Sandy Dennis

Actor, Acting teacher
Method-trained critics' darling of the 1960s who first made her name on Broadway with Tony Award-winning performances in "A Thousand Clowns" (1962) and "Any Wednesday" (1964). Dennis' high-pitched, neurotic style lent ... Read more »
Born: 04/26/1937 in Hastings, Nebraska, USA


Actor (25)

The Indian Runner 1991 (Movie)

Mother (Actor)

976-EVIL 1989 (Movie)

Aunt Lucy (Actor)

Parents 1989 (Movie)

Millie Drew (Actor)

The Equalizer 1985 - 1989 (TV Show)


Another Woman 1988 (Movie)

Claire (Actor)

The Execution 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)


Wilson's Reward 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)


The Four Seasons 1981 (Movie)

Anne Callan (Actor)

The Animals Film 1980 (Movie)


Nasty Habits 1977 (Movie)

Sister Winifred (Actor)

God Told Me To 1976 (Movie)

Martha Nicholas (Actor)

Mr. Sycamore 1973 (Movie)

Jane Gwilt (Actor)

Something Evil 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)


The Man Who Wanted to Live Forever 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)


The Out-of-Towners 1970 (Movie)

Gwen Kellerman (Actor)

That Cold Day in the Park 1969 (Movie)

Frances Austen (Actor)

Sweet November 1968 (Movie)

Sara Deever (Actor)

The Fox 1967 (Movie)

Jill Banford (Actor)

Up the Down Staircase 1967 (Movie)

Sylvia Barrett (Actor)

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? 1966 (Movie)

Honey (Actor)

The Three Sisters 1963 (Movie)

Irina (Actor)

Splendor in the Grass 1961 (Movie)

Kay (Actor)

Perfect Gentlemen (TV Show)


The Trouble With Mother (TV Show)



Method-trained critics' darling of the 1960s who first made her name on Broadway with Tony Award-winning performances in "A Thousand Clowns" (1962) and "Any Wednesday" (1964). Dennis' high-pitched, neurotic style lent itself to quirky, eccentric roles in films such as "Splendor in the Grass" (1961, her debut). Her memorable performance as the irritating yet vulnerable young faculty wife in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (1967) earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and her portrayal of an idealistic teacher in an inner-city school in "Up the Down Staircase" (1967) won her a Best Actress accolade from the Moscow Film Festival.

Dennis turned in some fine performances in later films, notably "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" (1982) and, in a hilarious cameo, Bob Balaban's overlooked "Parents" (1989). She made her final onscreen cameo as the wife of Charles Bronson in Sean Penn's directorial debut, "The Indian Runner" (1991), before her death the following year from ovarian cancer at age 54.


Yvonne Dennis


Frank Dennis


Jack Dennis


Gerry Mulligan

together June 1965 until 1976

Gerald O'Loughlin

lived together seven years

Eric Roberts Actor



University of Nebraska

Omaha , Nebraska
attended one semester

Actors Studio

New York , New York

went to high school in Lincoln, Nebraska; classmate was talk show host Dick Cavett

studied acting with Herbert Berghof in New York

Nebraska Wesleyan University

Lincoln , Nebraska
attended one semester



Regular role in TV series, "The Equalizer"


TV acting debut, "A Hatful of Rain"


Appeared in legendary Actors Studio production of "The Three Sisters" with Kim Stanley and Geraldine Page; production was taped for television


Screen acting debut in "Splendor in the Grass"


Broadway debut, "Face of a Hero" at the O'Neill Theater


Stage debut, "Bus Stop" at the Royal Poinciana Playhouse, Palm Beach, Florida

Began acting in high school

Moved to New York City at age 19

First New York stage production, "The Lady From the Sea"

Joined Lincoln Community Theater Group

Grew up in Kenesaw and Lincoln, Nebraska

Bonus Trivia


"I think the mannerisms offended a tremendous number of people. They were due to the fact that I didn't know what I was doing." --Sandy Dennis quoted in "Earl Blackwell's Celebrity Register 1991"


"Like Geraldine Page, an Actors Studio cohort ... Dennis was an extremely mannered performer--lunging with studied reluctance into her characters--yet out of her theatrical busywork often came recognizable truths. ... She knew the trick of standing out in a crowd and still staying a part of it. It was a delicate art." --Harry Haun in Daily News, appreciation, March 5, 1992.


Once championed by Walter Kerr for her natural and sensitive stage performances in the early 1960s, Dennis had fallen out of the critic's favor by 1967 when he criticized her habit of speaking onstage as through sentences "were poor crippled things that couldn't cross a street without making three false starts from the curb." --quoted in The New York Times obituary, March 5, 1992.


"She has made an acting style out of post-nasal drip." --critic Pauline Kael on Dennis


A longtime animal lover, Dennis left 33 cats and three dogs upon her death and a Sandy Dennis Memorial Animal Care Fund was established.