Greer Garson stars in the true story of Edna Gladney, who struggled tirelessly to bring hope, dignity, and homes to thousands of unwanted orphans. Edna enjoys a happy marriage to a loving husband, heaping love on her small son, whose birth has made her barren. When the boy dies, Mr. and Mrs. Gladney devote themselves to charity work. But Edna's world completely falls apart when her husband also dies suddenly. These losses, together with Edna's memory of her sister's suicide after learning that she herself was adopted and illegitimate, inspire Edna to help find caring parents for foundlings. She also leads a successful crusade in the Texas state senate to remove the word "illegitimate" from birth records so that these children would not be stigmatized. Garsonís performance in front of the Senate is unforgettable, and Edna's heroic story remains inspirational. Director Mervyn LeRoy's outstanding drama also stars Walter Pidgeon; the screenplay was written by Anita Loos.
Director: Mervyn Le Roy
Stars: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Felix Bressart, Marsha Hunt, Fay Holden,
Samuel S. Hinds,
Producer: Irving Asher
Screenwriter: Anita Loos
Composer: Herbert Stothart
Costume Designer: Gile Steele, Adrian
Production Designer: Cedric Gibbons, Urie McCleary
Story: Ralph Wheelwright
Editor: George Boemler
Cinematographer: Karl Freund, Duke Greene
Set Designer: Edwin B. Willis
Photo by John DeBusk
Photo by John DeBusk
DALLAS, Texas (AP) -- Greer Garson, the vibrant, gallant leading lady in films such as "Goodbye Mr. Chips" and "Mrs. Miniver," died Saturday of heart failure. Mrs. Garson-Fogelson is buried in the Sparkman/Hillcrest cemetery in Dallas, Texas.
Miss Garson died peacefully at about 1:30 a.m. at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital, said John L. Roach, a friend and attorney for the family.
Some reference books list her age as 87, but Roach and a hospital spokeswoman said she was 92, giving her birth date as Sept. 29, 1903.
The Irish-born, red-haired Miss Garson won an Academy Award for "Mrs. Miniver," the 1942 drama about a British housewife courageously guiding her family through the blitz bombings of World War II. She was nominated for Oscars for six other roles, including Eleanor Roosevelt and Marie Curie.
In a 1990 Associated Press interview, she deplored the violence of many modern films and added: "I think the mirror should be tilted slightly upward when it's reflecting life -- toward the cheerful, the tender, the compassionate, the brave, the funny, the encouraging, all those things -- and not tilted down to the gutter part of the time, into the troubled vistas of conflict."
In recent years, she made her mark as a philanthropist, donating millions to colleges and other institutions. Among her grants was one for the $10 million Greer Garson Theater and film archive at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Her late husband was the oilman E.E. "Buddy" Fogelson. They maintained homes in Dallas and Los Angeles and a ranch near Pecos, New Mexico.
Born in County Down, Ireland, as Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson to a family with no theater background, Miss Garson performed Christmas plays in her home and gave recitations in the town hall at age 4. She wanted to become a teacher but worked for Encyclopaedia Britannica and an advertising agency instead.
After graduating from the University of London and studying at the University of Grenoble, Miss Garson made her professional acting debut in 1932 at the Birmingham Repertory Theater.
In a 1937 visit to England, MGM boss Louis B. Mayer saw her on the London stage and promptly signed her to a film contract.
She ended up doing virtually nothing for a year. "It was the most difficult and unhappiest year of my life," she once said. "I decided once I was fortunate enough to get away from Hollywood, it would take wild horses to drag me back."
She did escape -- returning to England for "Goodbye Mr. Chips." Miss Garson won acclaim for her depiction of the woman who draws the scholarly title character, played by Robert Donat, beyond the walls of academia. It brought her her first Oscar nomination.
Upon returning to the United States, Miss Garson made 1939's little-known comedy "Remember?" with Robert Taylor. And then her career took off.
She appeared in "Pride and Prejudice" with Laurence Olivier, with whom she had worked in London theater; "Blossoms in the Dust" with Walter Pidgeon; and "When Ladies Meet" starring Joan Crawford.
When Norma Shearer turned down the title role in "Mrs. Miniver," Miss Garson stepped in and went on to take the Oscar.
She lost many of her personal belongings -- including the Oscar trophy -- in a Los Angeles fire in the late 1980s. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued her a replacement statuette.
Other Oscar nominations came for "Mrs. Parkington," "Blossoms in the Dust," "Madame Curie," "The Valley of Decision," and "Sunrise at Campobello," her 1960 comeback film in which she played Mrs. Roosevelt. Only three actresses have been nominated more than seven times: Katharine Hepburn with 12, Bette Davis with 10 and Geraldine Page with eight.
About the time of her Oscar triumph, she married for the second time, to Richard Ney, who played her son in "Mrs. Miniver." Like her first marriage with Abbot Slenson, a British civil servant, that marriage ended in divorce.
In 1949, she married Fogelson; the marriage lasted until his death in 1987.
Miss Garson also performed on stage, taking over Rosalind Russell's role in Broadway's "Auntie Mame" in 1958. On television, she was seen on ABC's "The Love Boat."
Some History of the Edna Gladney Orphan Home
In Ft. Worth, Texas, there is an adoption center known as the Edna Gladney Home. It started initially as the final destination point of the Orphan Train that began in New York City and wound its way through mid-America leaving orphaned children with adoptive families at various stops throughout the nation.
However, when the train finished its run by reaching Ft. Worth, it still had several orphans aboard. In response, a Methodist Episcopal, South minister, took them all and started the center now known as the Edna Gladney Home. Through the years, its mission changed so that it became more and more an adoption agency for the offspring of young mothers who were not ready or able to assume motherhood.
GLADNEY, EDNA BROWNING KAHLY (1886-1961). Edna Browning Gladney, child-welfare advocate, daughter of Maurice and Minnie Nell (Jones) Kahly, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on January 22, 1886. Edna's father died when she was a child, and in 1903 Minnie Kahly sent Edna to live with her aunt and uncle in Fort Worth, Texas, because of Edna's own problems with respiratory illness. In 1906 Edna married Sam Gladney in Gainesville. After a few months in Havana, Cuba, they moved to Wolfe City and bought a mill there. While her husband concentrated on building his Gladney Milling Company, which manufactured Gladiola brand flour, Edna Gladney started a crusade to clean up the Grayson County poor farm. Especially distressed at the treatment of children at the institution, she arranged to have the youngsters transferred to the Rev. I. Z. T. Morris's Children's Home and Aid Society in Fort Worth. By 1910 she had joined the society's board of directors and had dedicated herself to caring for homeless and underprivileged children. After a trip to New York and Chicago to study settlement work and child welfare, Mrs. Gladney established a free day nursery in Sherman for the children of poor working families. She financed the nursery from her own pocket and from donations to collection boxes that she placed in local businesses.
After Sam Gladney's prosperous business failed, the couple moved to Fort Worth in 1924, and while her husband rebuilt his fortunes Edna Gladney devoted her time to the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society. By 1927 she had been named superintendent. Childless, herself, and widowed in 1935, Mrs. Gladney made the welfare of unwanted children the center of her life. She continued Morris's original work of placing abandoned children with adoptive families and expanded the society's activities to focus strongly on the care of unmarried mothers and an adoption service for their babies. She successfully lobbied the Texas legislature to have the word illegitimate kept off birth certificates and urged the passage of legislation to give adopted children the same inheritance rights as other children. As a result of her efforts the state of Texas instituted the policy of issuing second birth certificates in the names of adoptive parents.
Edna Gladney acquired a national reputation for her work after the release of the 1941 film Blossoms in the Dust, a fictionalized account of her life, starring Greer Garson. In 1950, after acquiring the West Texas Maternity Hospital, which it had operated since 1948, the society changed its name to Edna Gladney Home. Mrs. Gladney was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by Texas Christian University in 1957. She placed over 10,000 babies with adoptive parents during her career, and she continued to direct the home until ill health forced her into semiretirement in 1960. She remained active as an advisor and reviewed plans for a new nursery and additional dormitory only a few days before her death. She died on October 2, 1961, in Fort Worth and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.
The Gladney Center for Adoption Web Site
A Tradition of Trust -- Founded more than 115 years ago as one man's mission to find loving homes for orphaned children, the Gladney Center stands today as an international leader in adoption and maternity services specializing in international and domestic adoptions. Click link to visit the Gladney Center Home Page.
by Bob Ray Sanders - Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Click This Link to view article written about the movie "Blossoms In The Dust," the article was written by Bob Ray Sanders, a Fort Worth, Texas Star-Telegram Staff Writer. Bob Ray Sanders "Blossom's In The Dust Movie" fine but the woman was amazing.
"This copy of the film had come from the Fort Worth Public Library, and as I put it in the VCR to begin watching, I wondered whether it still carried the wallop I remembered from seeing it many years ago."