Published On: Mon, Aug 9th, 2010

‘Hud’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ star Patricia Neal dies at 84

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal, whose life was marred by tragedy, has died at the age of 84 of lung cancer, according to media reports.

Neal won an Academy Award for her role in the 1963 film Hud alongside Paul Newman and boasted a long list of stage, film and TV credits alongside Hollywood’s leading men including Ronald Reagan, John Wayne and Tyrone Powers.

The LA Times noted how Neal’s affair with co-star Gary Cooper, with whom she starred in The Fountainhead and Bright Leaf, ended in disaster after his wife found out.

She was married to the British writer Roald Dahl for 30 years with whom she had five children.


“I think I was born stubborn, that’s all,” Neal said in a biography on the website of the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center that was dedicated in her honor in 1978 by the Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.


Paul Newman and Patricia Neal in "Hud"

Paul Newman and Patricia Neal in “Hud”

She was open about the disasters in her life, losing a child, her son being hit by a taxi: “I almost died many times from broken hearts -… when my daughter Olivia died, when my baby son Theo was hit by a car, and when I had my strokes. There were many who didn’t think I would pull through,” said Neal in her biography.

“I had to have an operation that lasted seven hours, and I know very well my doctor thought I would conk out in the middle of it; but as I told him later, we Tennessee hillbillies don’t conk that easy, so I stayed alive.”

Neal’s marriage to Dahl ended after 30 years in 1983 after the writer had an affair with one of her friends and she moved from England to the United States where she split her time between New York and Martha’s Vineyard.

Neal starred with Glenn Close in the movie Cookie’s Fortune in 1999, was featured in Lifetime’s television movie Flying By with Billy Ray Cyrus in 2009.

Neal wrote in her biography on the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center website that growing old was no fun.

“I’ve learned many lessons in life, but the most important is this – be tenacious and determined, even in old age,” said Neal.

“I don’t like getting older. I thought I would, but it has turned out differently than I expected. Lately I’ve had both my shoulder and my knee replaced. So, what should I be happy about? I’ll tell you – it is nice to be able to get these things fixed!”


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