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Fay Bainter
Fay Bainter in Jezebel trailer.jpg
in Jezebel (1938)
Fay Okell Bainter

(1893-12-07)December 7, 1893
Died April 16, 1968(1968-04-16) (aged 74)
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Occupation Actress, Singer
Years active 1910–1961
Reginald Venable
(m. 1921; his death 1964)
, 1 son

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

Early life

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

She was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Charles F. Bainter and Mary Okell. In 1910, she was a traveling stage actress. She made her first appearance on stage in 1908 in The County Chairman at Morosco's Theater in Burbank, California and her Broadway debut was in the role of Celine Marinter in The Rose of Panama (1912). She appeared in a number of successful plays in New York like 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), the same year she appeared in Dodsworth on Broadway and in the film It Happened One Day (July 1934). Bainter quickly achieved success, 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. Since then, only eleven other actors have won dual nominations in the same year. 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). In 1962, Fay appeared as a guest star on The Donna Reed Show.

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.

Personal life

Fay Bainter and Reginald Venable married on June 8, 1921 in Riverside, California. The couple had one son, Reginald Venable Jr. (1926–1974), who became an actor. Bainter was the aunt of actress Dorothy Burgess.

Reginald Venable was a United States Navy officer. The couple are interred at Arlington National Cemetery.


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 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1938 Mother Carey's Chickens Mrs. Margaret Carey
1938 The Arkansas Traveler Mrs. Martha Allen
1938 Shining Hour, TheThe 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 Bill of Divorcement, AA 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 War Against Mrs. Hadley, TheThe War Against Mrs. Hadley Stella Hadley
1942 Journey for Margaret Trudy Strauss
1942 Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch Mrs. Elvira Wiggs
1943 Human Comedy, TheThe Human Comedy Mrs. Macauley
1943 Presenting Lily Mars Mrs. Thornway
1943 Salute to the Marines Jennie Bailey
1943 Cry 'Havoc' Captain Alice Marsh
1944 Heavenly Body, TheThe Heavenly Body Margaret Sibyll
1944 Dark Waters Aunt Emily
1944 Three Is a Family Frances Whittaker
1945 State Fair Melissa Frake
1946 Kid from Brooklyn, TheThe Kid from Brooklyn Mrs. E. Winthrop LeMoyne
1946 Virginian, TheThe Virginian Mrs. Taylor
1947 Deep Valley Ellie Saul
1947 Secret Life of Walter Mitty, TheThe 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 President's Lady, TheThe President's Lady Mrs. Donaldson
1961 Children's Hour, TheThe 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
1952 Theatre Guild on the Air "The Search"

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Fay Bainter para niños

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