• 29 December 1915
  •  Oakland, California, USA

Jo Van Fleet


Jo Van Fleet was born on December 30, 1914 in Oakland, California. She established herself as a notable dramatic actress on Broadway over several years, winning a Tony Award in 1954 for her skill in a difficult role, playing an unsympathetic, even abusive character, in Horton Foote's "The Trip to Bountiful" with Lillian Gish and Eva Marie Saint. Her first film role was playing the estranged mother of James Dean's character in East of Eden (1955). This debut performance earned Van Fleet an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her subsequent film work was steady through 1960, then very sporadic, and include such films as The Rose Tattoo (1955), I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), The King and Four Queens (1956), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) and Cool Hand Luke (1967). In 1958, Van Fleet was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her performance in "Look Homeward, Angel" on Broadway. Other films include Wild River (1960), Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (1965) and I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968). Her television work include Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), Bonanza (1959), Thriller (1960) and The Wild Wild West (1965). Jo Van Fleet died at age 81 of undisclosed causes on June 10, 1996 in Queens, New York City.