Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Patricia Neal, One of the Great Hollywood Ladies


Patricia Neal, Oscar winner in 1963 for “Hud,” died on Sunday at age 84.

I can tell you that knowing her over the years, talking to her at dinners and premieres, she was quite remarkable.

She loved the movie, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” based on the work of her late (and divorced late in life after 30 years of marriage) husband, Roald Dahl. She came to the premiere and enjoyed all of it.

For Michael Jackson’s 30 th anniversary concert on September 7, 2001, a cab dropped her and granddaughter Sophie Dahl on the wrong side of Madison Square Garden. I helped walk her around to the Eighth Avenue side, and we discussed how much she liked Michael’s music.

This was despite a debilitating stroke from which she’d battled back in 1965– several strokes, in fact. She’d been pregnant at the time.

She had a terrific, long acting career. Trivia: she played Olivia Walton, the mother, in the pilot movie for “The Waltons.” A wonderful person, and a New Yorker whom we will miss tremendously. Rest in peace.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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