Gene Eliza Tierney was born on November 19, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. She was named after a beloved uncle who had died when he was young. The daughter of a wealthy insurance broker, Tierney grew up with a lavish lifestyle and was educated at the finest schools in Connecticut and Switzerland. She spoke French fluently.
She made her Broadway debut in 1938's Mrs. O'Brien Entertains. After several mostly forgettable pictures, her career took an upturn with 1943's Heaven Can Wait. The following year, she starred in the mystery classic Laura, which would prove to be the most memorable role of Tierney's career. In 1945 she received an Academy Award nomination for her role as femme fatale Ellen Berent in the Technicolor film noir Leave Her to Heaven. Three great roles in Dragonwyck, The Razor's Edge, and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir followed in 1946 and 1947.
Tierney's career slowed in the early 1950s and came to a stop in 1955. She suffered from bipolar disorder, attempted suicide, and was hospitalized a number of times, most notably at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. She received shock treatments and claimed they destroyed significant portions of her memory.
Tierney made a screen comeback in 1962's Advise & Consent, co-starring with Franchot Tone.
Tierney was married to Oleg Cassini from 1941 to 1952; they had two daughters, Daria (1943-2010), born with multiple birth defects due to Tierney's exposure to rubella while pregnant with her, and Christina, who died of ovarian cancer earlier this year. She was married Texas oil baron Howard Lee from 1960 until his death in 1981. The actress died of emphysema caused by her heavy smoking in 1991. Tierney had reportedly started smoking after a screening of her first movie to lower her voice, because she felt, "I sound like an angry Minnie Mouse."
My Gene Tierney Top 10
The films are in order by year of production.
|Gene Tierney in Heaven Can Wait|
Heaven Can Wait is a 1943 American comedy film produced and directed by Ernst Lubitsch. The film tells the story of a man who has to prove he belongs in Hell by telling his life story. It stars Gene Tierney, Don Ameche and Charles Coburn. The supporting cast includes Marjorie Main, Laird Cregar, Spring Byington, Allyn Joslyn, Eugene Pallette, Signe Hasso, Louis Calhern, Tod Andrews, and Clara Blandick.
|Gene Tierney in Laura|
Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb along with Vincent Price and Judith Anderson. Laura was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
|Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven|
Leave Her to Heaven is a 1945 American Technicolor film noir starring Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, with Vincent Price, Darryl Hickman, Ray Collins, and Chill Wills. The story (told in an extended flashback that constitutes the bulk of the film) revolves around a femme fatale who entraps a husband and commits several crimes motivated by her insane jealousy over everything concerning him. Tierney received an Oscar nomination as Best Actress.
|Gene Tierney in Dragonwyck|
Dragonwyck is a 1946 American period drama film made by Gene Tierney's home studio Twentieth Century-Fox. It was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and Ernst Lubitsch (uncredited) from a screenplay by Mankiewicz, based on the novel Dragonwyck by Anya Seton. The film stars Gene Tierney, Walter Huston and Vincent Price, with Glenn Langan, Anne Revere, Spring Byington, Harry Morgan and Jessica Tandy.
|Gene Tierney in The Razor's Edge|
The Razor's Edge is the first film version of W. Somerset Maugham's 1944 novel. It was released in 1946 and stars Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, Anne Baxter, Clifton Webb, and Herbert Marshall. The film was directed by Edmund Goulding. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, with Anne Baxter winning Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
|Gene Tierney in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir|
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a romantic fantasy film starring Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, and Edna Best. It is based on a 1945 novel written by Josephine Leslie under the pseudonym of R. A. Dick. It was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Fred Kohlmar. It received a 1947 Academy Award nomination for Cinematography.
|Gene Tierney in Whirlpool|
Whirlpool is a 1949 thriller film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. The film stars Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, José Ferrer and Charles Bickford, and features Constance Collier in her final film role. Tierney plays a woman tormented by her secret kleptomania.
|Gene Tierney in Night and the City|
Night and the City is a 1950 British film noir directed by Jules Dassin, produced by Samuel G. Engel, and starring Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney and Googie Withers. It is based on the novel of the same name by Gerald Kersh. Shot on location in London, the plot revolves around an ambitious hustler whose plans keep going wrong.
|Gene Tierney in Where the Sidewalk Ends|
Where the Sidewalk Ends is a 1950 American film noir directed and produced by Otto Preminger. The screenplay and adaptations were based on the novel Night Cry by William L. Stuart. The film stars Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney. It is considered a film noir classic. The brand of violence shown in the film, "lurking below urban society," is an important noir motif.
|Walter Pidgeon and Gene Tierney in Advise & Consent|
Advise & Consent is a 1962 American neo noir film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Allen Drury. The movie was produced and directed by Otto Preminger. The ensemble cast features Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, Don Murray, Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lawford, Gene Tierney, Franchot Tone, Lew Ayres, Burgess Meredith, Eddie Hodges, Paul Ford, George Grizzard, Inga Swenson, Betty White and others. Preminger was famous for pushing the envelope of the Hollywood Production Code and American morality in general. The open homosexual element of the film was understandably shocking for 1962.
TCM is showing the following Gene Tierney films on August 1, 2015: Never Let Me Go, Plymouth Adventure, The Egyptian, Black Widow, Whirlpool, Laura, The Razor's Edge, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Heaven Can Wait, Advise & Consent, Close to My Heart, and Toys in the Attic.