Classic Hollywood #136 – Sylvia Sidney 1933

Sylvia Sidney In An Unusual Pose

Caption on rear of photograph: “Sylvia Sidney is appearing in Paramount Pictures.” photo: Paramount Pictures 1933

Sylvia Sidney (1910-1999) was born in the Bronx as Sophia Kosow. Sylvia’s father and mother divorced soon after her birth. Her mother married Sigmund Sidney and he adopted her. By the time she was 15 Sylvia had decided she wanted to be an actor and started taking lessons at Theater Guild’s School For Acting. Appearing on stage in an amateur production a New York Times critic who happened to catch the performance gave her rave reviews. More stage roles lead to Hollywood talent scouts knocking on her door.

By the 1930s Sylvia was starring in major films such as Fury (with Spencer Tracy), Sabotage (directed by Alfred Hitchcock) and Dead End (with Humphrey Bogart).  Sylvia married Random House publisher Bennett Cerf in 1935. The marriage lasted less than seven months. In his autobiography, Cerf states

the marriage was a mistake as they had different personalities and interests.

Sylvia would marry two more times with both marriages ending in divorce. Sylvia Sidney’s career in films, and later television would continue until the end of her life. In the 1980s and 1990s, she appeared in Beetlejuice, Mars Attacks!, Fantasy Island and Diagnosis Murder.

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