Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life

Patricia Neal was an acclaimed star of stage, film, and television for over six decades. From making appearances on Broadway to working alongside many other Hollywood legends, she would make her mark as a performer, eventually earning the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Born in Kentucky and raised in Tennessee, Neal discovered a love of acting and found success in her profession. She would become romantically involved with her The Fountainhead (1949) co-star, Gary Cooper, before marrying author Roald Dahl.

At the height of her career, she suffered a series of strokes and medical problems. Nonetheless, after a trying recovery, she returned to acting and earned her second Academy Award nomination. Neal would also continue to work on television in the years to come.

Stephen Michael Shearer’s Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life explores the life of Neal and is the first critical biography to do so. Shearer relies upon interviews with Neal’s colleagues and friends, in addition to consulting her personal papers, to craft this biography. Since its publication, it was also adapted as a film called To Olivia (2021). Shearer’s work is a thoughtful and honest portrayal of a woman who endured many personal as well as professional setbacks and accomplishments and is well worth reading.


Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life is available for purchase via the University Press of Kentucky.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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1 Response to Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life

  1. I’m a big fan of Patricia Neal, for her film performances but perhaps even more for her off-screen fortitude. She was such an inspiration. I will definitely be adding this one to my library.

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