Born 1919 as Phylis Lee Isley in Tulsa, Oklahoma, American actress Jennifer Jones worked as a model in her youth before transitioning to acting, appearing in two serial films in 1939. Her third role was a lead part as Bernadette Soubirous in The Song of Bernadette (1943), which earned her the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress that year. She went on to star in several films that garnered her significant critical acclaim and a further three Academy Award nominations in the early-1940s, including Since You Went Away (1944), Love Letters (1945), and Duel in the Sun (1946).
Jones appeared in several films throughout the 1950s, including Ruby Gentry (1952), John Huston’s adventure comedy Beat the Devil (1953), and Vittorio De Sica’s drama Terminal Station (also 1953). She earned her fifth Academy Award nomination for her performance as a Eurasian doctor in Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955).
Jones made her final film appearance in The Towering Inferno (1974). She suffered from mental health problems during her life and survived a 1966 suicide attempt in which she jumped from a cliff in Malibu Beach.
After her own daughter committed suicide in 1976, Jones became profoundly interested in mental health education. In 1980, she founded the Jennifer Jones Simon Foundation for Mental Health and Education. She spent the remainder of her life withdrawn from the public, residing in Malibu, California, where she died in 2009, aged 90.
Jones is among the youngest actresses to receive an Academy Award, having won on her 25th birthday. She had a star on he Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6429 Hollywood Boulevard.
Take a look at these old pics to see the beauty of young Jennifer Jones in the 1940s and 1950s.