Often cast as sensual, earth-mother type, Colleen made her appearance in Eugene O’Neill’s “Desire Under the Elms” in 1952, but won critical acclaim in the 1961 Broadway production of James Agee’s “A Death in the Family.”
Colleen’s first taste of school came at the age of six in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Not the most pleasant experience for the shy Canadian girl. Right from the start she was teased by her classmates, and often beat up. It was her father who taught her how to defend herself against the school bullies, sparring with her around the dining room. Needless to say, her newfound skills put a quick end to the beatings she had been receiving.
An only child, Colleen was a self-confessed “tomboy” during her school years, and she often joined the boys for a friendly game of baseball. In school her athletic talents moved her into position of Captain of the seventh-grade girls’ baseball team. She was also involved with playing kickball, and under her coaching, her team went on to win various tournaments.
Dewhurst’s first experience in acting was a disaster. While in high school she was cast in the role of Olivia in “Twelfth Night”, and an unfortunate incident with her inability to remove her veil left the audience howling with laughter and Colleen leaving the stage as red as a beet. She was sure she would never step on a stage again. Little did she know at the time, she would go on to win two Obies, two Tonys, and four Emmys during her illustrious career.
It was while Colleen was attending Milwaukee Downer College for Women that her mind about acting was changed. After entering a piece she wrote for a playwriting competition, casting it, then recasting herself in it, then winning the prize, Colleen knew her calling. She changed her studies, and with the encouragement and support of her mother, Colleen began her studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Her career had begun.
Colleen went on to study and eventually act in numerous plays, making her television debut in 1958’s “The Count Of Monte Cristo”. During her career, Colleen married fellow thespian George C. Scott, twice, with whom she had sons Alex and Campbell. Campbell is also an actor.
Sadly, on August 22nd, 1991, in South Salem, New York, after a fulfilling career in stage, television and film, Colleen Dewhurst passed away, leaving a huge void in the hearts of those who loved her: family, friends and fans…She will not be forgotten.