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Greer Garson

Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson (September 29, 1904 - April 6, 1996) was an Academy Award winning actress. Known in childhood as "Eggy" and supposedly born in County Down, Ireland, in 1908, she was actually born in London, the only child of George Garson (1865-1906), a clerk from the Orkney Islands who was himself the son of an Irish cabinetmaker, and his Scottish wife, Nancy ("Nina") Sophia Greer.

She was educated at the University of London, where she earned degrees in French and 18th-century literature. She intended to become a teacher, but instead began working with an advertising agency. She appeared in local theatrical productions, and was discovered by Louis B. Mayer while he was in London looking for new talent. Garson was signed to a contract with MGM and appeared in her first American film, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, in 1939. She received her first Oscar nomination for the role.

She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1942 for her role as a British matron pluckily surviving in the midst of war in Mrs. Miniver, and she received more nominations during the 1940s. By the end of the decade, and through the 1950s, however, her roles were becoming less appreciated. In 1960, however, she again received an Oscar nomination for Sunrise at Campobello, in which she played Eleanor Roosevelt.

The actress was married three times. Her first husband, married on Sept. 28, 1933, was Edward Alec Abbot Snelson (1904-1992), a British civil servant who became a noted judge and expert in Indian and Pakistani affairs; the marriage reportedly lasted only a few weeks, ultimately dissolved in the 1940s (Snelson was later knighted). Her second, whom she married in 1943, was Richard Ney (born 1914, 1915, 1917, or 1918, sources differ), the young actor who played her son in "Mrs. Miniver"; they divorced in 1949, with Garson claiming that Ney had called her a has-been and belittled her age (Ney eventually became a respected stock-market analyst and financial consultant). That same year she married a millionaire Texas oilman and horse breeder, E. E. "Buddy" Fogelson (died 1987), and in 1967, the couple retired to the Forked Lightning Ranch in New Mexico. She died of heart failure in Dallas, Texas and is interred there in the Hillcrest Memorial Park cemetery.

Academy Awards and Nominations