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Ida Lupino


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Ida Lupino (4 February 1918 – 3 August 1995) was an English-born film actress and director, and a pioneer among women filmmakers. In her 48-year career, she appeared in 59 films and directed seven others, mostly in the United States. She appeared in serial television programmes 58 times and directed 50 other episodes. Additionally, she contributed as a writer to five films and four TV episodes.

Acting career

Lupino was born in 1918 into an English family of performers. Her father, Stanley Lupino, was a music-hall comedian, and her mother, Connie Emerald (1892–1959), was an actress. As a girl, Ida Lupino was encouraged to enter show business by both her parents and her uncle, Lupino Lane. She trained at RADA and made her first film appearance in The Love Race (1931), the next year making Her First Affaire. She spent the next several years playing minor roles. She moved to Hollywood in 1933.

Following her appearance in The Light That Failed (1939) Lupino began to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress. As a result, her parts improved during the 1940s, and she described herself as "the poor man's Bette Davis."

During this period, Lupino became known for her hard-boiled roles, as in such films as They Drive by Night (1940) and High Sierra (1941), both opposite Humphrey Bogart. For her performance in The Hard Way (1943), she won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress. She worked regularly and was in demand throughout the 1940s without becoming a major star until later. In 1947, Lupino left Warner Bros. to freelance. Notable films she appeared in around that time include Road House and On Dangerous Ground.

Directing career

In the mid-1940s, while on suspension for turning down a role, Lupino became interested in directing. She described herself as being bored on set while "someone else seemed to be doing all the interesting work." She and her husband Collier Young formed an independent company, The Filmakers, and Lupino became a producer, director and screenwriter of low-budget, issue-oriented films.

Her first directing job came unexpectedly in 1949 when Elmer Clifton suffered a mild heart attack and could not finish Not Wanted, the film he was directing for Filmakers. Lupino stepped in to finish the film and went on to direct her own projects, becoming Hollywood's only female film director of the time.

In an article for the Village Voice, Carrie Rickey wrote that Lupino was a model of modern feminist filmmaking, stating:

Not only did Lupino take control of production, direction and screenplay, but each of her movies addresses the brutal repercussions of sexuality, independence, and dependence.

After four "woman's" films about social issues – including Outrage (1950), a film about rape – Lupino directed her first hard-paced, fast-moving picture, The Hitch-Hiker (1953), making her the first woman to direct a film noir. Writer Richard Koszarski noted that:

Her films display the obsessions and consistencies of a true auteur... In her films The Bigamist and The Hitch-Hiker Lupino was able to reduce the male to the same sort of dangerous, irrational force that women represented in most male-directed examples of Hollywood film noir.

Lupino often joked that if she had been the "poor man's Bette Davis" as an actress, then she had become the "poor man's Don Siegel" as a director. In 1952, Lupino was invited to become the "fourth star" in Four Star Productions by Dick Powell, David Niven, and Charles Boyer, after Joel McCrea and Rosalind Russell had dropped out of the company.


Lupino continued acting throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Her directing efforts during these years were almost exclusively television productions such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller, The Twilight Zone, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Donna Reed Show, Gilligan's Island, 77 Sunset Strip, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, The Rifleman, The Virginian, Sam Benedict, The Untouchables, The Fugitive and Bewitched.

Lupino appeared in 19 episodes of Four Star Playhouse from 1952 to 1956. From January 1957 through September 1958, Lupino starred with her then husband, Howard Duff, in the CBS sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve, in which the duo played husband and wife film stars named Howard Adams and Eve Drake, living in Beverly Hills, California. Duff and Lupino also co-starred as themselves in 1959 in one of the 13 one-hour installments of The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour. Lupino guest-starred on numerous television programs, including The Ford Television Theatre (1954), The Twilight Zone (1959), Bonanza (1959), Burke's Law (1963–64), The Virginian (1963–65), Batman (1968), The Mod Squad (1969), Family Affair (1969–70), Columbo (1972–74), Barnaby Jones (1974), The Streets of San Francisco ("Blockade", 1974), Ellery Queen (1975), Police Woman (1975) and Charlie's Angels (1977), to name a few. She made her final film appearance in 1978 and retired at the age of 60.

Awards and homage

Lupino has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to the fields of television and motion pictures. They are located at 1724 Vine Street and 6821 Hollywood Boulevard. Lupino is the titular subject of a jazz homage composed by Carla Bley in 1964, originally for the album Turning Point.

Personal life

Lupino was born in Camberwell, London, (allegedly under a table during a World War I zeppelin raid) to actress Connie O'Shea (Connie Emerald) and music hall entertainer Stanley Lupino, a member of the theatrical Lupino family. Ida's birth year is 1918 and not 1914 as some biographies have claimed. Her sister Rita Lupino, born in 1920, became an actress and dancer. During World War II she served as a Lieutenant in the Women's Ambulance and Defense Corps.

Lupino was married and divorced three times.

Louis Hayward, actor (November 1938 - 11 May 1945)

Collier Young, producer (1948–1951)

Howard Duff, actor (October 1951 - 1984) with whom she had daughter Bridget Duff on 23 April 1952

In 1983, Lupino petitioned a California court to appoint her business manager, Mary Ann Anderson to become her Convervator due to poor business dealings from her prior business management company and her long separation form Howard Duff.

Lupino died from a stroke while undergoing treatment for colon cancer in Los Angeles in August 1995, at the age of 77. Lupino's memiors, Ida Lupino: Beyond the Camera, were edited after her death and published by Mary Ann Anderson.


Title Year As actress Role As director Notes

Film credits as actress and/or director

The Love Race 1931 Yes Minor supporting role

Her First Affaire 1932 Yes Anne

The Ghost Camera 1933 Yes Mary Fulton

High Finance 1933 Yes Jill

Money for Speed 1933 Yes Jane

I Lived with You 1933 Yes Ada Wallis

Prince of Arcadia 1933 Yes The Princess

Search for Beauty 1934 Yes Barbara Hilton

Come on Marines 1934 Yes Esther Smith-Hamilton

Ready for Love 1934 Yes Marigold Tate

Paris in Spring 1935 Yes Mignon de Charelle

Smart Girl 1935 Yes Pat Reynolds

Peter Ibbetson 1935 Yes Agnes

La Fiesta de Santa Barbara 1935 Yes Herself

Anything Goes 1936 Yes Hope Harcourt

One Rainy Afternoon 1936 Yes Monique Pelerin

Yours for the Asking 1936 Yes Gert Malloy

The Gay Desperado 1936 Yes Jane

Sea Devils 1937 Yes Doris Malone

Let's Get Married 1937 Yes Paula Quinn

Artists and Models 1937 Yes Paula Sewell/Paula Monterey

Fight for Your Lady 1937 Yes Marietta

The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt 1939 Yes Val Carson

The Lady and the Mob 1939 Yes Lila Thorne

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 1939 Yes Ann Brandon

The Light That Failed 1939 Yes Bessie Broke

Screen Snapshots Series 18, No. 6 1939 Yes Herself Promotional short film

They Drive by Night 1940 Yes Lana Carlsen

High Sierra 1940 Yes Marie

The Sea Wolf 1941 Yes Ruth Webster

Out of the Fog 1941 Yes Stella Goodwin

Ladies in Retirement 1941 Yes Ellen Creed

Moontide 1942 Yes Anna

Life Begins at Eight-Thirty 1942 Yes Kathy Thomas

Forever and a Day 1943 Yes Jenny

The Hard Way 1943 Yes Mrs. Helen Chernen

Thank Your Lucky Stars 1943 Yes Herself

In Our Time 1944 Yes Jennifer Whittredge

Hollywood Canteen 1944 Yes Herself

Pillow to Post 1945 Yes Jean Howard

Devotion 1946 Yes Emily Bronte

The Man I Love 1947 Yes Petey Brown

Deep Valley 1947 Yes Libby Saul

Escape Me Never 1947 Yes Gemma Smith

Road House 1948 Yes Lily Stevens

Lust for Gold 1949 Yes Julia Thomas

Not Wanted 1949 Yes

Never Fear 1949 Yes

Woman in Hiding 1950 Yes Deborah Chandler Clark

Outrage 1950 Yes Country Dance Attendee Yes

Hard, Fast and Beautiful 1951 Yes Seabright Tennis Match Supervisor Yes

On the Loose 1951 Yes Narrator

On Dangerous Ground 1952 Yes Mary Malden

Beware, My Lovely 1952 Yes Mrs. Helen Gordon

The Hitch-Hiker 1953 Yes

Jennifer 1953 Yes Agnes Langley

The Bigamist 1953 Yes Phyllis Martin Yes

Private Hell 36 1954 Yes Lilli Marlowe

Women's Prison 1955 Yes Amelia van Zandt

The Big Knife 1955 Yes Marion Castle

While the City Sleeps 1956 Yes Mildred Donner

Strange Intruder 1956 Yes Alice Carmichael

The Trouble with Angels 1966 Yes

Junior Bonner 1972 Yes Elvira Bonner

The Devil's Rain 1975 Yes Mrs. Preston

The Food of the Gods 1976 Yes Mrs. Skinner

Charlie's Angels 1977 Yes Gloria Gibson TV series

My Boys are Good Boys 1978 Yes Mrs. Morton





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