RAHS Day Lecture – Judith Anderson: From Adelaide to Broadway and Hollywood


Wednesday 7 April 2021 | 1pm – 2pm

Online via Zoom

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Born in Adelaide, brought up by a determined single mother, Judith Anderson parlayed her rich, velvety voice and ability to portray strong emotions into Broadway stardom in the 1920s. Not a conventional beauty, she was alluring, with a beautiful body, perfect dress sense, and a striking, volatile personality. She was soon recognised as a Leading Lady of the American Stage co-starring with Gielgud, Olivier and Evans. Her landmark performance in Medea, adapted for her by the poet Robinson Jeffers, confirmed her reputation. She made numerous prizewinning television appearances, and, after her unforgettable role as Mrs Danvers in Hitchcock’s Rebecca, was a sought-after character movie actress, playing her last role in Star Trek III aged 87. She had a stormy private life and two short marriages, which, she remarked, were ‘much too long.’

About the speaker: Desley Deacon is an Emeritus Professor of History at the Australian National University. She recently published Judith Anderson: Australian Star, First Lady of the American Stage. She now lives in Sydney and writes occasional reviews and pieces in the Australian Book Review and Inside Story, usually about biography and culture.

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