Ida Lupino

Ida Lupino was a famous mid-20th century film actress who was also a trailblazing director and producer in a male-dominated industry.


Born in London, England on Feb. 4, 1918, Ida Lupino starred in feature films as a teen. Moving to Hollywood, she had her big break in The Light That Failed and went on to be hailed for her thespian chops in many other movies. Lupino was also a trailblazing female director and producer, helming several films and directing more than 100 TV episodes for series like The Fugitive and The Twilight Zone. She died in Burbank, California, in 1995.

Early Life

Actress, screenwriter and director Ida Lupino was born on February 4, 1918, in London, England. Ida Lupino was a popular actress of the 1930s and '40s as well as a brave, pioneering filmmaker. Acting ran in her family. Her father was comedian Stanley Lupino and her mother was actress Connie Emerald. A serious performer, she trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before getting her first big break.

Big Break

After her film debut in Her First Affair (1932), Ida Lupino got a contract with Paramount. One of her most notable works from this period is the musical Anything Goes (1935) with Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman. Changing over to Warner Brothers in 1939 led to more substantial dramatic fare. Lupino earned high marks from critics for her turn in The Light That Failed (1939) based on the Rudyard Kipling novel. She also appeared in the crime thriller High Sierra (1941) opposite Humphrey Bogart and The Hard Way (1943), which earned the Best Actress award from the New York Film Critics.

Ida Lupino formed her own film company with Anson Bond called Emerald Productions in 1949, and created films that tackled controversial social themes, such as Not Wanted (1949), which she also directed and wrote. The film explored the plight of an unwed mother. Other films addressed bigamy and rape. While her films were disregarded at the time, Lupino has come to be seen as one of Hollywood's pioneering female directors.

While her film acting career waned in the 1950s, Ida Lupino found work as a director. She did a lot of television, helming such shows as Have Gun, Will Travel; Thriller; The Untouchables; Bewitched and Daniel Boone. Lupino also made numerous television guest appearances on many popular series, including Bonanza, The Virginian, Batman, The Mod Squad, Police Woman and Charlie's Angels.

Personal Life

Ida Lupino had been married three times. She was first wed to actor Louis Hayward from 1938 to 1945. Her second union to writer Collier Young lasted only three years from 1948 to 1951. With actor Howard Duff, Lupino seemed to find happiness for a time. They were married in 1951 and had a daughter together. The couple also co-starred in the CBS sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve (1957) – for which Lupino earned an Emmy nomination. As years passed, Lupino and Duff's marriage was rocky at times and they separated here and there throughout their marriage but it wasn't until 1983 when Lupino filed for divorce; it was finalized in 1984.

After battling cancer, Ida Lupino died on August 3, 1995, in Burbank, California.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *