(November 19, 1920 – November 6, 1991)
she became established as a leading lady.
Tierney was best known for her portrayal of the title character in the film Laura (1944),
and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as
Ellen Berent Harland in Leave Her to Heaven (1945).
Tierney's other roles include Martha Strable Van Cleve in Heaven Can Wait (1943),
and Anne Scott in The Left Hand of God (1955).
With difficult events in her personal life,
Tierney struggled for years with episodes of manic depression.
In 1943, she gave birth to a daughter, Daria, who was deaf and mentally disabled,
the result of a fan breaking out of rubella quarantine and infecting the pregnant Tierney while she volunteered at the Hollywood Canteen. In 1953, she suffered problems
with concentration, which affected her film appearances. She dropped out of
While playing Anne Scott in The Left Hand of God (1955), opposite Humphrey Bogart, Tierney became ill. Bogart had a personal experience as he was close to a sister who suffered from mental illness, so during the production, he fed Tierney her lines and encouraged her to seek help.
Tierney consulted a psychiatrist and was admitted to Harkness Pavilion in New York. Later, she went to the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. After some 27 shock treatments, intended to alleviate severe depression, Tierney fled the facility, but was caught and returned. She later became an outspoken opponent of shock treatment therapy, claiming
it had destroyed significant portions of her memory.
In late December 1957, Tierney, from her mother's apartment in Manhattan, stepped onto a ledge 14 stories above ground and remained for about 20 minutes in what was considered
a suicide attempt.
Police were called, and afterwards Tierney's family arranged for her to be admitted to the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. The following year, after treatment for depression, she was released. Afterwards, she worked as a sales girl in a local dress shop with hopes of integrating back into society, but she was recognized by a customer, resulting in
sensational newspaper headlines.
Tierney died of emphysema on November 6, 1991 in Houston,
thirteen days before her 71st birthday.
She is interred in Glenwood Cemetery in Houston. Tierney was survived by her daughters Daria and Christina. Certain documents of Tierney's film-related material, personal papers, letters, etc., are held in the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives, to which scholars,
media experts, and the public may have access