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Joanne Woodward: About

Joanne Woodward

Longtime Westport Resident and Former Artistic Director of The Westport Country Playhouse


Who was Joanne Woodward?

Joanne Woodward is an award-winning American actress best known for her roles in The Three Faces of Eve (1957), Rachel Rachel (1968) and Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973). Woodward is the widow of actor Paul Newman.

Joanne Woodward is an American actress born on February 27, 1930 in Thomasville, Georgia. Woodward made her first TV appearance in 1952 and worked in theatre, where she met future husband, Paul Newman. Woodward won a Best Actress Academy Award for The Three Faces of Eve (1957), and then co-starred with her husband in a string of films over the next few decades. Emmy Awards wins included See How She Runs (1978) and Do You Remember Love? (1985). Woodward continued to collaborate with Paul Newman until his death in 2008.

During her long career, she has excelled at playing a broad range of roles, from a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder to a stripper to a spinster schoolteacher.

In her early years, Woodward won several beauty pageants, but her true passion was acting.  When her father got a job with a publishing company, she moved with her family to New York City. There Woodward pursued a career in acting. She studied at the Actor’s Studio and the Neighborhood Playhouse.

In 1952, Woodward made her first television appearance on an episode of Robert Montgomery Presents entitled "Penny." She tried out for roles on the stage, becoming an understudy during the run of the William Inge's comedy Picnic in the early 1950s. There she met her future husband Paul Newman.  

Woodward continued to act on television, appearing in such shows as Philco Playhouse and Studio One. Soon signed by Twentieth Century-Fox, she made her film debut in Count Three and Pray (1955). Woodward played a strong-willed orphan in this dramatic western. For her next role, she starred in A Kiss Before Dying (1956) as an heiress who is pursued by a college student (Robert Wagner) who will stop at nothing to win her over. 

The following year, Woodward astounded audiences and critics alike with her stellar performance in The Three Faces of Eve (1957). She portrayed a woman with three distinct personalities — a southern housewife, a vixen, and a normal young woman — and gave each their own unique voices and gestures. For her work on the film, Woodward won an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Around this time, Woodward was engaged in a relationship with actor Paul Newman. In addition to building a life together off-screen, the couple starred in their first of many collaborations that year. Continue reading from Biography

From our Collection

Link to The Fugitive Kind (DVD) in the catalog
Link to The Glass Menagerie [DVD] in Hoopla
Link to Laurence Olivier presents [DVD] in the catalog
Link to Long, Hot Summer (DVD) in the catalog
Link to My Knees were Jumping Remembering the Kindertransports [DVD] in the catalog
Link to A New Kind of Love [DVD] in the catalog
Link to Philadelphia [DVD] in the catalog
Link to Rachel, Rachel [DVD] in the catalog
Link to Sybil [DVD] in the catalog
Link to The Three faces of Eve (DVD) in the catalog

Link to Revolutionary Biographies Resource Guide Series