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Fay Bainter
Fay Bainter circa 1950s.jpg
Bainter in 1950
Fay Okell Bainter

(1893-12-07)December 7, 1893
Los Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
DiedApril 16, 1968(1968-04-16) (aged 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Occupation(s)Actress, Singer
Years active1910–1961
Known forJezebel
White Banners
State Fair
The Children's Hour
Reginald Venable
(m. 1921; died 1964)

Fay Okell Bainter (December 7, 1893 – April 16, 1968) was an American film and stage actress.[2] She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938) and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • 10 Things You Should Know About Fay Bainter
  • 10 Things You Should Know About Fay Bainter
  • Hattie McDaniel winning Best Supporting Actress: 12th Oscars (1940)
  • Maryland (1940) Drama - Walter Brennan, Fay Bainter


Early life

Portrait of Fay Bainter by Robert Henri (1918)
Portrait of Fay Bainter by Robert Henri (1918)

Bainter was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Charles F. Bainter and Mary Okell.


Fay Bainter in Jezebel (1938).
Fay Bainter in Jezebel (1938).

Bainter made her first appearance on stage in 1908 in The County Chairman at Morosco's Theater in Burbank, California. In 1910, she was a traveling stage actress. Her Broadway debut was in the role of Celine Marinter in The Rose of Panama (1912). P. G. Wodehouse, reviewing Turn to the Right in Vanity Fair in 1916, wrote, "Miss Bainter's advent from nowhere and her instant success form the season's biggest sensation."[3] She appeared in a number of successful plays in New York, such as East Is West, The Willow Tree, and Dodsworth. In 1926, she appeared with Walter Abel in a Broadway production of Channing Pollock's The Enemy. MGM persuaded her to try films and her movie debut was in This Side of Heaven (February 1934). Also in 1934, she appeared in Dodsworth on Broadway and in the film It Happened One Day. Bainter quickly achieved success in the movies, and in 1938 she became the first performer nominated in the same year for both the Academy Award for Best Actress for White Banners (1938) and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938), winning for the latter. In 1940, she played Mrs. Gibbs in the film production of the Thornton Wilder play Our Town. In 1945, she played Melissa Frake in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical State Fair. She was again nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Children's Hour (1961).

Bainter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.[4]

Personal life

Fay Bainter and Reginald Venable were married on June 8, 1921, in Riverside, California.[5] Cmdr. Reginald Venable was a United States Navy officer who graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1913. He resigned from the Navy in 1925 as a Lieutenant Commander to manage his wife's business affairs. He had been a real-estate operator.[citation needed] The couple had one son, Reginald Venable Jr., who became an actor.

Bainter was the aunt of actress Dorothy Burgess.[citation needed]

Bainter and Venable are interred at Arlington National Cemetery.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1934 This Side of Heaven Francene Turner
1937 Quality Street Susan Throssel
1937 The Soldier and the Lady Strogoff's Mother
1937 Make Way for Tomorrow Anita Cooper
1938 White Banners Hannah Parmalee Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
1938 Jezebel Aunt Belle Massey Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1938 Mother Carey's Chickens Mrs. Margaret Carey
1938 The Arkansas Traveler Mrs. Martha Allen
1938 The Shining Hour Hannah Linden
1939 Yes, My Darling Daughter Ann "Annie" Murray
1939 The Lady and the Mob Hattie Leonard
1939 Daughters Courageous Nancy "Nan" Masters
1939 Our Neighbors – The Carters Ellen Carter
1940 Young Tom Edison Mrs. Samuel (Nancy) Edison
1940 Our Town Mrs. Julia Hersey Gibbs
1940 A Bill of Divorcement Margaret "Meg" Fairfield
1940 Maryland Charlotte Danfield
1941 Babes on Broadway Miss "Jonesy" Jones
1942 Woman of the Year Ellen Whitcomb
1942 The War Against Mrs. Hadley Stella Hadley
1942 Journey for Margaret Trudy Strauss
1942 Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch Mrs. Elvira Wiggs
1943 The Human Comedy Mrs. Macauley
1943 Presenting Lily Mars Mrs. Thornway
1943 Salute to the Marines Jennie Bailey
1943 Cry 'Havoc' Captain Alice Marsh
1944 The Heavenly Body Margaret Sibyll
1944 Dark Waters Aunt Emily
1944 Three Is a Family Frances Whittaker
1945 State Fair Melissa Frake
1946 The Kid from Brooklyn Mrs. E. Winthrop LeMoyne
1946 The Virginian Mrs. Taylor
1947 Deep Valley Ellie Saul
1947 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Mrs. Eunice Mitty
1948 Give My Regards to Broadway Fay Norwick
1948 June Bride Paula Winthrop
1951 Close to My Heart Mrs. Morrow
1953 The President's Lady Mrs. Donaldson
1961 The Children's Hour Mrs. Amelia Tilford Laurel Award for Top Female Supporting Performance (2nd place)
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1946 Suspense 180/"The Lucky Lady"
1952 Theatre Guild on the Air "The Search"[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Fay Bainter". The Montreal Gazette. April 18, 1968. p. 35.
  2. ^ Obituary Variety, April 24, 1968.
  3. ^ P. G. Wodehouse. "Our Slack and Slothful Playwrights". Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  4. ^ "Fay Bainter". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on February 18, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2022.
  5. ^ Los Angeles Times, November 24, 1921, "Marriage Of Star Is Declared – Wedding of Fay Bainter and Navy Man Revealed by Mother of Actress", p. 17.
  6. ^ Patterson, Michael Robert. "Fay Okell Bainter – Navy Spouse & Actress". Arlington National Cemetery. Archived from the original on December 29, 2003. Retrieved October 7, 2022.
  7. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via open access

Further reading

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Fay Bainter". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 22–25. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 June 2023, at 12:56
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