Turner Classic Movies is having a Jennifer Jones marathon tonight, likely brought on by her recent passing. if you haven't had a chance to see the lovely miss Jones in action, then tonight is your night. they'll be playing Indiscretion of an American Wife (1953), The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957), Beat the Devil (1953) and Madame Bovary (1949).
Jennifer Jones was born Phylis Lee Isley on March 1919 in Tulsa Oklahoma. in 1939, she married a fellow student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York city, and the couple moved to Hollywood to make it big. after two film roles as Phyllis Isley (now with two L's), Jones failed a Paramount screen test and returned to New York.
it was producer David Selznick who would sign Phylis to a seven year contract after seeing her read for a part in his play. he encouraged her to change her name to Jennifer and groomed her for stardom.
in 1944, on her 25th birthday, Jennifer won a best actress Oscar for her performance as St. Bernadette. that year, Jones' friend,Ingrid Bergman, was nominated for her work in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Jones apologized to Bergman, who replied, "No, Jennifer, your Bernadette was better than my Maria." Jones presented the best actress Oscar the following year to Bergman for Gaslight.
over the next two decades, Jones appeared in numerous and various roles selected by Selznick. the two had an affair which led to the disintegration of her first marriage, and she and Selnick were married in 1949. after his death in 1965, Jennifer semi-retired from the screen. it is reported that she attempted suicide in November 1967 by jumping off a cliff; she was hospitalized in a coma before eventually recovering. Jones' daughter, Mary committed suicide by jumping from a 20th-floor window on May 11, 1976. This led to Jones's interest in mental health issues. in 1971, Jones married multi-millionaire Norton Simon, whose son Robert had committed suicide in 1969. Norton died in 1993.
after beating breast cancer, Jones enjoyed a quiet retirement in Southern California. she died of natural causes at her home on December 17, 2009, aged 90.