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Anne Revere; Actress Won Oscar, Tony

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Anne Revere, the regal character actress who was blacklisted after winning an Oscar in Hollywood but then returned to the Broadway stage to win a Tony, has died at her home on New York’s Long Island.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Miss Revere--who played the mothers of characters portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck and Montgomery Clift--was 87 when she died Tuesday of pneumonia.

Miss Revere won an Academy Award in 1945 playing Taylor’s mother in “National Velvet.” She also was nominated for an Oscar in a supporting role as the mother of Jones in the 1943 film “The Song of Bernadette,” and in 1947 as Peck’s mother in “Gentleman’s Agreement.”

In 1947 she was both mother and counselor to John Garfield in the boxing epic “Body and Soul,” and in 1951 Clift became her son in “A Place in the Sun.”

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But that same year her name also was among 300 that appeared on the Hollywood blacklist.

She had refused to testify about any possible ties to the Communist Party when she appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Rather than scar the Screen Actors Guild by her refusal, she voluntarily resigned from its Board of Directors and returned to the New York stage, where she had begun a distinguished career in the early 1930s.

Born into a comfortable New England family--her father was a stockbroker and a descendant of Paul Revere--she graduated from Wellesley College and worked in stock and repertory companies after studying at the American Laboratory School in New York.

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She made her Broadway debut in “The Great Barrington” in 1931 but it was not until 1934, when she portrayed Martha Dobie in Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour” that her talents were fully recognized.

The drama polarized audiences, dealing as it did with lesbianism, and Miss Revere moved to the forefront of legal action to keep it on the stage in Boston, where it had been banned by the mayor.

As it worked out, it was 36 years later that she starred in Hellman’s “Toys in the Attic,” playing an inflexible spinster opposite Maureen Stapleton and Jason Robards. Thr role brought her an Antoinette Perry award.

In 1939, after playing Celia in “As You Like It” and as one of “The Three Sisters” on Broadway, Miss Revere came back to Hollywood, where she had first appeared in 1934 in the film adaptation of her stage success “Double Door.”

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Until her defiance of the House committee, she worked steadily in such distinguished pictures as “The Howards of Virginia,” “Men of Boys Town,” “The Flame of New Orleans,” “The Keys of the Kingdom,” “Dragonwyck,” “You’re My Everything” and many more.

She became known for her stern countenance, which normally masked an understanding heart.

After her forced hiatus, she returned to the screen in 1970 in a bit part in “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon,” and in 1976 was featured in “Birch Interval.”

She also was seen occasionally in television guest roles and had a recurring part in the 1960s soap opera “A Time for Us.”

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Interviewed by The Times in connection with “Birch Interval,” a picture about a young girl’s confrontation with reality in the idyllic Amish countryside, she seemed to look back on her lengthy absence from Hollywood with little bitterness.

She acknowledged that during her years in films, “I got to know communists and communism (but) I knew it wasn’t for me. I’m a free-thinking Yankee rebel and nobody’s going to tell me what to do,” she said.

It was that defiant attitude, rather than her politics, she believed, that had gotten her in trouble with the House committee.


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