Movie News

Kim Hunter, Academy Award winning Actress who created unforgettable characters like Stella and Zira has passed away

Published at: Sept. 11, 2002, 7:47 p.m. CST by staff

Father Geek here once again with some sad news for filmlovers...

The vivacious little fireball of an actress Kim Hunter has died. Born in Detriot on November 12, 1922 she studied at The Actors Studio in New York along side Marlon Brando and other greats of the stage and screen from her generation. In 1947 she created the role of Stella from Tennessee Williams' A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE on the New York stage and like her co-star in that production it carried her to Hollywood and a long film and TV career. She would win both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for that film role. buuuuut...

Kim was wrongly accused of being a communist because of her strong Civil Rights stances and the fact that she was one of the co-sponsers of the 1949 World Peace Conference in New York. As a result she along with many other movie industry professionals was blacklisted and she lost many prime years of exposure on the silver screen to forced inactivity. Years later she was cleared of any wrongdoing and it has benefitted us all.

Kim went on to act in over 65 features and on over 40 major television shows. In 1968 she gave birth to a character that, with the public at any rate, would far overshadow the critically aclaimed Stella. That role was as Zira in the original PLANET OF THE APES. She would fine tune that character through 2 sequels BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES, and ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES.

However Kim did not rest on her genre laurels. She would go on to receive more acknowledgements for her skills as an actress with nominations for a Genie and an Emmy. Her acting credits crossed all genre lines. She was in STORM CENTER; THE SWIMMER; DEADLINE USA and many other first rate productions right up through recent films like MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL, and A PRICE ABOVE RUBIES, as a matter of fact she appeared in Films and TV on into 2002. She will be sorely missed, but atleast we have the great body of work that we can turn to whenever we want...

Just Click Right Here To See All Her Credits

Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 11, 2002, 7:59 p.m. CST

    My condolences to family and friends

    by EL Duderino

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 8:11 p.m. CST

    But yes, this is indeed devastating news.

    by Lenny Nero

    She was one of the best at one time, then continued to amaze even below the radars. It is all about A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, though, and she deserves as much praise as she can get for that role.

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 8:13 p.m. CST

    She was 46 when she did Planet of the Apes?

    by BigTuna

    Geeze, she looked so young and hot.

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 8:45 p.m. CST

    "Of course the female knows"

    by hank_scorpio

    I was just browsing through the archives when this popped up. Quite a shock, i bloody loved Kim Hunter. My best to her friends and family. I think we can all agree that she left her mark on the world.

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 9:01 p.m. CST

    "The Swimmer"...

    by KazamaSmokers

    ... is the greatest movie ever made.

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 9:12 p.m. CST

    HUNTRESS

    by TomVee

    She was a great actress, even in a junk film like THE KINDRED. For those not famailiar with this magnificent performer, rent or buy STREETCAR and PLANET. You can safely skip KINDRED unless you have a desire to see her playing a mad scientist.

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 9:29 p.m. CST

    Seconds

    by Shrevie

    I was also saddened to hear about Katrin Kartlidge's death (at 41!). She was a brilliant rising character actress I always thought was overshadowed by the physically similar Rachel Griffiths, but was fantastic in films like Breaking The Waves and Naked. I'm also a big Kim Hunter fan and Deadline USA (w. Bogart) is an amazing gem if anyone gets to see it.

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 9:55 p.m. CST

    Katrin Cartlidge

    by Aquafresh

    Bummer man. She was indeed a great actress. And so young. "Naked" may have been her finest hour. I noticed both of the women from "Naked" played prostitutes in "From Hell", a not so great film. Hopefully that wasn't the last role Kathryn had in the can.

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 10:08 p.m. CST

    "the Swimmer" is indeed a great film

    by The Feral Kid

    Do yourself a favor and try to find a copy. It may seem a little hokey at first but keep watching. I used to dislike Lancaster but after watching "the Swimmer," I learned to appreciate him and went on to see movies like "Brute Force" and "the Professionals" because he was in them - awesome. "the Swimmer" is based on a Cheever short story that for anyone who enjoys books is a great great read. A sad loss though. Condolences to the family of a very talented actress who could truly shine in small parts. A tough thing but she really knew to work the magic.

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 10:31 p.m. CST

    a sad passing

    by Frank Black

    It is always sad when someone reaches the end of their life, especially when they are so full of talent and energy. Kim Hunter was one of a kind. She will be missed, but we have so much to remember her by, and enjoy, until our time comes too.

  • Sept. 11, 2002, 10:43 p.m. CST

    Great Actress

    by SCOTT1458

    Her politics were extreme, but she was a great actress.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 12:18 a.m. CST

    "Get your filthy pallbearers off of me you damned dirty ape!"

    by UTellEmSteveDave

    She had a nice career. God bless her.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 1 a.m. CST

    Farewell to a superb actress. Kim Hunter and Zira live on!

    by jklmno

    Kim Hunter was an amazing actress. She just felt so right for Zira portraying her as a smart, sometimes funny and capable of taking care of herself female ape scientist. She personified the character which is rare for an actor to do and she will be missed as she was one of the things that made the original Apes series so memorable.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 1:28 a.m. CST

    appreciating Kim before her time came

    by jigsaw

    This news today came as a shock to me because of a great coincidence. I watched "Streetcar" for the first time last night, and appreciated how great the casting was. I had never heard of Kim before but was enamored of her role as Stella. She wasn't conventionally beautiful, having a rather striking and fascinating presence that is rare on the screen. I checked her filmography and was dismayed that she wasn't able to land any more roles in really great films after receiving the Little Gold Man for "Streetcar". Then I fired up the internet today to find out she passed away. The feeling of discovering someone just before they pass into The Great Beyond is almost indescribable, except that you can say you had some sort of brief attachment to them before it was too late. It's as if you had a connection with them and were thus able to mourn them properly, the way they deserved. David Lean and Peter Sellers and so many more Greats from this industry passed away during my lifetime and I failed to recognize the moment. To me they were distant names of the past whose time had come, until of course I became educated on their accomplishments and felt like I had missed the boat. Lucky for me, this time it was different. Rest in peace, and for anyone out there who hasn't seen A Streetcar Named Desire, for God's sake! Get off your ass and go out and rent it, and then get back on your ass and enjoy 2 hours of cinematic bliss.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 2:08 a.m. CST

    She also starred with David Niven in "A Matter Of Life And Death

    by Uncapie

    Only one of the best movies ever made.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 6:37 a.m. CST

    A Matter of Life and Death is one of my favorites

    by Son Of Batboy

    I didn't realize that was her until I saw it listed in her credits. Totally escaped me. Jeez, she was young when they made that. So was David Niven. Great actors, fantastic film.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 9:41 a.m. CST

    "Docter, I'd like to kiss you goodbye....Okay, but you'r

    by Kirk's Toupee

    Kim Hunter seems to be another of those great actor/actresses that people only realize how good a career they had after they have passed. I, of course like many other geeks grew up with the apes movies and will always have fond memories of her. Then again, I can't forget to mention her most pivotal role as the mother of Ronald in the tv cult classic, Bad Ronald...ah, the arts...Godspeed Ms. Hunter.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Zira! One of my heroes!

    by Poetamelie

    I adored Kim Hunter when I was growing up. I used to listen to her on CBS Radio Mystery Theater and catch her in terrible TV movies like "Bad Ronald" because she was so wonderful. That she took it on the chin, career-wise, for the sake of being a decent human being only raises her in my esteem. She was a magnificent actress. God bless her.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 1 p.m. CST

    Her politics extreme? Say what?

    by Poetamelie

    The article states: "Kim was wrongly accused of being a communist because of her strong Civil Rights stances and the fact that she was one of the co-sponsers of the 1949 World Peace Conference in New York. As a result she along with many other movie industry professionals was blacklisted and she lost many prime years of exposure on the silver screen to forced inactivity. Years later she was cleared of any wrongdoing and it has benefitted us all. " Kim Hunter said that you could get put on the blacklist for signing a petition against lynching. What on earth was even remotely extreme about her politics?

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 2:01 p.m. CST

    In Honor of Kim's memory, I'll be wandering the streets

    by TimBenzedrine

    but will I be doing anything out of the ordinary? No, I don't think so.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 2:04 p.m. CST

    To The Big Tuna

    by Manos

    46 IS young. It is. IT IS!

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Hunter & Cartlidge...Two Great Ones.

    by Flexfill

    Kim Hunter is a quiet legend lost. She transcended even Chambers' celebrated make-up and etched herself into permanent Americana. God love her. I'm beside myself over Katrin Cartlidge. I'm haunted by "Naked." Mike Leigh's disturbing masterpiece is a showcase for this raven-haired beauty; quirks, rough edges and all. Too young. I miss her already.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Kim Hunter 1922-2002

    by hydepark

    Besides her stellar perfomances in "Streetcar" and "Planet Of The Apes" I also recall her chilling performance on an episode of the 1970s Tv series "Baretta". She played a crazed homeless woman who, convinced that Tony Baretta is her long lost son, handcuffs him to a radiator and holds him prisoner in a basement. I can still remember the eerie scene where she gently tells Robert Blake "You're going to die here". Still gives me a chill on this sunny, warm, beautiful day. Kim Hunter was a wonderful actress and a fine lady. She'll be missed by so many. Rest easy Ms Hunter.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 4:55 p.m. CST

    A class act!

    by Glen69glenda

    I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Hunter and her husband, Bob Emmett, at Philly's Walnut Street Theatre in the late 90s. The woman glowed. She brought jaw-dropping professionalism and spirit to every rehearsal and performance. She will be missed tremendously. On the upside, she is now reunited with Bob. Rest in peace, you classy kids.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 5:26 p.m. CST

    "Magnolia" ripped off "The Last Kiss"

    by sjtphoto

    I just saw "The Last Kiss," an Italian film from 2000 that was just released here. I kept asking myself why the movie seemed so familar - the melodic music from scene to scene that kept building, the multiple storylines of flawed people looking for answers and screwing up along the way, the strong willed man with serious woman problems whose father is on his deathbed... Paul Thomas Anderson ripped off this movie to make "Magnolia." "The Last Kiss" is a much better, more fully realized film.

  • Sept. 12, 2002, 9:34 p.m. CST

    KIM-TASTIC

    by TomVee

    I had forgotten how much TV work Kim Hunter did. She was always solid, always professional. She could take the smallest part and make it her own, but she never grandstanded or overshadowed her co-actors. She had real class and it shows even on the tiny screen.

  • Sept. 13, 2002, 6:19 p.m. CST

    THE WORLD IS AN EMPTIER PLACE . . .

    by LordTZer0

    The world is an emptier place without Kim. She was never too busy to answer a letter, or take a phone call. I've loved her since I was seven. No foam rubber was thick enough to hide that shining countenance, who's flashing eyes and soothing voice gave life to her character with such an apparent effortlessness, that it was worthy of a second Oscar. I was lucky enough to spend time with her last year. She was always a gracious lady, who brightened everything she touched. Seek out those rare gems of her work. You'll find her, out shining Hollywood's brightest stars without a word, but with only a turn and a glance. T

  • Sept. 13, 2002, 8:19 p.m. CST

    I met this wonderful lady

    by kittyaa23

    I have never posted on this site even though I have been following it for years. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Motor City Comic Con in Detroit. I was a volunteer and my job was to work with Stephen Furst and take money for people who wanted autographs. Stephen was at Con signing mostly stuff from Babylon 5, but most people remember him as Flounder from Animal House. Well, our table was right next to Kim Hunter's. When she arrived for her autograph session, I helped her with her box of pictures and then helped her into her seat. She looked at the sign behind me and said "Stephen, its nice to meet you after all these Cons!" My brother was standing nearby and promptly started laughing and said "dude, she thinks YOU'RE FLOUNDER!" She was a pleasure to talk to that weekend and I am saddened by her passing.