By Mary Giorgio
Best known as a successful actress both on Broadway and in Hollywood, Anne Baxter’s career spanned over 40 years. Baxter was one of several Hoosier entertainers to achieve mid-century fame, joining the likes of Carole Lombard and James Dean.
Baxter was born on May 7, 1923, in Michigan City, Indiana. Her mother Catherine was the daughter of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
When Baxter was 6, her family moved to New York. As a young girl, she enjoyed acting in school plays. At the age of 10, Baxter attended a Broadway production starring Helen Hayes. After seeing the performance, Baxter was sure she wanted to be an actress.
At age 13, Baxter starred in her first Broadway show. She was given a small role in the production, Seen But Not Heard. A few years later, Baxter moved to Hollywood. At age 16, she took a screen test for 20th Century Fox studios. Producers were impressed with her abilities and signed her to a 7-year contract. Soon, Baxter was starring in her first film, 20 Mule Team.
Throughout the 1940s, Baxter appeared in many films. In 1942, she was cast in the classic film, The Magnificent Ambersons. She was also cast in a number of World War II dramas, including The North Star (1943), The Sullivans (1944), and Sunday Dinner for a Soldier (1944).
The 1940s and 1950s were some of the most successful years of Baxter’s career. In 1947, she won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in the film, The Razor’s Edge. In 1951, Baxter was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for the film, All About Eve. In 1954, Baxter starred in the award-winning film, The Ten Commandments. She played the role of Egyptian princess, Nefertari.
During her career in Hollywood, Baxter starred opposite some of the most famous actors of her day. These men included William Holden, Clark Gable, Gregory Peck, Cornel Wilde, and Richard Widmark.
In 1946, Baxter married John Hodiak. The marriage was short-lived. The couple divorced in 1953 when their daughter was only two years old.
In 1960, Baxter received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That same year, she married her second husband, Randolph Galt. Baxter met Galt in Australia while filming the movie, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. They divorced in 1969.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Baxter spent much of her time working in television. She made numerous guest appearances and had a recurring role on the Batman series.
In 1977, Baxter married for the third time. Her marriage to David Klee only lasted a few short months. He died unexpectedly of an illness.
Baxter spent her last days acting on Broadway and making guest appearances on TV shows. She died from a stroke in 1985 at the age of 62.
Throughout her career, Baxter proved herself to be a versatile actress who could meet the demands of multiple genres. The Hoosier native is best remembered for her role in classic films, like All About Eve, The Magnificent Ambersons, and The Ten Commandments.