Nicole Bremer Nash offers a remembrance of actress Patricia Neal, who is best known by many sci-fi fans for her role as Helen Benson in the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Actress Patricia Neal passed away on August 8, 2010 after a battle with lung cancer. At 84, Neal leaves behind an impressive body of work in television and movies, including The Fountainhead and her Oscar-winning performance in the film Hud. But she is perhaps best remembered by science-fiction film fans for her brilliantly played role as heroine Helen Benson in the 1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still.
This Hollywood sweetheart did not live a gilded life, yet, just like the heroines she played on the silver screen, she continued to pull herself back together and continue on. Neal's marriage to Roald Dahl ended in divorce. The couple had five children, and suffered the death of their oldest child to measles. Their only son suffered brain injuries from being hit by a car when he was a baby. After she suffered three strokes while pregnant in 1965, Neal became an advocate for paralysis victims. The Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville opened the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in 1978. (Neal was born in Whitley County, Kentucky and grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee.)
If you've never seen a film with Patricia Neal, then you've missed seeing a great actress at work. If the local video store is out of all of her movies (which is likely this week), Netflix has The Day the Earth Stood Still available for instant play. Neal brings something to the movie that the modern remake lacks. For now, watch a clip of a famous scene from The Day the Earth Stood Still.