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Anne Baxter

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Anne Baxter in The Blue Gardenia (1953)

Anne Baxter (May 7, 1923December 12, 1985) was an American actress. Born in Michigan City, Indiana, her maternal grandfather was architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Baxter's father was a prominent executive with the Seagrams Distillery Co. and she was raised in New York City amidst luxury and sophistication. At age 10, Baxter attended a Broadway play starring Helen Hayes, and was so impressed that she declared to her family that she wanted to become an actress. By the age of 13, Anne had appeared on Broadway. During this period, Baxter learned her acting craft as a student of the famed teacher, Madame Maria Ouspenskaya.

Baxter had screen-tested for the role of Mrs. DeWinter in Rebecca, but lost out to Joan Fontaine because director Alfred Hitchcock considered her "too young" for the role. The strength of that first foray into movie acting secured the then sixteen-year-old Baxter a seven year contract with The Fox Film Co. which later became 20th Century Fox. Her first movie role was in 20 Mule Team in 1940. She was chosen by Orson Welles to appear in The Magnificent Ambersons, based on the novel by Booth Tarkington. Baxter didn't have a starring role until The Razor's Edge in 1946, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1950 she was chosen to co-star in All About Eve, largely because of a resemblance to Claudette Colbert, who had initially been chosen to co-star in the film. Baxter received a nomination for Best Actress for the role.

In the 50s, Baxter was married to and then divorced from actor John Hodiak. That union produced Baxter's oldest daughter Katrina. In 1961, Baxter and her second husband, Randolph Galt, left the United States to live and raise their kids on a cattle station in the Australian Outback. She told the story in her memoir Intermission: A True Story. In the book, Anne Baxter blamed the failure of her first marriage to Hodiak on herself. Though her second marriage to Galt did not last much longer, Baxter and Galt were blessed with two daughters together: Melissa and Maginel.

The role of Eve Harrington is, of course, Anne Baxter's enduring legacy. In an ironic twist, Baxter appeared again on Broadway during the 70s, in Applause, the musical version of All About Eve, but finally in the "Margo Channing" role (she was replacing Lauren Bacall, who won a Tony Award in the role). Bette Davis tells, in one of her biographies, of attending one such performance by Baxter to their mutual delight. In the 70s, Baxter was a frequent guest and stand-in host on the popular daytime TV talk-fest, The Mike Douglas Show, as Baxter and Douglas were the best of friends. Also during that decade, Baxter was married again in 1977, briefly to David Klee, a prominent stockbroker, but then she was abrubtly widowed with his sudden death to illness. Baxter never again married.

In 1983, she starred in the television series Hotel after ironically replacing Bette Davis in the cast after Davis took ill. Baxter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6741 Hollywood Blvd.

Ms. Baxter was survived upon her passing by her three adult daughters. A footnote is that Ms. Baxter was a lifelong friend of the late costume-designer, Edith Head. Upon Ms. Head's death in 1981, Baxter's daughter Melissa was bequethed Ms. Head's extraordinary collection of jewelry. Melissa Galt today works as an interior designer in Atlanta. Baxter's daughter Katrina Hodiak ultimately married and had children. Baxter's daughter Maginel Galt is purported today to be a Catholic nun living and working in Rome, Italy.

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