Patricia Bosworth, actor turned celebrity biographer, dies of coronavirus


Patricia Bosworth, known for her role opposite Audrey Hepburn in the 1959 film “The Nun’s Story,” her biographies of Hollywood luminaries and her own celebrated memoirs, died in Manhattan on April 2. She was 86.

Bosworth’s stepdaughter, Fia Hatsav, told the New York Times that the author died of pneumonia brought on by the novel coronavirus.

A member of the Actors Studio during its golden era under Lee Strasberg, Bosworth studied alongside Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Jane Fonda. In the 1950s and ‘60s, she appeared in a number of Broadway plays, including “Inherit the Wind,” along with such TV shows as “Naked City” and “The Patty Duke Show” and films.


During the 1960s, Bosworth gave up acting to become a journalist, writing for the New York Times and magazines including New York, Mirabella and Working Woman — largely about the entertainment business and the many luminaries she befriended at the Actors Studio. In 1994, then-editor Tina Brown hired her as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.

Bosworth also penned acclaimed biographies of Fonda, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and photographer Diane Arbus.

Her biography on Arbus served as the basis for the 2006 film “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus,” which starred Nicole Kidman.

“E.T.” and “Empire of the Sun” cinematographer Allen Daviau, jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz and music producer Hal Willner have all died from COVID-19.

May 21, 2020

The daughter of Bartley Crum, the famed attorney who defended the Hollywood Ten, screenwriters who refused to cooperate when subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and Anna Gertrude Bosworth, a crime reporter turned novelist, Bosworth was born in San Francisco in 1933.

Patricia Bosworth in 2017 and in 1979.
Patricia Bosworth in 2017 and in 1979 with her biography of Montgomery Clift.
(Andrew Coppa / Graham Bezant / Toronto Star via Getty Images)

In addition to her biographies of stars and artists, Bosworth wrote two memoirs, 1997’s “Anything Your Little Heart Desires” and 2017’s “The Men in My Life,” which chronicled her career and loves in the 1950s, along with the deaths of her father and brother, both by suicide.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.