Thursday, May 6, 2010
Mary Astor began her movie career as a teenager in the silent movies of the early 1920s and made a successful transition to talkies. Astor, won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Sandra Kovak in, The Great Lie (1941).
She gave a wonderful performance as the selfish, concert pianist, who gives up her child. Davis wanted Astor cast in the role after watching her screen test and seeing her play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.
She then wanted Astor to help with her on rewriting the script. Astor followed Davis's advice and wore a bobbed hairdo for the role. The soundtrack of the movie during the scenes where she plays with violent hand movements on the piano, was actually played by pianist Max Rabinovitch. Davis stepped back to allow Astor to shine. Astor and Davis became good friends.
After The Great Lie (1941), Astor was signed on to a MGM contract through most of the 1940s and continued to act in movies, television and stage until her retirement in 1964. Astor was the author of five novels. Her autobiography became a bestseller, as did her book, A Life on Film, which was about her career.