Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Jones, Jennifer

JONES, JENNIFER (1919–2009).

Actor Phyllis Isley, known to movie fans as Jennifer Jones, was born into the theatrical world in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 2, 1919. She was the daughter of Flora Suber and Phillip R. Isley. Her father was a theatrical producer, and after the 1929 stock market crash he acquired a string of movie houses. Phyllis made her stage debut at age five and became a "star" in school plays at Monte Cassino, graduating from high school in 1936. After studying at Northwestern University and at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, she and her new husband, Robert Walker, came back to Tulsa and performed in radio dramas on KOME.

In 1939 the duo went to Hollywood, and Phyllis tested with Republic Pictures. Her first film, Frontier Horizon, came in 1939 and her second, Dick Tracy's G-Men (based on the character created by Oklahoma cartoonist Chester Gould), in 1940. The family moved back to New York and soon included sons Robert, Jr., and Michael.

After testing for David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures, Phyllis Isley began a stellar career as Jennifer Jones. He cast her in The Song of Bernadette (1943), earning her an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Subsequent films Duel in the Sun (released 1946), Love Letters (1945), and Love Is A Many Splendored Thing (1955) also brought Oscar nominations. Some of her most memorable performances came in Portrait of Jennie (1948) and A Farewell to Arms (1957).

In 1949 Jennifer Jones married Selznick and temporarily retired. The couple had a daughter. After Selznick's untimely death in 1965, Jones returned to films. Her credits include Cult of the Damned (1969) and The Towering Inferno (1974). In 1971 she married businessman and famed art collector Norton Simon. Jennifer Jones Simon remained involved in charitable activities and was president of Pasadena's Norton Simon Museum. She died on December 17, 2009.

Dianna Everett

See also: FILM IMAGES OF OKLAHOMA

Bibliography

Edward Z. Epstein, Portrait of Jennifer: A Biography of Jennifer Jones (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995).

Leonard Maltin, Spencer Green, and Luke Sader, Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia (New York: Penguin Books, 1994).

Dirk Mathison, "Jennifer Jones Has Spent Millions to Put the Best Art Collection West of Chicago Back on the Map," Los Angeles Magazine (November 1998).

Larry O'Dell, comp., Oklahoma @ the Movies (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 2012).

David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film (3d ed.; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995).

Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 15 March 1944.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dianna Everett, "Jones, Jennifer," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed December 10, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia