Come Back To the Five and Dime Jimmie Dean Jimmie Dean
By Jen Kiley
Clips do not belong to me but the use of them is to pay tribute in particularly to Sandy Dennis, but also to remember Robert Altman, James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor.
I chose the film that is the title to this piece and clips from other Sandy Dennis films because the themes are of relationships and arguments and discussion, some of a very bizarre nature. The situations you find the characters are in help define for me what an argument is or at least make it clearer as to what it is not. I, also chose Sandy Dennis as one of the main actors in these films because I am one degree of separation from her in real life and met and knew her mother through a friend of mine when we were teenagers and just starting group psychotherapy. I knew A. for several years when he introduced me to Sandy’s mom, who belonged to another group that A. wanted me to join. She was the coolest lady. We use to talk about our dreams and she told me many stories. One in particular was her enjoying the beaches of Barbados and partaking of the sand as a place to enjoy a good nights sleep and dreams. A place that I now dream of as my safe place and getaway. Someday, if I am able I will visit this place. It is also the location of the Julie Andrews film Tamarind Seed, directed by her late husband Blake Edwards, who dies at the end of 2010. SO it does hold great meaning for me in many ways. Also the winds and temperature and beaches are divine. SO back to Sandy’s mom, she, also, told me of the many cats that Sandy and her family had together. Being a cat person myself this was an enjoyable exchange. It was a brief encounter but I enjoyed every moment of it and also told her that I adored her daughter very much. Sandy was also chosen for this post because she died young and that seems to be a theme in my life. The first film I picked to share are clips when put together form the complete film by Robert Altman of Come To the Five and Dime, Jimmie Dean, Jimmie Dean. Being a fan of both Sandy Dennis and feeling the connection through her mom and being a lover of Robert Altman films, I’ve wanted to see this film for the longest of times and serendipitously came upon it last night and upon Sandy Dennis and Robert Altman all in one memorable evening as I created a post-scribe of a Tribute to Robert Altman and all of his work in films and television. He is my all time favorite director and when he died I felt a great loss to myself and to the world of films. He was such a magnificent director and story teller. No one will ever be able to replace him or to replace Sandy Dennis. She is truly amazing. I do wish someone would put this film onto DVD. It would be in my family’s collection immediately. And James Dean is by far my favorite actor of all time. If he had not crashed and died so young and before he could even realize his greatness, oh the films he could have made. All of them are lost to us now. Please enjoy this tribute to them all. And take note the lesbian love that is manipulated by the past way of thinking about homosexual unions. The gay couples usually break up or one hangs themselves or somehow dies.
Come Back To the Five and Dime Jimmie Dean, Jimmie Dean is a film with a wonderful retrospective and occurs during the time of James Dean and deals with relevant issues, what some would say were before their time, It stars Sandy Dennis, Cher, Kathy Bates, Karen Black and several other actors. A complete female cast with the exception of a young male actor who appears in some of the flashbacks.
Theatrical Trailer for the 1967 drama The Fox, based on D.H. Lawrences’s novel.
The Fox (1967)
Great film that needs to be released on DVD. I love Sandy Dennis!
Anne Heywood and Sandy Dennis frolic merrily before their love nest is upturned by the Fox, Keir Dullea.
THE FOX – 1967 Sandy Dennis, Keir Dullea, Anne Heywood
Mark Rydell’s “The Fox”, based on the Novel by DH Lawrence.
One always has to die in order for the heterosexual norm to remain safe, apparently. Of course, Dorothy Parker said “Heterosexuality isn’t normal, it’s just common.”
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? making conversation
Martha gets changed and her evening of humiliating George starts, guests still in the dark
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Talking about the university party
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
George gets to play a game of his own
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Dancing and smothering. Martha dances and tells an ugly story
The Out of Towners starring Sandy Dennis and Jack Lemmon
The Out of Towners with Sandy Dennis and Jack Lemmon
Trailer for the NY set school drama-Up the Down Staircase-starring Sandy Dennis and directed by Robert Mulligan.
What’s My Line – Sandy Dennis – great interview and exchange with panel
Sandy Dennis Tribute – I loved being friends with her mom.
My favorite play, written by Edward Albee.
My favorite movie, directed by Mike Nichols.
And also, my favorite soundtrack. Composed by Alex North.
Does it get any better than this?
A look back in pictures at the life and career of the late actress Sandy Dennis. The song is “Moon River” as performed by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
April 27, 1937 to March 2, 1992 died at the young age of 54 in Westport, CT where I spent my youth – her death was caused by ovarian cancer.
It would not be easy for anyone to out-do one of American theater’s finest thespians, but somehow actress Sandy Dennis managed to even out-quirk the legendary Geraldine Page when it came to affecting nervous ticks and offbeat mannerisms on stage and in film. She and Page had few peers when it came to the neurotic-dispensing department. The two Actor’s Studio disciples developed fascinating characterizations that seemed to manifest themselves outwardly to such physical extremes and, like a bad car accident, their overt stylings were capable of drawing in audiences. There was no grey area. Either way, both had a searing emotional range and were undeniably transfixing figures who held up Oscar trophies to prove there was a “Method” to their respective madness. Sandy’s signature quirks — her stuttering, fluttering, throat gulps, eye twitches, nervous giggles, hysterical flailing — are all a part of what made her so distinctive and unforgettable. Her untimely death of cancer at age 54 robbed the entertainment industry of a remarkable talent.
The Nebraska-born-and-bred actress was born Sandra Dale Dennis in Hastings, on April 27, 1937, the daughter of postal clerk Jack Dennis and his secretary wife Yvonne. Living in both Kenesaw (1942) and Lincoln (1946) while growing up, she and brother Frank went to Lincoln High School with TV host Dick Cavett. Her passion for acting grew and grew while still at home. A college student at both Nebraska Wesleyan University and the University of Nebraska, she eventually found her career direction after appearing with the Lincoln Community Theater Group.
This divine actress left Nebraska and towards the Big Apple at age 19 just to try her luck. An intense student of acting guru Uta Hagen, Sandy made her New York stage debut in a Tempo Theatre production of “The Lady from the Sea” in 1956 and that same year won her first TV role as that of Alice Holden in the daytime series “Guiding Light” (1952). A year later she made it to Broadway as an understudy (and eventual replacement) for the roles of Flirt and Reenie in the William Inge drama “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs,” directed by Elia Kazan at the Music Box Theatre. She toured with that production and also found regional work in the plays “Bus Stop” and “Motel” while continuing to shine as a budding New York fixture in “Burning Bright,” “Face of a Hero” and “Port Royal”.
Along with fellow newcomers Gary Lockwood and Phyllis Diller, Sandy made her movie debut in playwright Inge’s Splendor in the Grass (1961), a movie quite welcoming of Sandy’s neurotic tendencies. In the minor but instrumental role of Kay, she is an unwitting instigator of friend Deanie’s (played by an ambitiously unbalanced Natalie Wood) mental collapse. Despite this worthy little turn, Sandy would not make another film for five years.
Instead, the actress set her sites strongly on the stage and for this she was handsomely rewarded, most notably in comedy. After appearing in a two-month run of the Graham Greene drama “The Complaisant Lover” at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 1961, stardom would be hers the very next year with her outstanding social worker role in the lighter-weight “A Thousand Clowns”. Winning the Theatre World as well as the coveted Tony Award for her performance, she continued her run of prizes with a second consecutive Tony for her sexy turn in the comedy “Any Wednesday” (1964). Having made only one picture at this juncture, Sandy was not in a good position to transfer her award-winning characters to film and when they did, they went to Barbara Harris and Jane Fonda, respectively.
TV was also a viable medium for Sandy and she appeared sporadically on such programs as “The Fugitive,” “Naked City” and “Arrest and Trial”. In 1965, she appeared in London as Irina in a heralded Actor’s Studio production of Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters” with fellow devotees Geraldine Page, Kim Stanley, Shelley Winters, Luther Adler and Kevin McCarthy. The play was subsequently videotaped and directed by Paul Bogart, and is valuable today for the studied “Method” performances of its cast. It, however, received mixed reviews upon its release.
Returning to film in 1966, Sandy seemed to embellish every physical and emotional peculiarity she could muster for the role of the mousy wife Honey in the four-character powerhouse play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) by Edward Albee. It is a mouth-dropping, emotionally shattering performance, and both she and a more even-keeled George Segal as the dropover guests of the skewering cutthroat couple George and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) more than held their own. While the distaff cast won Oscars for this (Taylor for “Best Actress” and Dennis for “Best Supporting Actress”), this ferocious landmark film blew open the “Production Code” doors once and for all and a wave of counterculture filming tackling formerly taboo subjects came to be.
Firmly established now with her Oscar win, Sandy found highly affecting lead showcases for herself. She was quite memorable and won the New York Film Critics Award for her young, naive British teacher challenged by a New York “Blackboard Jungle”-like school system in Up the Down Staircase (1967). She also stirred up some controversy along with Anne Heywood playing brittle lesbian lovers whose relationship is threatened by a sexy male visitor (Keir Dullea) in another ground-breaking film The Fox (1967). Sandy remained intriguingly off-kiltered in the odd-couple romantic story Sweet November (1968) opposite Anthony Newley, the bizarre Robert Altman thriller That Cold Day in the Park (1969), and the gloomy British melodrama Thank You All Very Much (1969) [aka Thank You All Very Much].
Off-camera, Sandy lived for over a decade with jazz musician and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, which began in 1965 following his devoted relationship with actress Judy Holliday who had died of cancer earlier in the year. They eventually parted ways in 1976. Rumors that they had married at some point were eventually negated by Sandy herself. Sandy also went on to have a May-December relationship with the equally quirky actor Eric Roberts from 1980 to 1985. She had no children.
At the peak of her film popularity, Sandy began the 1970s in more mainstream fashion. She and Jack Lemmon were another odd-couple hit in Neil Simon’s The Out of Towners (1970) as married George and Gwen Kellerman visiting an unmerciful Big Apple. Sandy is at her whiny, plain-Jane best (“Oh, my God…I think we’re being kidnapped!”) as disaster upon disaster befalls the miserable twosome. Both she and Lemmon were nominated for Golden Globes. Following this, however, Sandy again refocused on the stage with an avalanche of fine performances in “How the Other Half Loves,” “And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little,” “A Streetcar Named Desire” (as Blanche), “Born Yesterday” (as Billie Dawn), “Absurd Person Singular,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (as Maggie the Cat), “Same Time, Next Year,” “The Little Foxes,” “Eccentricities of a Nightingale,” “The Supporting Cast” and even the title role in “Peter Pan”.
A few TV and movie roles came Sandy’s way in unspectacular fashion but it wasn’t until the next decade that she again stole some thunder. After a moving support turn as a cast-off wife in the finely-tuned ensemble drama The Four Seasons (1981), Sandy proved terrific as a James Dean extremist in another ensemble film Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982), which she played first to fine acclaim on Broadway. Reunited with director Robert Altman as well as her stage compatriots Cher, Karen Black, Kathy Bates, Sudie Bond and Marta Heflin, the film version was equally praised. Her last films included Another Woman (1988), 976-EVIL (1988) and Parents (1989).
Seen less and less in later years, she gave in to her eccentric tendencies as time went on. A notorious cat lover (at one point there was a count of 33 residing in her Westport, Connecticut home), close friends included actresses Brenda Vaccaro and Jessica Walter. Her father Jack died in 1990 and around that same time Sandy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Undergoing chemotherapy at the time she filmed the part of a beaten-down mother in Sean Penn’s The Indian Runner (1991), the role proved to be her last.
Sandy died in Westport on March 3, 1992. Her ashes were placed at the Lincoln Memorial Park in Lincoln, Nebraska. A foundation in her home state was set up to “memorialize the accomplishments of Sandy Dennis, to perpetuate her commitment to education and the performing arts, to promote cultural activities, and to encourage theatrical education, performance, and professionals”. A book, “Sandy Dennis: A Personal Memoir,” was published posthumously in 1997. Mini Biography from IMDB-By: Gary Brumburgh / firstname.lastname@example.org
A well-known cat lover.
A dedicated exponent of the ‘Method’ technique via the Actor’s Studio, her physical neuroticisms could either captivate or repel audiences.
Although she and Gerry Mulligan referred to each other as husband and wife for years, she eventually said that they had never married.
She won two consecutive Tony awards, in 1963 as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for “A Thousand Clowns” and in 1964 as Best Actress (Dramatic) for “Any Wednesday,” which eventually led to her Oscar-winning film performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
Awarded the coveted Theatre World Award for best Broadway debut in 1961.
Involved with actor Eric Roberts in 1981. Her dog was riding with Roberts when he crashed his jeep into a tree in Los Angeles. Roberts was in a coma for two weeks.
She declined to appear at the Oscar ceremonies the year she won her award for “Virginia Woolf”.
She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
[on acting]: It isn’t like painting a picture, or writing a book. When you finish an acting stint, there’s nothing except money. You have to keep going, giving the best you’ve got, to get something intangible.
I should have kept myself blonder and thinner, but I just didn’t care enough.
I don’t really like people much. I mean, I know I should develop this passion for other people and, like, get to know them, but I couldn’t care less. – on her relationship with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during the filming of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf