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Anne Baxter

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Baxter and Connie Marshall in SUNDAY DINNER FOR A SOLDIER

A still with Connie Marshall from SUNDAY DINNER FOR A SOLDIER (1944), one of three homefront dramas Baxter made in 1944 which helped to refine her star status.  The story of a poor Florida family who invites a soldier (John Hodiak) over for lunch, the film's sentiment was well-received at the time.

Baxter with John Payne in THE RAZOR'S EDGE

Finally in 1946, Baxter was cast as Sophie MacDonald, a young woman who lapses into depression and addiction after her husband and young baby are killed in a car accident, in Fox's adaptation of Somerset Maugham's THE RAZOR'S EDGE.  She effectively stole the picture from headliners Gene Tierney and Tyrone Power, as well as noted supporting actors Herbert Marshall and Clifton Webb.  At right is a still from the scene in which friend Gray Maturin (John Payne) breaks the bad news to Sophie.

Baxter and Tyrone Power in THE RAZOR'S EDGE

Baxter's performance in THE RAZOR'S EDGE (1946) earned her an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress, and marked a newfound maturity in her career.  She had finally outgrown juvenile roles.  Also significant about the part of Sophie MacDonald was its departure from Baxter's established screen image.  As shown in the still at left, of Tyrone Power about to discover Baxter in an opium den, Sophie's indiscretions differed sharply from the relatively innocent characters Baxter had played up until this point.

A poster from ALL ABOUT EVE

Unfortunately for Baxter, her Oscar didn't lead to better roles.  But after wading through a number of parts turned down by other actresses (for good reason), in 1950 Baxter won the role of Eve Harrington in the star-studded Best Picture of 1950, ALL ABOUT EVE Review, with Bette Davis, Celeste Holm, George Sanders, and Thelma Ritter. Although not as strong as it might have been, Baxter's performance earned her an Oscar nomination, but she insisted on being considered in the Best Actress category opposite Davis, instead of the Supporting Actress category.  As she explained in a 1971 interview: "I had been billed as a star in ALL ABOUT EVE Review.  To be entered as a supporting actress meant I would have to take a lower billing, and I felt I had worked too hard for all those years for that." (*1)

Baxter with George Sanders in ALL ABOUT EVE

As it turned out, Baxter and Davis both lost to Judy Holliday, but Baxter's performance as the ruthless aspiring actress remains the most famous of her career. At left is a still from EVE Review featuring Baxter and George Sanders.

Footnote:
  1. Alexander Reid, "Anne Baxter is Dead at 62; Actress won Oscar in 1946" New York Times 13 Dec. 1985: B12.

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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