One of the most natural beauties of the 1960s with a gentle voice andpersonality to match, blonde Hope Lange was born in Redding Ridge,Connecticut, and performed on stage from the age of nine. She studiedboth drama and dance under 'Martha Graham' , did some modeling andthen worked in stock companies and on television, dancing on'Jackie Gleason (I)' shows. She acted in just a handful of motionpictures, garnering an Academy Award nomination for one, and later wontwo Emmys for her best-loved role on television. Hope was one of four children of an actress mother, upon whose shouldersfell the responsibility of supporting the family after the prematuredeath of her father, the composer/arranger John Lange, in 1942.
Alongwith her siblings, she worked as a waitress in the family's GreenwichVillage restaurant, 'Minette's of Washington Square'. By chance, shemade the acquaintance of 'Eleanor Roosevelt' , who owned anapartment in the village, and ended up walking the former First Lady'sprized Scotch terrier, Fala. This got her photo into a newspaper,which, in turn, led to an advertising job with pictures on the June1949 cover of 'Radio-Electronics', sporting the futuristic red 'Manfrom Mars' pith helmet with built-in radio. Still just fifteen yearsold, Hope spent the next two years at college in Oregon and New York,then found her first job in television and was subsequently signed by20th Century-Fox. After successful screen tests, Lange made her motion picture debut in Bus Stop (1956) ('Barbara Eden' was one of her competitorsfor the part) opposite 'Marilyn Monroe' and husband-to-be'Don Murray (I)' .
Even the great Marilyn was said to have felt alittle threatened by another blonde who was not only beautiful but fiveyears younger and could act as well. After playing the wife of thetitular character in The True Story of Jesse James (1957) , apicture which she later referred to as a 'turkey', Lange was cast asthe fragile Selena Cross in the melodramatic but good-looking soapopera Peyton Place (1957) . This movie was regarded as risqué andcontroversial at the time, dealing with previously taboo subjects suchas rape and incest. For her part of the abused girl, raped by heralcoholic stepfather, whom she finally kills in self-defense, Langereceived an Academy Award nomination. The glossy production values of The Best of Everything (1959) , afilm about ambitious New York career women working in a magazinepublishing house, overshadowed most of the character development.
However, Lange (who was billed above the established star'Joan Crawford (I)' ) was dealt with most favorably by the critics. According to 'Bosley Crowther' of The New York Times: "Simplybecause she has the most to do, and does it gracefully, Miss Langecomes off best' (October 9,1959). The following decade was to be aperiod of mixed fortunes for Hope Lange. In 1961, Lange began a long-standing relationship with fellow actor'Glenn Ford (I)' and left husband 'Don Murray (I)' . Ford, inhis dual role of star and associate producer, put pressure on director'Frank Capra' to cast Lange as the female lead in his next motionpicture, the whimsical 'Damon Runyon' -inspired comedy Pocketful of Miracles (1961) , even though'Shirley Jones (I)' had already been assigned to the role.
Caprareluctantly gave way, though Hope Lange was likely miscast as thewisecracking showgirl. Lange again co-starred with Ford in the glossyromantic melodrama Love Is a Ball (1963) , wherein acting took aback seat to sumptuous costumes and the French Riviera. On the negativeside of the ledger, Lange had unsuccessfully auditioned for the part ofMaria in West Side Story (1961) , which ultimately went to'Natalie Wood (I)' . Instead, she was cast as'Elvis Presley' 's psychiatrist in Wild in the Country (1961) , which was generally panned bycritics, except for Variety singling out her performance above the restas 'intelligent' and 'sensitive'. Lange was also slated to appear aslove interest to 'George Peppard' in How the West Was Won (1962) , but her scenes ended up on thecutting room floor.
Turning increasingly towards television, Hope Lange achieved her mostlasting fame as the popular star of the amiable sitcom "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir" (1968) as a widow who (with two kids anda housekeeper) takes up residence in a quaint cottage also inhabited bythe cantankerous ghost of a sea captain ('Edward Mulhare' ). Theshow ran for three seasons and Lange won two Emmy Awards forOutstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in aComedy Series (1969 and 1970). In her only other recurring TV role, sheplayed 'Dick Van Dyke' 's wife in "The New Dick Van Dyke Show" (1971) , but with less rewardingresults. She received good notices for portraying'Charles Bronson (I)' 's dying wife, the victim of the original Death Wish (1974) and its raison d'etre.
She then actedprimarily on television, with few exceptions, including Blue Velvet (1986) and Clear and Present Danger (1994) asa U. S. senator. In 1977, she replaced Tony Award-winning'Ellen Burstyn' in the starring role of Doris in 'Same Time, NextYear' on Broadway. In the early '90s, Lange underwent surgery for a brain tumour.
While theoperation was successful, her health remained precarious and shelimited her screen appearances, retiring altogether in 1998. She diedof an intestinal infection in December 2003, aged 70. .
|1||Ford: The Man and the Machine||1987||as Clara Ford|
|2||Hollywood: The Great Stars||1963||as Millie Mehaffey|
|3||In Love and War||1958||as Andrea Lenaine Kantaylis|
|4||Love Is a Ball||1963||as Millicent 'Millie' Mehaffey|
|5||NBC 60th Anniversary Celebration||1986||as Herself|
|6||The 76th Annual Academy Awards||2004||as Herself (Memorial Tribute)|
|7||The New Dick Van Dyke Show||1971||as Jenny Preston|
|8||Whats My Line?||1950||as Herself - Mystery Guest Duo|
|10||A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddys Revenge||1985||as Cheryl Walsh|
|11||Before He Wakes||1998||as Helen Rawlings|
|12||Blue Velvet||1986||as Mrs. Williams|
|13||Bus Stop||1956||as Elma Duckworth|
|14||Clear and Present Danger||1994||as Senator Mayo|
|15||Cooperstown||1993||as Cassie Willette|
|16||Crowhaven Farm||1970||as Maggie Porter|
|17||Cyrano De Bergerac||1962||as Roxane|
|18||Dead Before Dawn||1993||as Virginia DeSilva|
|19||Death Wish||1974||as Joanna Kersey|
|20||Fer-de-Lance||1974||as Elaine Wedell|
|21||Frank Capras American Dream||1997||as Herself|
|22||Hazards People||1976||as Mrs. DeLacy|
|23||Hedda Hoppers Hollywood||1960||as Herself|
|24||Hollywood My Home Town||1965||as Herself|
|25||Hollywood Without Make-Up||1963||as Herself|
|26||I Am the Cheese||1983||as Betty Farmer|
|27||I Love You... Good-bye||1974||as Karen Chandler|
|28||Jigsaw||1968||as Helen Atterbury|
|29||Josh, the Logan Legend||1986||as Herself|
|30||Just Cause||1995||as Libby Prentiss|
|31||Like Normal People||1979||as Roz Meyers|
|32||Marilyn||1963||as Herself (scene from "Bus Stop")|
|33||Message from Nam||1993||as Marjorie Wilson|
|34||Natalie - A Tribute to a Very Special Lady||1982||as Herself|
|35||Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy||2010||as Herself|
|36||Peyton Place||1957||as Selena Cross|
|37||Pleasure Palace||1980||as Madelaine Calvert|
|38||Pocketful of Miracles||1961||as Queenie Martin|
|39||Private Sessions||1985||as Mrs. Coles|
|40||Special Gala to Support Kennedy Campaign||1960||as Herself - Performer|