Lupino, Ida (1918-1995)

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Lupino, Ida (1918-1995)

An actress, director, and screenwriter of considerable reputation, Ida Lupino was born into a distinguished British theater family. After a less than satisfactory start in Hollywood as a blonde ingenue type, Lupino broke through with a strong performance in the drama The Light that Failed (1940). Signed by Warner Brothers, Lupino became famous for her roles as a hard-boiled, tough-luck dame, earning the moniker "the poor man's Bette Davis." She worked with the best directors (Raoul Walsh, Fritz Lang) and top co-stars (Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Olivia de Havilland). A striking brunette with a memorable voice, which she likened to "a fat man who's been drinking a lot," Lupino handled glamorous roles and drab character parts with equal ease. Her path-breaking career as a director and screenwriter of films and television received favorable critical reassessment. Lupino's droll persona and her versatility made her a popular performer with a long career.

—Mary Hess

Further Reading:

Cuthbert, David. "Feminist Femme Fatale." The Times-Picayune, March 26, 1998.

Donati, William. Ida Lupino: A Biography. Lexington, University Press of Kentucky, 1996.

Everitt, David. "A Woman Forgotten and Scorned No More." New York Times. November 23, 1997.

Kuhn, Annette, editor. Queen of the 'B's: Ida Lupino Behind the Camera. Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press, 1995.