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Joan Lorring, born Mary Madeline Ellis is a Hong Kong-born American actress and singer known for her work in film and theatre. Soon after, her family moved to Los Angeles, Madeleine (known by her nickname "Dellie") began working as a child actress in radio and film – she was credited as "Dellie Ellis" when she played the title role in the radio program A Date With Judy (1942). She eventually adopted Joan Lorring as her stage name.
Lorring made her Broadway debut in 1950, originating the role of Marie Buckholder opposite Shirley Booth in Come Back Little Sheba. Terry Moore later played Marie in the 1952 film version. For this role, Lorring won a Donaldson Award for Most Outstanding Female Debut in the 1949-1950 Broadway season. This success led to her performing in the 1951 Broadway production of the Lillian Hellman play The Autumn Garden. In 1954, she performed in the play Dead Pidgeons, and her last Broadway appearance was in 1957, originating the role of The Young Woman, opposite Kim Stanley as The Woman, in A Clearing in the Woods by Arthur Laurents. In 1970, Lorring performed in an Off-Broadway production of Awake and Sing! as Bessie Berger.
Lorring made her film debut at age 18 in Song of Russia. Her second film was the Oscar-nominated drama The Bridge of San Luis Rey.
For her third film role as Bessy Watty in 1945's The Corn Is Green opposite Bette Davis as Miss Moffat, Lorring (at age 19) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Thelma Schnee had originated the role of Bessy on Broadway opposite Ethel Barrymore in 1940.
Lorring next had supporting roles in the 1946 dramas Three Strangers and The Verdict, in which she plays Lottie Rawson and performs the song "Give Me a Little Bit". In 1947, she appeared in The Other Love, a drama that stars Barbara Stanwyck, and in The Lost Moment which stars Susan Hayward. In 1948, she played a supporting role in Good Sam, which stars Gary Cooper and was directed by Leo McCarey.
In the early 1950s, Lorring began appearing often on television. In 1955, she performed in 13 episodes of the television series Norby as Helen Norby. The show lasted one season. Also in 1956, she reprised her award-winning role as Bessy in The Corn is Green on television opposite Eva Le Gallienne as Miss Moffat. She appeared on one episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, (The Older Sister, 1956) about Lizzie Borden, in which she portrayed her sister Emma.
Lorring performed infrequently in the 1960s and 1970s focusing on her family life. Her last film role came in 1974 with The Midnight Man, and her later television roles were guest-starring for several episodes as Anna Pavel in Ryan's Hope and a 1980 episode of The Love Boat.
Lorring enjoyed a quiet retirement through the 1980s and 1990s. She lived until May 30, 2014 when she died in Sleepy Hollow, New York at age 88 from natural causes.
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