If there is anything that shows the uniqueness of Elizabeth Ashley, surely it has to be her deeply guttural voice. It has become a trademark associated with her. Elizabeth Ashley is an American actress known for playing complicated characters.
It wouldn’t be a daresay if we said she is one of the few Hollywood actors who can manage her characters well, often interpreting them so well, earning her critical acclaims along the way. The beautiful actress is famously known for her Broadway performances too.
So, aside from featuring in films, she also has appearances in Broadway shows which have ultimately won her several awards. For a woman whose career has spanned more than six decades, her experience in the movie industry is indisputable.
Quick Facts About Elizabeth Ashley
Elizabeth Ashley got into acting at a very tender age. Before that, she had the flair for dancing as she trained to be a ballet dancer as early as when she was five. From this age till when she clocked 17, she polished her dancing skills and auditioned for “Houston Ballet” when she was 14. She didn’t get in.
But by the time she reached the latter stages of her teen years, she began working in the theatre. This began the start of something incredible in her journey. She had obstacles but she forged ahead, and today, she is a celebrated actress.
One of those obstacles is how her characters affected her life. If you have seen any movie where a woman had a husky voice and was carrying a blonde, it is most likely that you have encountered the brilliant acting of Ashley. In the first decade of her career, she won a “Tony” award amongst many other awards. Not to worry, you will get all the information you need about her on here.
The Early Life of Elizabeth Ashley
Interestingly, Elizabeth is the only child of her parents. She was born on August 30, 1939, to Arthur Kingsman Cole, Lucille in Florida, United States of America. Her father, Arthur, was a music teacher.
This perhaps explains her affinity for the arts at a very young age. Her name from birth is Elizabeth Ann Cole. Even though she was born in Florida, she grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Later, Ashley would reveal that she was raised in a gothic family.
As a child, she was dyslexic. This didn’t stop her from learning how to read. It was a wild desire that despite her disability, she would not allow it to bring her down. She then developed a reading culture and even had a favorite author whose name is Ernest Hemingway.
She attended high school before proceeding to Louisiana State University for a semester. Ashley couldn’t continue as her passion for acting became intense.
However, she studied acting at The Neighbouring Playhouse School of the Theatre. It was here she honed her talent and also became a showroom model. As her passion increased, she moved to New York, where her Broadway career began.
Elizabeth Ashley’s Theatre Career.
Since 1958, only a few can boast of a stellar stage performance. In 1958, she starred in the West End musical “Expresso Bongo” by Original London Production. The next year, she made her Broadway debut with the holiday drama The Highest Tree. Her influence as a theatre actress began to grow.m, and in no time, awards began to flood in, in recognition of her precocious talent.
In 1961, Elizabeth won a Tony Award for her performance as a college student named lie Michaelson in the Broadway play, ‘Take Her, She’s Mine.” An interesting tiny fact about her getting the role: critics recommended her for the role. This is rather strange if we look at it in today’s world. Everything was happening so fast, and as such, for a young girl, it took a toll on her mental health.
Elizabeth co-starred with Robert Redford, in the Broadway play titled Barefoot in the Park. The role earned her a Tony nomination for the Best Actress. This exposure got her an appearance on the cover of LIFE magazine, where she was regarded as “Broadway brightest.” In 1977, she played the role of Cleopatra in the 1977 Broadway production Caesar and Cleopatra.
One of her biggest performances came in The Little Foxes, where she played the villainous Regina Giddens. This character is widely considered to be one of American theatre’s most-loved hideous figures.
Some of Elizabeth’s other notable plays are ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’ (1975), ‘Legend’ (1976), ‘Hide and Seek (1980), ‘Agnes of God’ (1982), ‘When She Danced’ (1990), and ‘If Memory Serves’ (1999). Some of her recent works that opened after 2010 are Gore Vidal’s ‘The Best Man’ (2012), ‘You Can’t Take It with You’ (2014), and ‘The Night of the Iguana’ (2017).
Elizabeth Ashley’s Film Career
Ashley’s talent cuts across just stage performances. She also has quite an impressive filmography. Her debut on the screen came in 1964 in the drama “The Carpetbaggers”. The movie broke records and earned her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 1965, she featured in even more films including Ship of Fools, The Third Day, Windows.
Some other films where Elizabeth starred include The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971), Rancho Deluxe (1975), Coma (1978), Paternity (1981), Dragnet (1987), and Vampire’s Kiss (1989).
That’s not all about the multitalented actress as she also ventured into TV. Elizabeth Ashley made her TV debut in 1961 with the courtroom drama series The Defenders. She earned an Emmy Award nomination for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series’ performance in CBS sitcom, Evening Shade.
At the moment, she is currently playing Ruth Brenner in the Netflix comedy series ‘Russian Doll.’
It wasn’t until years later that Elizabeth dared to tell her rape story. In 1977, she was raped brutally by three drunken men at a shuttered gas station in California. She said the incident traumatized her for periods as she struggled to face her son. She then sold her properties and sent her son to live with his father as she wasn’t mentally ready to take care of him.
Elizabeth Ashley Relationships
Elizabeth has married thrice. All of her marriages ended in irreconcilable differences that ultimately led to divorce. Her first husband was James Farentino, with whom she fell in love within her Broadway career. They got married in 1962 but divorced in 1965.
After this, she married her co-star in The Carpetbaggers, George Leopard Jr. in 1966. Together they had a son who was born on March 11, 1968. They divorced in 1972 after Actor Caroll revealed in her autobiography that George had threatened to make love with Elizabeth if she declined his sexual relationship request.
Elizabeth then decided to marry for the third time, with her marriage to James McCarthy in 1975. The marriage didn’t last, as they divorced in 1981.
Elizabeth Ashley’s Net Worth
According to reliable sources, Elizabeth is worth $10 million.
At 81 years, Elizabeth Ashley still doesn’t look like she is relenting in her oars. She is currently on the comedy series Russian Doll on Netflix. She embodies hard work, we wish her the best in the remainder of her career.