mothers, and women everywhere. I say "is" because in the movies she lives forever.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:18 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Neal was also the last surviving member of the first group of Tony Award winners.
posted by cvp at 6:26 AM on August 9, 2010

I met her some years ago at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha (here she is in a photo I took, chatting with my friend, playwright Tim Siragua). She was about as feisty a woman as I have ever met, but very friendly for someone who seemed so cantankerous. We would have lunch on the lawn together. She gave a speech about her career at that point, and ended it by saying "Klaatu barada nikto," to the great appreciation of her audience.

"I enjoyed your speech very much," I told her the next day at lunch.

"Christ, honey, do you have any idea how often I've given that fucking speech?" she answered.

I only met her that once, for a few days, a half-decade ago, but she was great fun, and I'll miss her.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:29 AM on August 9, 2010 [10 favorites]

Even as a child, I admired Patricia Neal: her big grave face that so easily blossomed into brightness, her husky confiding voice, her striding walk in an era when so many actresses simpered or sashayed. And she was one of the main players in a great parable of our times.

When I read some biographies of Roald Dahl, I learned to admire Neal even more.

She was --- and is --- a strong presence in American drama. I'm so grateful to her.

posted by Elsa at 6:42 AM on August 9, 2010

As a kid, I remember seeing her at the supermarket on Martha's Vineyard a few times. I had no idea who she was - what I remember was the way my mother would quietly freak out.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:54 AM on August 9, 2010

I am a very stylish girl.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 7:11 AM on August 9, 2010

"Gort! Klaatu barada nikto." — Patricia Neal (1926-2010)

posted by gubo at 7:22 AM on August 9, 2010

Something about the idea that an actress should be best known only for her Oscar performances bothers me, especially since in this case it wasn't her best performance. What she's best known to me for are her amazing performances in "The Fountainhead," "The Day the Earth Stood Still," "A Face in the Crowd," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," etc. She commanded the screen, though, even in lesser performances. She played a head nurse on the front in the WWII melodrama "The Hasty Heart" and had understated charm and presence, whereas most of the other actors were there just to chew the scenery.

Rest in peace, Ms. Neal. I loved your work.
posted by blucevalo at 7:23 AM on August 9, 2010

This lady was pure class.

After reading what Astro Zombie wrote, I would say again, pure class. And then some.

posted by kinnakeet at 7:29 AM on August 9, 2010

Today I poured my morning cup of Maxwell House on the curb in her memory. RIP.
posted by davelog at 7:46 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by trip and a half at 7:47 AM on August 9, 2010

I always saw her as a very strong woman, her roles were not fluffy at all.
posted by NoraCharles at 7:50 AM on August 9, 2010

Condolences to her her family.
posted by pointystick at 7:51 AM on August 9, 2010

My personal favorite movie of hers is A Face In The Crowd, which seems as relevant now as it probably did in 1957. That said,

posted by lordrunningclam at 8:03 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I first misread this headline as "Neal Patrick Harris has died" and I was sad.

When I discovered my error and I was happy.

Then I realized who Patricia Neal was and I was sad again.
posted by TofuGolem at 8:18 AM on August 9, 2010

Parents of young children may want to avoid following that "Rotten Roald" link. Reading about the injury of her son and the death of her daughter just gave me a minor panic attack, ugh.
posted by Bardolph at 8:23 AM on August 9, 2010

I remember all Neal's major performances with admiration. The one that slayed me most as a youngun was her marvelous turn on Little House on the Prairie (YT, part one of several) as a dying single mother trying to find homes for her children.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:40 AM on August 9, 2010

Bless her soul, she was in my absolute favorite sci-fi movie of all time, and did a great job of it - the look on her face, in the elevator, when Klaatu reveals the purpose of the mission, just amazing. That's enough for me to honor her spirit.

posted by dbiedny at 8:51 AM on August 9, 2010

FelliniBlank, I remember watching that Little House episode as an adult (I didn't watch the show during its original run and just happened to catch a rerun) with tears streaming down my face at the same time Patricia's character was admonishing her children "don't you dare cry." RIP Ms. Neal.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:26 AM on August 9, 2010

posted by heatvision at 9:26 AM on August 9, 2010

Young women pretend a lot to be tough. Patricia Neal never had to pretend. I love Patirica Neal, she was just like my own Mom...tough and funny..they always called it as they saw it. Refreshingly honest. I miss them both. They don't make 'em like that anymore. Seriously. They don't.
posted by naplesyellow at 9:37 AM on August 9, 2010

Apparently Roald Dahl (who seemed like a difficult husband) said she was maybe one or two of the only honest people he's ever known.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 10:16 AM on August 9, 2010

Oddly, my first introduction to her was through a series of Anacin TV commercials in the early 1980s. I was so fascinated by her voice and presence that I was compelled to learn more about her and her career. Glad she was able to share her talent with the world!
posted by kuppajava at 10:20 AM on August 9, 2010

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posted by goshling at 4:36 AM on August 10, 2010

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