Yesterday saw the death of one of my favorite actresses, Patricia Neal, from lung cancer. A belief in Heaven might be comforting at this point, but for myself, I can’t help but think this planet got a little less awesome.
Neal’s performances have always struck me as profoundly internalized. The women she portrayed often seemed unwilling to betray their true feelings, and it was Neal’s ability to stay true to this, while at the same time radiating their deeper passions, that make her an endlessly rewarding study. I find I always want to see how she would play a role, given the chance.
Neal’s most famous roles were as the female lead, Helen, in the 1951 production of The Day the Earth Stood Still, and her performance as Alma in Hud, for which she won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Actress.