Known for movies

Short Info

DiedDecember 17, 2009, Malibu, California, United States
SpouseNorton Simon, David O. Selznick, Robert Walker
FactIt was Jennifer, who was fascinated by Eastern philosophy, who persuaded husband Norton Simon to take his first trip to India. Simon became captivated by the art of regions he had hardly considered and later became a major force in the Indian and Southeast Asian art market.
PaymentsEarned $9,866 .66 from Since You Went Away (1944)

Jennifer Jones (born Phylis Lee Isley; March 2, 1919 – December 17, 2009) was an American actress and producer. She was one of the most popular leading ladies of her time, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Song of Bernadette (1943). She was also nominated for Best Actress for Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955). Jones’ career spanned more than 40 years, and she appeared in more than 80 films.

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to a wealthy family, Jones was raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools. She made her film debut with a small role in In Old Arizona (1928). Her first starring role came in the early 1930s with a string of films from RKO Radio Pictures, including Berkeley Square (1933), Little Women (1933), and The Women in Red (1935). She became one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1940s with her appearances in such films as Since You Went Away (1944) and Love Letters (1945). She worked with some of the era’s most prominent directors, including Alfred Hitchcock in Spellbound (1945) and David O. Selznick in Since You Went Away (1944) and Portrait of Jennie (1948).

In 1955, Jones starred in Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, her first color film. Her performance earned her a second Academy Award nomination. She continued to work regularly throughout the 1950s and 1960s, appearing in such films as A Farewell to Arms (1957), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), Tender Is the Night (1962), and The Towering Inferno (1974). She was active in philanthropy, working with the United Service Organizations (USO) and other charities. In her later years, she continued to act on occasion, making her final film appearance in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993).

Jones was married four times, most notably to actor Robert Walker from 1939 until his death in 1951. She had three children, one of whom predeceased her. Her final marriage was to businessman Norton Simon in 1971. Jones died at her home in Beverly Hills, California, on December 17, 2009, at the age of 90.

Early Life

Jennifer Jones was born Phylis Lee Isley in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the daughter of Flora Mae (née Suber) and Phillip Ross Isley. Her parents were both aspiring actors who worked only sporadically; they divorced when she was five years old. Jones and her sister were raised by their maternal grandmother, Emma Jackson Suber, an African-American woman who had been born into slavery but freed before the Civil War. Through Suber, Jones is descended from enslaved Africans as well as Cherokee Indians.

Jones’ father eventually moved to California, where he worked as an extra and bit-player for Warner Bros. studios during the 1930s. He met and married Dorothy Frances Spencer, another aspiring actress; they had three children together. Jones’ stepfather was abusive; he would often beat her and her sister when he was drunk. Jones’ mother divorced him when she was nine years old and moved the family to Los Angeles. Jones’ mother remarried several times throughout her life; her last husband was businessman Norton Simon.

Jones was a shy child and did not take part in school activities until she was attending Hollywood High School. She began acting in school plays and community theater productions. After graduating from high school in 1936, she enrolled in UCLA to study acting. However, she dropped out after one semester to pursue a career in film.


Early work: 1928–1932

Jones made her film debut with a small role in In Old Arizona (1928), the first all-talking Western. She appeared as an extra in a number of films produced by Warner Bros., including The Jazz Singer (1927), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), and Little Caesar (1931). In 1932, she signed a contract with RKO Radio Pictures. Her first starring role came that year with Berkeley Square (1933), a British-set historical drama. She followed it with roles in several other RKO films, including Little Women (1933), The Women in Red (1935), and Streamline Express (1935).

In 1934, Jones met actor Robert Walker while filming Streamline Express; they married two years later. The couple had two sons: Robert Jr., who was born in 1939, and Michael Walker, who was born in 1942.

Rise to stardom: 1933–1945

Jones became one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1940s with her appearances in such films as Since You Went Away (1944) and Love Letters (1945).

In 1943, Jones starred as Saint Bernadette Soubirous in The Song of Bernadette, a biographical drama about the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes. Her performance earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress, making her the first actress to win the award for a role in a religious film. The film was a huge commercial success, grossing $5 million at the box office.

Jones followed up her Academy Award-winning performance with roles in a string of successful films, including Madame Curie (1943), Since You Went Away (1944), Love Letters (1945), and Duel in the Sun (1946). She also worked with some of Hollywood’s most prominent directors during this period, including Alfred Hitchcock in Spellbound (1945) and David O. Selznick on Since You Went Away (1944) and Portrait of Jennie (1948).

In 1945, Jones’ husband Robert Walker died at the age of 32 from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. His death left Jones devastated; she withdrew from public life for several months and did not work again until 1947.

Later work: 1946–1993

In 1955, Jones starred in Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, her first color film. Her performance earned her a second Academy Award nomination.

Jones continued to work regularly throughout the 1950s and 1960s, appearing in such films as A Farewell to Arms (1957), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), Tender Is the Night (1962), and The Towering Inferno (1974). She also made several television appearances during this time, including guest spots on episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Love Boat.

In 1971, Jones married businessman Norton Simon; it was her fourth marriage. The couple remained married until Simon’s death in 1993.

Jones’ final film appearance came that year with a small role in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993). She retired from acting after filming wrapped on the movie.

Personal Life

Jones was married four times: to actors Robert Walker (1939–1951) and Roger Davis (1967–1969), businessman John Meriweather (1964–1966), and businessman Norton Simon (1971–1993). She had three children: Robert Walker Jr., Michael Walker, and Mary Jennifer Selznick. Her grandson is actor Ethan Embry.

Jones suffered from depression throughout her life; she attempted suicide several times throughout her career. In 1949, she underwent electroconvulsive therapy after being diagnosed with manic depression.


Jennifer Jones died at her home in Beverly Hills, California on December 17, 2009 at the age of 90 from natural causes.

General Info

DiedDecember 17, 2009, Malibu, California, United States
Height1.7 m
ProfessionLawyer, Curler
EducationAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts, Northwestern University


SpouseNorton Simon, David O. Selznick, Robert Walker
ChildrenRobert Walker, Mary Jennifer Selznick, Michael Walker
ParentsPhillip Ross Isley, Flora Mae Isley
SiblingsHeather Jones
PartnerBrent Laing


AwardsAcademy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture – Drama, David di Donatello Special Award, German Film Award for Lifetime Achievement
NominationsAcademy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
MoviesDuel in the Sun, The Song of Bernadette, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, Since You Went Away, Portrait of Jennie, Love Letters, The Towering Inferno, Beat the Devil, Ruby Gentry, A Farewell to Arms, Madame Bovary, Terminal Station, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Cluny Brown, Gone to Earth, Good ...

Social profile links


Since You Went Away (1944)$9,866 .66


1Actually every time I stop to think about it, I'm really amazed. I think I've had an extraordinary life. And lots of times I can hardly believe it's me.
2Most interviewers probe and pry into your personal life, and I just don't like it. I respect everyone's right to privacy, and I feel mine should be respected too.
3If you could choose one characteristic that would get you through life, choose a sense of humor.
4My mother told me never explain, never complain. Even as a young actress, I determined I would never give personal interviews, since they made me so uncomfortable.


1She married art collector - industrialist Norton Simon on a yacht off the coast of England.
2Maternal granddaughter of George (May 6, 1855-December 26, 1906) and Lulu (née Talbot) Suber (August 12, 1859-November 20, 1904). Both died in Sacramento, California.
3Daughter of Phillip Ross (November 26, 1892-May 27, 1976) and Flora Mae (Renée Zellweger Suber) Isley (March 26, 1886-May 29, 1969). Her father was born in Kansas City, Missouri and her mother was born in Sacramento, California. Both died in Dallas, Texas.
4Suffered a stillbirth on December 16, 1950 at 6 months pregnant.
5In 1957, she appeared back-to back in two ill-advised remakes: "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" and "A farewell to arms." (The latter was her husband David O. Selznick's last film.) It would be five years before Jones returned to the screen (1962's "Tender is the night").
6Co-starred with Joseph Cotten in 4 movies: Since You Went Away (1944), Love Letters (1945), Duel in the Sun (1946), and Portrait of Jennie (1948). Cotten also narrated The Wild Heart (1952), in which Jones played the lead.
7Was the 22nd actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for The Song of Bernadette (1943) at The 16th Academy Awards on March 2, 1944.
8Gave birth to her 3rd child at age 35, a daughter Mary Jennifer Selznick on August 12, 1954. Child's father was her 2nd husband, David O. Selznick.
9Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 22, a son Michael Ross Walker (aka Michael Walker) on March 13, 1941. Child's father was her 1st [later ex] husband, Robert Walker.
10Gave birth to her 1st child at age 21, a son Robert Hudson Walker (aka Robert Walker Jr.) on April 15, 1940. Child's father was her 1st [later ex] husband, Robert Walker.
11She lives in California where she contributes to various charities (mostly mental health organizations) and presides over the Norton Simon Museum's Board of Directors (her late husband's prestigious art museum in Pasadena). [October 2001]
12Outlived all three of her husbands, and two of her children.
13She was considered for the lead role in the movie The Country Girl, but had to bow out when she became pregnant.
14Served as matron of honor at the wedding of Lauren Bacall to Jason Robards in Mexico on July 4, 1961.
15Had 7 grandchildren, all from her son Robert Walker Jr..
16Was named president of the Norton Simon Museum when Simon became incapacitated by Guillain-Barre syndrome. She was given emeritus status in 2003.
17Was the daughter of the owners and stars of Isley Stock Col, a tent show that toured the Midwest. Became interested in acting while young and appeared in her parent's shows.
18Studied at Northwestern University before focusing on acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where she met her first husband Robert Walker.
19A longtime yoga practitioner.
20It was Jennifer, who was fascinated by Eastern philosophy, who persuaded husband Norton Simon to take his first trip to India. Simon became captivated by the art of regions he had hardly considered and later became a major force in the Indian and Southeast Asian art market.
21Daughter Mary Jennifer Selznick, who was prone to emotional breakdowns and had difficulty accepting her father's death back in 1965, plunged to her death from the 22nd floor of a hotel in west Los Angeles in 1976 while Jennifer was back in Tulsa, Oklahoma visiting her dying father. An autopsy showed traces of morphine, barbiturates and alcohol in her system. The death was ruled a suicide.
22After she reportedly tried to commit suicide and was hospitalized, and was temporarily in a coma after being found at the foot of a 400-foot cliff in Malibu, she got strongly involved in mental health issues.
23She met her third husband Norton Simon when he tried to buy the portrait of Jones used in her film Portrait of Jennie (1948). Her romance with the multimillionaire philanthropist and art collector started at a party hosted by fellow collector Walter Annenberg.
24The late actress Susan Strasberg, a fellow breast cancer victim who died of the disease in 1999, was married, at one time, to actor Christopher Jones and named their daughter Jennifer Robin Jones, in the actress's honor.
25Stepmother of L. Jeffrey Selznick and Daniel Selznick.
26Is one of 15 actresses who have received an Oscar nomination for their performance as a nun. The others, in chronological order, are: Gladys Cooper for The Song of Bernadette (1943); Ingrid Bergman for The Bells of St. Mary's (1945); Loretta Young and Celeste Holm for Come to the Stable (1949); Deborah Kerr for Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957); Audrey Hepburn for The Nun's Story (1959); Lilia Skala for Lilies of the Field (1963); Julie Andrews and Peggy Wood for The Sound of Music (1965); Anne Bancroft and Meg Tilly for Agnes of God (1985), Susan Sarandon for Dead Man Walking (1995); Meryl Streep and Amy Adams for Doubt (2008).
27Her first Oscar nomination for The Song of Bernadette (1943) marks her first of 4 consecutive nominations, a feat she shares with Thelma Ritter (1950-1953), Marlon Brando (1951-1954) Elizabeth Taylor (1957-1960) and Al Pacino (1972-1975). (Pacino and Brando's 4 consecutive nominations are the record for male actors. The female record is 5 in a row by Bette Davis (1938-1942) and Greer Garson (1941-1945).).
28In Italy, almost all her films were dubbed by Lidia Simoneschi, except Beat the Devil (1953) where she was dubbed by Rosetta Calavetta.
29Was a good friend of Peggy Knudsen.
30She is a breast cancer survivor.
31On November 9, 1967, she checked into a Malibu motel and took an overdose of sleeping pills. She was found unconscious on the beach and rushed to a nearby hospital and eventually recovered.
32Once had an interest in returning to the screen to play convicted murderess Jean Harris but abandoned the project when Ellen Burstyn appeared in a successful televised movie.
33In 1980 she donated $1 million to establish the Jennifer Jones Simon Foundation for Mental Health and Education
34Chairman of the Norton Simon Museum.
35In 1981, she bought the rights to Larry McMurtry's novel, "Terms of Endearment", with the intention of starring in the film but director James Brooks told her that she was too old for the part. The role eventually went to Shirley MacLaine, who won an Oscar.
36She is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She was initiated into the Tau chapter (Northwestern) in 1937.
37Attended Northwestern University.
38Turned 25 years old on the day that she won the Oscar for The Song of Bernadette (1943).
39Her daughter with David O. Selznick, Mary Jennifer Selznick, killed herself on May 11, 1976, only two days after Mother's Day.
40Was represented by the John Robert Powers agency, when she was a fashion model, in the 1930s.




The Towering Inferno1974Lisolette
Angel, Angel, Down We Go1969Astrid Steele
The Idol1966Carol
Tender Is the Night1962Nicole Diver
A Farewell to Arms1957Catherine Barkley
The Barretts of Wimpole Street1957Elizabeth Barrett
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit1956Betsy Rath
Good Morning, Miss Dove1955Miss Dove
Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing1955Dr. Han Suyin
Beat the Devil1953Mrs. Gwendolen Chelm
Indiscretion of an American Wife1953Mary Forbes
Ruby Gentry1952Ruby Corey aka Ruby Gentry
Carrie1952Carrie Meeber
The Wild Heart1952Hazel Woodus
Gone to Earth1950Hazel Woodus
Madame Bovary1949Emma Bovary
We Were Strangers1949China Valdés
Portrait of Jennie1948Jennie Appleton
Duel in the Sun1946Pearl Chavez
Cluny Brown1946Cluny Brown
Love Letters1945Singleton
The Fighting Generation1944ShortNurse's Aide
Since You Went Away1944Jane Deborah Hilton
The Song of Bernadette1943Bernadette Soubirous
Dick Tracy's G-Men1939Gwen Andrews (as Phyllis Isley)
The Streets of New York1939TV Movie as Phyllis Isley
New Frontier1939Celia Braddock (as Phylis Isley)


Gone to Earth1950performer: "The Mountain Ash", "Sigh No More Ladies", "Harps in Heaven" - uncredited
Portrait of Jennie1948performer: "Jennie's Song" - uncredited
Since You Went Away1944music: "Kaiser-Walzer Emperor Waltz op.437" 1889 - uncredited / performer: "Kaiser-Walzer Emperor Waltz op.437" 1889, " Oh My Darling Clementine" 1884, "Happy Birthday to You" 1893 - uncredited


Sister Wendy at the Norton Simon Museum2002TV Movie grateful thanks - as Jennifer Jones Simon
Biography2001TV Series documentary special thanks - 1 episode
Hit and Runway1999the producers would like to thank - as Jennifer Jones Simon


The 75th Annual Academy Awards2003TV SpecialHerself - Past Winner
Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration2001TV Special documentaryHerself
The 70th Annual Academy Awards1998TV SpecialHerself - Past Winner (uncredited)
Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's1997DocumentaryHerself (uncredited)
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Gregory Peck1989TV SpecialHerself
The 59th Annual Academy Awards1987TV SpecialHerself - Presenter: Best Cinematography
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Lillian Gish1984TV Special documentaryHerself
The 30th Annual Academy Awards1958TV SpecialHerself - Co-Presenter: Short Subjects Awards
The 28th Annual Academy Awards1956TV SpecialHerself - Presenter: Best Director (pre-filmed)
American Creed1946ShortHerself

Archive Footage

She's Funny That Way2014Cluny Brown (uncredited)
The 82nd Annual Academy Awards2010TV SpecialHerself - In Memoriam
The Orange British Academy Film Awards2010TV SpecialHerself - Memorial Tribute
16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards2010TV SpecialHerself - Memorial Tribute
Premio Donostia a Willem Dafoe2005TV Special
Biography1997-2001TV Series documentaryHerself
Hollywood Remembers2000TV Series documentary
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies1995TV Movie documentaryPearl Chavez, 'Duel in the Sun' (uncredited)
John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick1988DocumentaryHerself
America at the Movies1976DocumentaryJane Deborah Hilton
That's Entertainment!1974Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
The Dick Cavett Show1971TV SeriesHerself
Hollywood: The Selznick Years1969TV Movie documentaryActress 'Portrait of Jennie' (uncredited)
Verifica incerta - Disperse Exclamatory Phase1965Documentary short
The Ed Sullivan Show1955TV SeriesHerself
Some of the Best: Twenty-Five Years of Motion Picture Leadership1949Documentary shortHerself (uncredited)


Won Awards

1997Lifetime Achievement AwardGerman Film Awards
1975Career DavidDavid di Donatello Awards
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 6429 Hollywood Blvd.
1956Most Popular Female StarPhotoplay Awards
1947Sour AppleGolden Apple AwardsLeast Cooperative Actress
1944OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Leading RoleThe Song of Bernadette (1943)
1944Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest ActressThe Song of Bernadette (1943)

Nominated Awards

1975Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Supporting Actress - Motion PictureThe Towering Inferno (1974)
1956OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Leading RoleLove Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
1947OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Leading RoleDuel in the Sun (1946)
1946OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Leading RoleLove Letters (1945)
1945OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Supporting RoleSince You Went Away (1944)

3rd Place Awards

1955NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest ActressLove Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

Write A Comment

Pin It