We’ve lost yet another great Hollywood star. Patricia Neal, born Patsy Louise Neal on 20 January 1926, died yesterday at the age of 84. She died of lung cancer, but is best known for her battle back after 3 strokes in 1965. Her then husband Ronald Dahl was a major part of her recovery. She was the mother 5 children, although that part of her life wasn’t without drama either. Her and Ronald Dahl’s son was hit by a taxi in NYC and a daughter died at age 7 from complications from measles. One of the biggest controversies in her life was her affair with Gary Cooper. It lasted for several years and he forced her to have an abortion.
Through all this, Patricia remained an essential part of Hollywood. The roles that I remember her most for are “Hud” and her 2 roles in the John Wayne movies “Operation Pacific” and “In Harm’s Way”. Her voice set her apart from all the other actresses at that time. She had such a simple beauty about her. Almost like she didn’t even know she was pretty.
Of course, I will never forget her as Olivia Walton in the tv movie “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story”. I watched that movie faithfully every year they played it. It was at the top of my movie list when it came out on DVD. She was made to play the simple woman that Olivia was.
She had many other good….even great parts. Those are just the ones that stand out the most to me. It makes me so sad that we’re losing so many of these fantastic stars. Our stars of today just can’t compare. I’ll surely miss Patricia Neal, but can be satisfied in knowing that she’s at peace now and is with her daughter….and having an even greater role than she did on the stage or screen.
R.I.P. Patsy (Patricia) Neal!!