Shelbyville, Tennessee, USA
Claim to Fame
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)
Brown - Dark
Actor/Actress, Director, Soundtrack
Has Detailed Data (New)
Couple Profile Source
Shelbyville Central High - 1962
Middle Tennessee State University (1962-63)
Profile Bio Text
Sondra Locke was born on May 28, 1944 and raised in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Her parents, Raymond Smith and Pauline Bayne, never married and separated before Sondra was born, and her mother quickly married construction company owner Alfred Locke. She never met her real father and didn't even know of his existence until being informed by her grandmother when she was a teenager. Sondra attended Shelbyville Central High, where she played basketball and graduated as class valedictorian in 1962. Having already resented the way she was brought up by her uneducated, close-minded, tormenting mother, Sondra would eventually leave home for good at the age of 20 and remain estranged from her for nearly 30 years.
Following graduation, Sondra had attended Middle Tenessee State University on a full scholarship, and acted in the college's productions of The Crucible and The Monkey's Paw. She ultimately decided not to return after completing her freshman year. Over the next four years, she had jobs like working as a typist for a Nashville news station, and continued to hone her acting skills in local theater productions. In 1967, Sondra made a very unconventional choice by marrying her gay friend Gordon Anderson. She and Anderson had known each other since they were ten, and had become extremely close during their teenage years. Though Anderson's sexual orientation was later kept secret from the press during her Hollywood career, Sondra would eventually clear up all of the ambiguity surrounding the marriage in her 1997 autobiography.
Shortly after she and Anderson married, they were informed about a casting call being held in New York for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968), a period piece based on the novel by Carson McCullers. The film's producers were searching for an unknown actress to portray the lead female character Mick Kelly, a teenage waif from a poor family in the deep south who forms an unlikely bond with a suicidal deaf-mute (played by Alan Arkin). Taking her husband's advice, Sondra bleached her eyebrows, bound her bosom, and deceived producers by stating she was 17 in order to be more convincing for the role. It worked, and she won the part over 2,000 other contenders. Sondra's effective portrayal earned her nominations for numerous awards, including an Oscar.
Despite this breakout success, her career did not take off instantly. She and Anderson moved to Los Angeles, where she settled in an apartment at the historic Andalusia building in Hollywood and he resided elsewhere with his then-partner. Over the next several years, she starred in some independent films and made guest appearances on television shows. One notable film of hers was Willard (1971), which was a moderate success and gained a cult following. However, the rest of the films she made during this period (Cover Me Babe (1970), A Reflection of Fear (1973), The Second Coming of Suzanne (1974), The Shadow of Chikara (1977), and Death Game (1977)) went little noticed. In fact, the majority of these films, respectively, were shelved for a couple years before receiving very limited releases.
Finally, in 1976, Sondra had a hit film. It was The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), a western classic in which she portrayed Laura Lee, a pioneer woman who falls in love with the titular character, played by Clint Eastwood. Sondra had actually met Eastwood four years earlier, briefly, in screenwriter Philip Kaufman's office at Universal, and the two had a few mutual friends in the Hollywood circle. Their romantic involvement with each other began on location in Utah during the film's production, and turned into an intense relationship that would last fourteen years.
"Josey Wales" gave Sondra a huge career boost, and, with Eastwood as her leading man, she went on to star in a number of subsequent box office hits. Her follow-up was an action flick, The Gauntlet (1977), where she played a foul-mouthed prostitute on the run from the mob. Next up was the blockbuster comedy Every Which Way But Loose (1978), which became the second-highest grossing film of the year. She would reprise her role as the sexy country singer Lynne Halsey-Taylor in the equally successful sequel Any Which Way You Can (1980).
Although Sondra gave heartfelt performances, her acting was often criticized. She undeservedly received a "Worst Actress" Razzie nomination for her performance as Antoinette Lily, a spoiled, stranded heiress who joins a Wild West Show in Bronco Billy (1980), which was not exactly well-received by critics or audiences upon release. Sondra portrayed Rosemary Clooney in the television biopic Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story (1982) (TV), which was her third made-for-TV movie (the previous two were The Gondola (1973) (TV) and Friendships, Secrets and Lies (1979) (TV). Sondra returned to the big screen as the femme fatale, revenge-seeking murderess Jennifer Spencer in Sudden Impact (1983), which was the highest grossi
Donald Locke (maternal half-brother)
Full Name at Birth
Sondra Louise Smith
Sondra Locke (born May 28, 1944 or 1947) is an American actress, singer and film director.
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