1932 Was A Magical Year for Women

A few weeks ago the news reported that Elizabeth Taylor had been hospitalized for congestive heart failure. Her age was listed as 78 – born February 27, 1932. 

This got me to thinking about other women born in 1932 – and so I did a bit of research and what a Magical Year that was for the birth of notable women.

 Of course, after Elizabeth Taylor, the next woman that comes to mind is Debbie Reynolds – born April 1, 1932. Taylor stole Reynolds’s husband, Eddie Fisher, right after Mike Todd died. Of course, the nation sided with Reynolds and made Taylor out to be the person who broke up the Reynolds-Fisher marriage. Fisher left Reynolds and his two children to be with, and eventually marry, Taylor. Of course that marriage didn’t last and Taylor went on to marry Richard Burton. Reynolds had 2 other marriages.  So far she has outlived 2 of her ex-husbands. Taylor has been married 8 times (having 4 children), twice to Burton, and has outlived all but 2 of her ex-husbands.

 Reynolds is still appearing in Las Vegas several times a year, still singing and dancing. Recently she has started to sell her famous Hollywood Costume Collection so she can raise money for her “old age”. Though I can’t conceive of Reynolds ever being “old”.

 Piper Laurie was a beautiful redhead of Polish-Russian heritage. Born Rosetta Jacobs on January 22, 1932 she became an ingénue with Universal Studios when she was only 17. However, after a while she found herself being cast in the same boring role after boring role and left Hollywood for New York where she studied acting and worked in television. She played opposite Paul Newman in “The Hustler” and was nominated for an Academy Award for that role. In 1976 she received her second Oscar nomination for supporting actress as the mother of “Carrie”. Her third Oscar Nomination came in 1986 Laurie was only married and divorced once and has one child.

 One of my favorite actress is Geraldine McEwan – born May 9, 1932. Married only once, her husband died in 2002.  McEwan is one of the British Acting Gems that were born in 1932.  Not well known in America, she has starred on TV as Miss Jane Marple, in the series “Marple” and as Lucia in the hit comedy series “Mapp and Lucia”. If you haven’t had a chance to view these two British Series, you have missed some great acting and stories. Her co-star in “Mapp and Lucia” was another great British Acting Gem, Prunella Scales, born June 22, 1932.  Most Americans will remember Scales as the long-suffering wife of Basil Fawlty in the hit comedy series “Fawlty Towers”.  Watching her as Sybil Fawlty and then as Elizabeth Mapp – you have the opportunity to see a very gifted actress in two very diverse roles. Scales is married to the British Actor Timothy West and is the mother of two actors, Joseph West and Timothy West.

 The great beauty Anouk Aimée was born Françoise Sorya Dreyfus on April 27,1932. One of her most classic movies was “La Dolce Vita”. My favorite movie of all times is “A Man and a Woman” and its sequel “A Man and a Woman, 20 Years Later” Aimée has been married and divorced 4 times – including a marriage to the British Actor, Albert Finney.  She has one child. And has outlived several of her husbands.  My favorite quote of hers is “You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older”.

My husband loves to watch the British Actress, Phyllida Law, born May 8, 1932. Not only is she a lovely and accomplished actress in her own right, but she is also the mother of Emma Thompson. She has appeared in the television series, “Agatha Christie’s Poirot”, “Midsommer Murders”, “Foyle’s War”, “Rosemary and Thyme” and with her daughter in several movies. She is marvelously to watch, her beauty is exceptional and her voice is like velvet.

But acting is not the only profession that includes women born in 1932. Loretta Lynn, born April 14, 1932, is an American  country music singer, author, business woman, and philanthropist. Born in Kentucky to a coal miner father in a large family, Lynn married at 13 years old, was a mother soon after and moved to Washington State with her husband, Oliver Vanetta Lynn. Married nearly 50 years before his death in 1996, their marriage was sometimes turbulent, but their experiences together became the inspiration for her music.

Writer and biographer, Antonio Fraser, was born August 27, 1932. She is the daughter of Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longtord (1905-2001) and Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford (1906-2002). As the daughter of an Earl she is customarily addressed formally as “Lady Antonia”. In 1956 she married Sir Hugh Fraser, who was 14 years older than she is and a friend of the Kennedys. They had 6 children all of whom are also writers and biographers. In 1977 Fraser divorced her husband, by that time she had been living with the famous playwright, Harold Pinter for 2 years. In 1980 she and Pinter were finally married. Pinter died in 2008. A major work of Fraser’s was “Mary, Queen of Scots”, and this brought her to the general public’s attention.  As of now she has written at least 16 works of non-fiction and 10 Jemima Shore Detective Novels. My favorite book of her is “Scottish Love Poems” which I read so much I had it bound in leather.

 Several women born in 1932 have died, some by suicide, but they all lead extraordinary lives.

I can never forget the actress, Peggy Ann Garner, born February 3, 1932. Garner gained fame as a child actress in the movie “A Tree Goes in Brooklyn” (1945) and won a special Oscar for her performance in that film.  But my favorite movie of hers was, and will forever be, “Junior Miss”. When I was a pre-teen, living in Los Angeles, this movie was shown on television and I fell in love with it. I wanted to be Judy, I wanted to have her life, I wanted her black purse, I wanted her Christmas, and so on. I have never found this movie on any VHS Tape or DVD, but it does play from time to time on Turner Class Movies and I watch it whenever I can. Garner was married 3 times, once to the very fine actor, Albert Salmi, who was the father of her only child. That daughter died just a short time after Garner’s death in 1984.

Sheree North, born January 17, 1932 – died November 4, 2005. Married 4 times – she had 2 daughters. She played Kramer’s mother on “Seinfeld” and won several Emmy nominations for her work in television.

Pier Angeli and Marisa Pavan were twins born on June 19, 1932. Angeli appeared opposite Paul Newman in “Nobody Up There Likes Me” Married twice, once to Vic Damone, Angeli and James Dean wanted to marry but her mother was against because of Dean’s behavior and arranged her marriage to Vic Damone. Angeli stated that Dean was the only man she every really loved. Angeli died in of a drug overdose in 1971.Her sister, Marisa Pavan, still living and also an actress, was married to one of France’s greatest actor, Jean-Pierre Aumont, from March 1956 until his death in 2001. Pavan appeared in many American Television Shows, and both of her sons, Jean Claude Aumont and Patrick Aumont are actors working in France. She won a Best Supporting Actress Nomination for her work in “The Rose Tattoo”.

Sylvia Plath, born October 27, 1932, was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. In 1956 she married fellow poet, Ted Hughes. They became the parents of 2 children, but the marriage did not survive. Plath suffered from clinical depression and 5 months after Plath and Hughes separated she committed suicide by placing her head in a gas oven, and turning it on. Her children were, at the time, just babies. She was the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize posthumously for “The Collected Poem’s.

A few others that share this birth year are: Dian Fossey, zoologist (Gorillas in the Mist);  Keely Smith, American singer (Mrs Louie Prima); Miriam Makeba, Johannesburg South Africa, singer (Grammy Winner 1965); Barbara Feldon, American actress and model – TV Series “Get Smart”; Jayne Mansfield, actress and the mother of Mariska Hagerty of “Law and Order”; Elaine May comedienne/writer/actress; Della Reese, singer/actress; Ellen Burstyn, Detroit, actress (Exorcist, Alice Doesn’t Live Here); and Patsy Cline, Winchester Va, country singer, to name but a few. Recognize any of the names?

Well, this is just a short list of these remarkable women all born in 1932. It is certainly not complete, but it will give you a small sampling of how your birth year can often determine your life.

If you want to see some extremely wonderful older women, check out the web site Advanced Style. These are women, still living into their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, who haven’t allowed age to change them. If anything they have become more vibrant, more alive, more colorful. They make me feel old just by their energy and interest in life. Visit the site and let me know how they make you feel.

 “It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides.”
George Sands (1804 – 1876)

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