Kim Hunter, whose real name was Janet Cole, was an American actress born on November 12, 1922, in Detroit, Michigan, and passed away on September 11, 2002, in New York City. She received acclaim for both her stage and film work during a career that spanned several decades.
Hunter is perhaps best recognized for her role as Stella Kowalski in the 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play "A Streetcar Named Desire." A role she originated on Broadway, Hunter's performance in the film won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Before garnering fame with "A Streetcar Named Desire," Hunter made her film debut in the 1943 British film "The Seventh Victim." Her early career was impacted by Hollywood's blacklist during the McCarthy era, which limited her opportunities in film and television for some years because of her alleged leftist sympathies or associations.
Despite the blacklisting, Hunter continued working in theater and eventually returned to film and television. Notably, she appeared in three "Planet of the Apes" movies as Dr. Zira, a compassionate chimpanzee psychiatrist and scientist. These films, beginning with the original "Planet of the Apes" in 1968, became cult classics and introduced Kim Hunter to a new generation of audiences.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Hunter appeared in various television series, including the soap opera "The Edge of Night." She also performed in numerous stage productions and earned praise for her work in both dramatic and comedic roles.
In addition to her Oscar win, Hunter received a Primetime Emmy nomination in 1980 for her performance in the TV movie "The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story."
Kim Hunter's contribution to the arts extended beyond acting to supporting the acting community. She served on the governing board of the Actors Studio and taught acting as well.
Even after semi-retiring in the late 1980s, Kim Hunter occasionally took roles in television and film until her death in 2002 at the age of 79. Her contributions to both stage and screen, as well as her resilience during a difficult period in Hollywood's history, have cemented her legacy as one of the admired performers of her generation.