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Jane Alexander

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jane Alexander
Alexander in 2008
Jane Quigley

(1939-10-28) October 28, 1939 (age 83)
EducationSarah Lawrence College (BA)
University of Edinburgh
Years active1963–present
Robert Alexander
(m. 1962; div. 1974)

(m. 1975; died 2017)
ChildrenJace Alexander
RelativesMaddie Corman (daughter-in-law)
Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
In office
October 1993 – October 1997
Preceded byJohn Frohnmayer
Succeeded byKathryn Higgins

Jane Alexander (née Quigley; born October 28, 1939)[1] is an American actress and author. She is the recipient of two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, and nominations for four Academy Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. From 1993 to 1997, Alexander served as the chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Alexander won the 1969 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in the Broadway production of The Great White Hope. Other Broadway credits include 6 Rms Riv Vu (1972), The Night of the Iguana (1988), The Sisters Rosensweig (1993) and Honour (1998). She has received a total of eight Tony Award nominations and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1994.[2]

Her film breakthrough came with the romantic drama The Great White Hope (1970), which earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her subsequent Oscar nominations were for her roles in All the President's Men (1976), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), and Testament (1983). An eight-time Emmy nominee, she received her first nomination for playing Eleanor Roosevelt in Eleanor and Franklin (1976), a role that required her to age from 18 to 60. She has won two Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Playing for Time (1980) and Warm Springs (2005).

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Best Actress 1970, Part 2: Jane Alexander in "The Great White Hope"
  • Jane Alexander Academy Awards nominations
  • Interview with British Italian ACTRESS JANE ALEXANDER | BETWEEN 2 ITALIANS @BritaliansTV
  • Jane Alexander on Race & James Earl Jones
  • Interview: Actress Jane Alexander


Early life

Alexander was born Jane Quigley in Boston, Massachusetts, daughter of Ruth Elizabeth (née Pearson), a nurse, and Thomas B. Quigley, an orthopedic surgeon.[citation needed] She graduated from Beaver Country Day School, an all-girls school in Chestnut Hill outside of Boston, where she discovered her love of acting.[3]

Encouraged by her father to go to college before embarking on an acting career, Alexander attended Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, where she concentrated on theater, but also studied mathematics with an eye toward computer programming, in the event that she failed as an actress. Also while at Sarah Lawrence, she shared an apartment with Hope Cooke, who would become Queen Consort of the last king of Sikkim. Alexander spent her junior year studying at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she participated in the Edinburgh University Dramatic Society. The experience solidified her determination to continue acting.[3]


Alexander made her Broadway debut in 1963, replacing Phyllis Wynn as Sandy Dennis' standby in A Thousand Clowns. She reportedly performed the role a handful of times.[4] Alexander's major break in acting came in 1967 when she played Eleanor Backman in the original production of Howard Sackler's The Great White Hope at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. Like her co-star, James Earl Jones, she went on to play the part both on Broadway (1968), winning a Tony Award for her performance, and in the film version (1970), which earned her an Oscar nomination.[5] Alexander's additional screen credits include All the President's Men (1976), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), and Testament (1983), all of which earned her Oscar nods, Brubaker (1980), The Cider House Rules (1999), and Fur (2006), in which she played Gertrude Nemerov, mother of Diane Arbus, played in the film by Nicole Kidman.

The play The Time of Your Life was revived on March 17, 1972, at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Los Angeles with Alexander, Henry Fonda, Gloria Grahame, Lewis J. Stadlen, Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Thompson, Strother Martin, Richard X. Slattery, and Pepper Martin among the cast with Edwin Sherin directing.[6][7]

Alexander portrayed Eleanor Roosevelt in two television productions, Eleanor and Franklin (1976) and Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years (1977); she also played FDR's mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, in HBO's Warm Springs (2005) with Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon, a role which garnered her an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Alexander co-starred with Rachel Roberts in Steven Gether's teleplay and production of A Circle of Children (1977), based on Mary MacCracken's autobiographical book about emotionally disturbed children (with an emphasis on autism), which won Gether an Emmy. Alexander also starred in its sequel, Lovey: A Circle of Children, Part II (1978).

In 1979, the Supersisters trading card set was produced and distributed; one of the cards featured Alexander's name and picture.[8]

Alexander's other television films include Arthur Miller's Playing for Time, co-starring Vanessa Redgrave, for which Alexander won another Emmy Award; Malice in Wonderland (as famed gossip-monger Hedda Hopper); Blood & Orchids; and In Love and War (1987) co-starring James Woods, which tells the story of James and Sybil Stockdale during Stockdale's eight years as a US prisoner of war in Vietnam. Alexander also played the protagonist, Dr. May Foster, in the HBO drama series Tell Me You Love Me. Her character, a psychotherapist, serves as the connecting link between three couples coping with relational and sexual difficulties. The show's frank portrayal of "senior" sexuality and explicit sex scenes generated controversy, although it won a rare endorsement by the AARP. She also had a minor role as Dr. Graznik in The Ring.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Alexander chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts, the organization that had provided partial funding for The Great White Hope at Arena Stage. Alexander moved to Washington, DC, and served as chair of the NEA until 1997. Her book, Command Performance: an Actress in the Theater of Politics (2000), describes the challenges she faced heading the NEA at a time when the 104th U.S. Congress, headed by Newt Gingrich, unsuccessfully strove to shut it down.[3] She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999.[9]

In 2004, Alexander, together with her husband, Edwin Sherin, joined the theater faculty at Florida State University.[10] She serves on various boards, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, the National Audubon Society,[11] Project Greenhope, the National Stroke Association, and Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament, and she has received the Israel Cultural Award and the Helen Caldicott Leadership Award. Alexander is also a fellow of the International Leadership Forum.[12] In 2009 Alexander starred in Thom Thomas's play A Moon to Dance By at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was directed by her husband, Edwin Sherin.

Personal life

Alexander met her first husband, Robert Alexander, in the early 1960s in New York City, where both were pursuing acting careers. They had one son, Jace Alexander, in 1964, and the couple divorced a decade later. Alexander had been acting regularly in various regional theaters when she met producer/director Edwin Sherin in Washington, DC, where he was artistic director at Arena Stage. Alexander starred in the original theatrical production of The Great White Hope under Sherin's direction at Arena Stage prior to the play's Broadway debut. The two became good friends and, once divorced from their respective spouses,[citation needed] became romantically involved, marrying in 1975. Between the two, they have four children, Alexander's son Jace and Sherin's three sons, Tony, Geoffrey, and Jon.[3] Edwin Sherin died at the age of 87, on May 4, 2017.[13][14]


Alexander in the 1960s
Alexander in the 1960s


Year Title Role Notes
1970 The Great White Hope Eleanor Backman Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer – Female
Nominated—Golden Laurel Award Star of Tomorrow
1971 A Gunfight Nora Tenneray USA title Gunfight
1972 The New Centurions Dorothy Fehler a.k.a. Precinct 45: Los Angeles Police
1976 All the President's Men Judy Hoback Miller Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1978 The Betsy Alicia Hardeman a.k.a. Harold Robbins' The Betsy
1979 Kramer vs. Kramer Margaret Phelps Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)
1980 Brubaker Lillian Gray
1982 Night Crossing Doris Strelzyk
1983 Testament Carol Wetherly Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress (2nd place)
1984 City Heat Addy
1987 Sweet Country Anna a.k.a. Glykeia patrida (Greece)
1987 Square Dance Juanelle King a.k.a. Home Is Where the Heart Is (USA: TV title)
1989 Glory Sarah Blake Sturgis Shaw (uncredited)
1999 The Cider House Rules Nurse Edna Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2002 Sunshine State Delia Temple
2002 The Ring Dr. Grasnik
2006 Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus Gertrude Nemerov
2007 Feast of Love Esther Stevenson
2008 Gigantic Mrs. Weathersby
2009 The Unborn Sofi Kozma
2009 Terminator Salvation Virginia
2011 Dream House Dr. Greeley
2013 Mr. Morgan's Last Love Joan Morgan
2017 Three Christs Dr. Abraham


Year Title Role Notes
1969 N.Y.P.D. Episode "The Night Watch"
1969 Adam-12 Flo the Records Clerk Episode "Log 112: You Blew It" (uncredited)
1972 Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol Anne Palmer
1973 Miracle on 34th Street Karen Walker
1974 This Is the West That Was Sarah Shaw
1975 Death Be Not Proud Frances Gunther
1976 Eleanor and Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt, age 18–60 Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1977 A Circle of Children Mary MacCracken CBS two night mini-series adapted from Mary MacCracken's autobiographical book.
1977 Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years Eleanor Roosevelt Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1978 A Question of Love Barbara Moreland a.k.a. A Purely Legal Matter
1978 Lovey: A Circle of Children, Part II Mary MacCracken Two night mini-series adapted from Mary MacCracken's second autobiographical book.
1980 Playing for Time Alma Rose Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1981 Dear Liar Mrs. Patrick Campbell
1982 In the Custody of Strangers Sandy Caldwell
1984 When She Says No Nora Strangis
1984 Calamity Jane Martha Jane "Calamity Jane" Canary Bronze Wrangler Award for Fictional Television Drama
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1985 Malice in Wonderland Hedda Hopper a.k.a. The Rumor Mill
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1986 Blood & Orchids Doris Ashley
1987 In Love and War Sybil Stockdale
1988 A Friendship in Vienna Hannah Dournenvald Nominated—CableACE Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
1988 Open Admissions Ginny Carlsen
1990 Daughter of the Streets Peggy Ryan
1991 A Marriage: Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz Georgia O'Keeffe
1992 Stay the Night Blanche Kettman
1993 New Year Elsie Robertson
2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Regina Mulroney Episode: "Entitled"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress – Drama Series (also for Law & Order episode "Entitled: Part 2")
2000 Law & Order Regina Mulroney Episode: "Entitled: Part 2"
2001 Jenifer Marilyn Estess
2001 Bitter Winter
2004 Freedom: A History of Us Jane Addams Episode: "Yearning to Breathe Free"
2004 Carry Me Home Mrs. Gortimer Nominated—Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children/Youth/Family Special
2005 Warm Springs Sara Delano Roosevelt Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2006 The Way Helen Warden
2007 Tell Me You Love Me Dr. May Foster 10 episodes
2008 Louisa May Alcott Ednah Cheney
2011 Deck the Halls Nora Regan Reilly
2011–2015 The Good Wife Judge Suzanne Morris 5 episodes
2011 William & Catherine: A Royal Romance Queen Elizabeth II
2013–2014 The Blacklist Diane Fowler 4 episodes
2013 Forgive Me Bookie 5 episodes
2014 The Divide Elizabeth 2 episodes
2014–2016 Elementary C. 2 episodes
2015 The Book of Negroes Maria Witherspoon Episode #1.5
2015 Forever Nora Morgan Episode: "Social Engineering"
2017–2018 The Good Fight Judge Suzanne Morris 2 episodes
2019 Modern Love Margot Episode: "The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap"
2020 Tales From The Loop Klara 3 episodes


Date Production Role Notes
October 3, 1968 – January 31, 1970 The Great White Hope Eleanor Bachman Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
Theatre World Award
Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
October 17, 1972 – May 19, 1973 6 Rms Riv Vu Anne Miller Nominated—Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
December 13, 1973 – May 4, 1974 Find Your Way Home Jacqueline Harrison Nominated—Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
December 17, 1975 – January 25, 1976 Hamlet Gertrude
April 20, 1976 – May 9, 1976 The Heiress Catherine Sloper
October 3, 1978 – December 9, 1978 First Monday in October Judge Ruth Loomis Nominated—Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
April 23, 1980 – April 26, 1980 Goodbye Fidel Natalia
December 14, 1982 – December 18, 1982 Monday After the Miracle Annie
June 26, 1988 – September 4, 1988 The Night of the Iguana Maxine Faulk (revival)
November 11, 1990 – April 7, 1991 Shadowlands Joy Davidman
January 23, 1992 – March 1, 1992 The Visit Claire Zachanassian Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
Nominated—Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
March 18, 1993 – July 16, 1994 The Sisters Rosensweig Sara Goode Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
Nominated—Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
April 26, 1998 – June 14, 1998 Honour Honor Nominated—Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
December 23, 2019 – March 1, 2020 Grand Horizons Nancy Nominated—Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play


  1. ^ Edgar, Kathleen J., ed. (1998). Contemporary Theatre, Film & Television, Vol. 18. Gale Research. p. 16. ISBN 0-7876-2056-4.
  2. ^ "Jane Alexander – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB". Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Alexander, Jane. Command Performance: an Actress in the Theater of Politics. PublicAffairs, a member of the Perseus Book Group; New York, NY, 2000. ISBN 1-891620-06-1. pp1-16
  4. ^ Berg, Beatrice (July 25, 1971). "Mischief Becomes Her, Too (Published 1971)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Lawson,"Howard Sackler, 52, Playwright Who Won Pulitzer Prize, Dead;" NYT (The New York Times)
  6. ^ WorldCat. OCLC 611053954.
  7. ^ "Hollywood Beat". The Afro American. April 8, 1972. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  8. ^ Wulf, Steve (March 23, 2015). "Supersisters: Original Roster". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
  10. ^ "Office of Research: Research In Review: Portrait: Jane Alexander, Max Gunzberger". Archived from the original on July 30, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  11. ^ "Audubon Society flying high". July 19, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  12. ^ "Women's International Center (biographies)". Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (May 5, 2017). "'Law & Order' Director, DGA Official Ed Sherin Dies at 87". Variety. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  14. ^ Shanley, Patrick (May 5, 2017). "Edwin Sherin, Director of 'The Great White Hope' on Broadway and 'Law & Order,' Dies at 87". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 7, 2017.

Further reading

External links

Political offices
Preceded by Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
Succeeded by
Kathryn Higgins
This page was last edited on 29 March 2023, at 07:14
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