"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Girl of the Day - Patricia Neal

Today's Girl of the Day, Patricia Neal, was one of the more prominent Pro-Life actresses in Hollywood, after returning to Catholicism as an adult.   As told in this article, her return to her faith occurred after years of regret stemming from an abortion she had when she was 21 and a young actress.  (The father, the actor Gary Cooper, was married and had a daughter and urged Neal to abort the child.  Later, the daughter forgave Neal and helped her rediscover faith, but only after chastising her that the baby she had aborted would have been her only sibling.   A sad story.)

Neal was married for years to Roald Dahl, the children's book author, and famously recovered from a stroke to return to acting.   For my money her best roles were as tough, world-weary 40ish women in the 1960s in movies like In Harm's Way and Hud.   And, with all due respect to other actresses, she had probably the greatest voice in movie history -- rough, raspy, tough, sexy, totally unique.   Here she is in a 1950 noir called The Breaking Point; needless to say, as a younger actress she was a pretty hot ticket:

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