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Teresa Wright

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The Lady is Wright

The New York Times  July 26, 1942 page VIII 3

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 her.

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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