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Gale Sondergaard

American actress

Gale Sondergaard is ...


Born 15 February 1899 in Litchfield
Died 14 August 1985 in Woodland Hills
Age 86 years, 6 months
Cause cerebrovascular disease

Sex or gender female
Country of citizenship United States of America
Manner of death natural causes
Spouse Herbert Biberman
Occupation actor, stage actor, television actor and film actor
Nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Awards Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress

About Gale Sondergaard

Gale Sondergaard was a trailblazing actress who defied Hollywood conventions and left an indelible mark on the industry. Born in Litchfield, Minnesota in 1899, Sondergaard initially pursued a career in opera before transitioning to acting in the 1930s.

Sondergaard quickly made a name for herself with her striking looks and commanding presence on screen. She was one of the first actresses to specialize in playing villainous roles, earning critical acclaim for her performances in films like "Anthony Adverse" (1936) and "The Letter" (1940).

Despite her success, Sondergaard was often at odds with the Hollywood establishment. She famously turned down the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) because she didn't want to be typecast as a villain. She also refused to sign a contract with Warner Bros. that would have required her to play only supporting roles.

Sondergaard's refusal to conform to Hollywood's expectations may have limited her opportunities, but it also cemented her status as a trailblazer. She was the first actress to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her role in "Anthony Adverse." She also received critical acclaim for her work on stage, earning a Tony nomination for her performance in "The Time of the Cuckoo" in 1953.

Sondergaard's career slowed down in the 1950s, but she continued to work in film and television until her death in 1985. She was a true original, a woman who refused to be boxed in by Hollywood's narrow definitions of what a leading lady should be.


- "Gale Sondergaard, 86, Dies; Won Oscar for 'Anthony Adverse'" - The New York Times

- "Gale Sondergaard: Hollywood's First Female Villain" -

- "Gale Sondergaard" - Turner Classic Movies

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