JENNIFER JONES BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Jennifer Jones was born on March 2nd, 1919 in Tulsa Oklahoma with the birth name Phylis Lee Isley. She was exposed to the performing arts at young age as both her parents, Phil and Flora Mae owned an acting troop that would tour small towns and perform plays. Due to her exposure to acting at such a young age, by the age of six, she had decided acting was something she wanted to pursue.
She would help out her parents selling tickets and refreshments and at school she would participate in the school plays. Her parents were financially successful in their business and her father used their money to purchase independent movie theaters that had sound. Young Phylis was exposed to movies on a daily basis and this just made her even more intrigued to pursue a career as an actress.
Upon completion of high school, she enrolled in an all girls college called, Monte Cassino. She continued to be involved in the school plays. Her father was so impressed with her interest in acting, he suggested she move to Los Angeles where he felt his contacts might land her a film job. However, she was more interested in working onstage and decided to attend North Western University in Evanston, Illinois. Upon the realization that her classes were not challenging enough for her, she went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York in 1937.
While at the Academy, she met a fellow student and actor, Robert Walker. The two became inseparable and soon together, they decided they could find work on their own in the entertainment industry and both quit studying at the Academy of Dramatic Arts.
However, they had a difficult time finding work and so both moved back to Tulsa, Oklahoma with Phylis's father who employed both of them on a thirteen week radio job. The couple were madly in love and on January 2nd, 1939, they decided to marry. They then decided with the encouragement of Phylis's father to move to Los Angeles. At first, it was hard to find work even with her dad's contacts, but luckily, Phylis got hired at a low budget studio called Republic.
Her first film role was on, "New Frontier" (1939) followed by a role on, "Dick Tracy's G-Men" (1939). She then decided she wanted to move back to New York. She asked Republic to cancel her contract and with some persuasion wit her fathers help, they let her leave.
Upon returning to New York, Phylis found out she was pregnant and on April 15th, 1940 she gave birth to a son, Robert Walker Jr. Phylis worked as a hat model and Robert did some radio work. Soon Phylis found out she was pregnant again and had another son, Michael Walker on March 17th, 1940.
After seeing a play in New York, Phylis became infatuated to get that role. She was notified that the same play was casting in Chicago but when she auditioned she was not chosen. However, she also had been told the play was being made into a film. She took the chance and auditioning for David O. Selznick, a producer and he immediately felt a connection to Phylis and saw the talent she possessed. He set up a screen test for her to audition for, "The Song of Bernadette" (1942) and the role was hers. The family relocated back to Los Angeles, California. Her husband also got work under a contract with MGM.
Their professional careers were at an all time high, but their personal life was suffering. Walker was very aware of how Selznick felt about his wife and it caused difficulties in their marriage. By 1943, the couple had separated. Their divorce was finalized in 1944 and Walker's professional and personal life suffered a tremendous downfall due to alcohol addiction.
Phylis's who was now given the stage name, Jennifer Jones, was not letting her career suffer and Selznick was making sure she took on all the right roles to keep her on top. The couple finally married on July 13th, 1949 and together they had a daughter, Mary Jennifer.
Entering into the 50's her career took another leap to stardom with her role on, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" (1955) and "Good Morning, Miss Dove" (1955). After filming, "Farewell to Arms" (1957), her popularity was declining and she received no decent roles for three years. When returning to the screen to work on, "Tender in the Night" (1961) things were no better as the film was poorly received.
On June 22nd, 1965 she lost her husband to a bad heart. She also became aware that his gambling problem had left them in quite a bit of a financial state, luckily she was able to sell off some of his films to pay off the debt on their estate.
She tried to go on with her career working on a film, "The Idol" (1966), however it was not a successful film. As her professional career progressed she took on various stage roles and random film roles, all of which were unsuccessful.
She began to donate her efforts towards helping others, in particular, an organization called the Manhattan Project which assisted youth addicted to drugs. She also met her second husband, Norton Simon while working with this organization and the two soon married. He encouraged her to get back into acting and she soon accepted a role on the film, "The Towering Inferno" (1974) which finally was a huge success and she even received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Sadly with her career now heading in the right direction, her personal life was suffering again. She lost her daughter, Mary after she committed suicide and then she also lost her father that same year.
To take her mind off of things, she started the Jennifer Jones Simon Foundation For Mental Health and Education in 1980. Her second husband, Simon soon fell ill to Guillain Varre syndrome and he passed away on June 1st, 1993.
She then for the most part left the entertainment industry making only a couple appearances as a presenter at the Golden Globes. She spent the last six years of her life living with her son, Robert Walker Jr. On December 17th, 2009 she passed away from natural causes.
1974 The Towering Inferno
1969 Angel, Angel, Down We Go
1966 The Idol
1962 Tender Is The Night
1957 The Barrets of Wimpole Street
1957 A Farewell To Arms
1956 The Man In The Grey Flannel Suit
1955 Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
1955 Good Morning Miss Dove
1954 Beat The Devil
1954 Indiscretion of an American Wife
1952 The Wild Heart
1952 Ruby Gentry
1949 Portrait of Jennie
1949 We Were Strangers
1949 Madame Bovary
1946 Cluny Brown
1946 Duel In The Sun
1945 Love Letters
1944 Since You Went Away
1943 The Song of Bernadette
1939 New Frontier
1939 Dick Tracy's G-Men