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THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
The Lady is Wright
The New York Times July 26, 1942 page VIII
When Teresa Wright left Broadway's -- and more specifically, Oscar Serlin's -- "Life With Father" -- for the enticements of Hollywood
her contract with Samuel
Goldwyn contained several stipulations. There would be no leg art,
no whispered romances for the columnists, no orchid and ermine setting
for her background. Miss Wright preferred being an actress to being a newly
discovered glamour girl. And as of the present moment, despite the constraints
she placed upon the publicity department, the young lady has been playing
a decidedly winning game. Consider: In less than a year she has played
three coveted roles -- the daughter in "The
Little Foxes," the young bride of "Mrs.
Miniver" and, finally, Mrs. Lou Gehrig opposite Gary
Cooper's Lou in Mr. Goldwyn's
"The Pride of the Yankees."
Amid the razzle-dazzle of the Gold Coast Miss Wright has not lost
a quality that is both young and simple. Mr. Goldwyn
reports that she is one of the most highly sensitive acting instruments
it has ever been his responsibility to engage. He talks about how easily
she understands her director, how quickly she learns her lines, how sure
she is not to pick up inflection and tempo from other actors. Rather than
call her headstrong he will ad that she knows what she wants. When a couple
of years ago she auditioned for a role in "Life With Father"
Mr. Serlin must have sensed the same qualities. "She has that plus,
which is the only way to describe it," he said later.
A Precocious Freshman
Her father, who is in the insurance business in New York, admits
he first became curious about what was going to happen to his daughter
when as a freshman in Maplewood (N.J.) High School she walked off with
the lead in the annual senior class play. It was during these high school
years that she saw Helen Hayes in "Victoria
Regina." Miss Wright says that her life was really "shaped"
on the train going back to Maplewood after seeing that Saturday matinee.
She keeps an autographed picture of Miss Hayes
on her dressing room table.
As may be surmised from her reaction to he theatre and from her father's
too, there had never been any one "of the theatre" in Miss Wright's
family. But everyone at the Maplewood High School was so encouraging, Mr.
Wright said Teresa might have some time at it. It wasn't exactly easy,
admit both the Wrights now, but Mr. Wright kept her supplied with just
enough money to get by on while she learned more about acting at the Provincetown
Theatre one summer; and then with the Barnstormers. "Life With Father"
followed -- until one night Samuel
Goldwyn came to see the show.
Mr. Goldwyn Backstage
He came backstage. He had himself announced. The producer is used
to actresses swooning at the thought of coming to Hollywood to work for
him. But that night backstage at the Empire he found a young lady who was
highly skeptical, a young lady who definitely did not swoon at the thought
of going to Hollywood. She did not want to go to Hollywood, to be a bathing
suit model, fodder for the fan magazines, and never have an expression
on her face before a camera. She said so to Mr. Goldwyn.
He assured her he was not of the bathing suit school of Hollywood producers
and he whispered that she might have the role of Bette
Davis's daughter in "The
Little Foxes." That was all that Miss Wright wanted to hear.
She was impressed with playing Mrs. Gehrig, and she was impressed
with playing opposite Gary Cooper.
But even if the studio had wanted, she would not have sanctioned any such
story as "How It Felt to Kiss Gary
Cooper for the First Time." That she was waiting for someone to
try and interview her on such a subject, and that no on did, is proof of
the fact that now she understands Hollywood, and has made Hollywood understand
Recently Miss Wright became Mrs. Niven Busch, and Mr. Busch is a
well-known Hollywood story editor. The wedding could have been a stupendous
church production with elaborate bridal veil photographs, or it could have
been an elopement to Yuma. It was neither. She met Mr. Busch in Hollywood,
she was seen with him, playing golf and at dinner (but not in night clubs)
for several months, and then she did the unprecedented thing in Hollywood --
she announced she was going to marry him. When she did, no one but their
intimate friends knew where or when, and there was not one flash bulb flashed
at the wedding.
© 1942 The New York Times
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