Birthday: November 28, 1933
Died At Age: 70
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: Hope Elise Ross Lange
Born in: Redding, Connecticut
Famous as: Actress
Height: 5'2" (157 cm), 5'2" Females
Spouse/Ex-: Alan J. Pakula (m. 1963 – div. 1971), Charles Hollerith Jr. (m. 1986 – her death. 2003), Don Murray (m. 1956 – div. 1961)
father: John George Lange
mother: Minette Lange
children: Christopher Murray, Patricia Murray
Died on: December 19, 2003
place of death: Santa Monica, California
U.S. State: Connecticut
Hope Elise Ross Lange was a two-time ‘Emmy Award’-winning film, TV, and stage actor. Born to a cellist/music arranger/music conductor father and an actor mother, Lange stepped into the entertainment industry early in life. As a child, she sang in the ‘Booth Theatre’-staged play ‘Life, Laughter and Tears.’ She was also featured in the award-winning ‘Broadway’ play ‘The Patriots.’ She lost her father early in life. While modeling and studying dance, she assisted her mother in running a restaurant along with her siblings. She garnered attention featuring on the cover of the magazine ‘Radio-Electronics,’ sporting the "Man from Mars" radio hat. She then came to prominence with her debut film, ‘Bus Stop.’ This led her to another remarkable performance in the film ‘Peyton Place,’ which fetched her both ‘Oscar’ and ‘Golden Globe’ nominations. Her memorable performance as ‘Carolyn Muir’ in the sitcom ‘The Ghost & Mrs. Muir’ won her two ‘Primetime Emmy’ awards. Over the years, she starred in other films such as ‘Death Wish’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.’ She also appeared in TV films such as ‘Crowhaven Farm’ and series such as ‘The New Dick Van Dyke Show.’
Childhood & Early Life
Hope Elise Ross Lange was born on November 28, 1933, in Redding, Connecticut, US, to John George Lange and Minette (née Buddecke). Her father worked as a music arranger and a cellist for ‘American Broadway’ impresario Florenz Ziegfeld and a conductor for Henry Cohen. Her mother was an actor. Lange had two sisters, Minelda and Joy, and a brother, David.
Lange and her family later relocated to Greenwich Village. In March 1942, she performed in the play ‘Life, Laughter and Tears,’ singing with other children. The play opened at the ‘Booth Theatre.’ She lost her father in September that year. In January 1943, she earned a role in the award-winning ‘Broadway’ play ‘The Patriots.’
From 1944 to 1956, her mother ran an Italian restaurant on Macdougal Street, close to ‘Washington Square Park.’ Lange and her siblings assisted their mother in running the restaurant. While Lange and her brother waited tables, their elder sister Minelda managed the cash register. Lange continued to work at the restaurant while attending high school and simultaneously modeled and studied dance.
Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had an apartment nearby, and Lange would occasionally walk the former’s dog, Fala, a Scotch terrier. She bagged an offer to work as a New York City advertising model after her photo appeared in a newspaper. Eventually, she gained attention featuring on the cover of the June 1949 issue of the magazine ‘Radio-Electronics,’ sporting the "Man from Mars" radio hat.
She studied dance and theater for 2 years at ‘Reed College’ in Portland, Oregon, and then transferred to ‘Barmore Junior College’ in New York.
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Lange forayed into TV in the 1950s. She was soon spotted by a Hollywood producer. She grabbed attention with her debut film, ‘Bus Stop’ (1956), a romantic comedy starring Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray.
The success of ‘Bus Stop’ earned Lange her next major role. She starred as ‘Selena Cross’ in the drama film ‘Peyton Place’ (1957). The commercially hit film earned nine ‘Academy Award’ nominations, of which Lange bagged the nomination for the ‘Best Supporting Actress.’ She also earned a ‘Golden Globe Award’ nomination for her performance in the film. Later, in 1998, Lange visited Maine on the occasion of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the film, as the film was shot there.
Eventually, she emerged as a noted supporting actor. However, this led her to get typecast in ingénue roles. According to Lange, this made her career rather short-lived. Some of her notable film appearances were in the western drama ‘The True Story of Jesse James’ (1957), opposite Robert Wagner; the World War II drama ‘The Young Lions’ (1958), with Montgomery Clift; the romantic drama ‘The Best of Everything’ (1959); and the drama ‘Wild in the Country’ (1961), with Elvis Presley.
Meanwhile, Lange continued to occasionally feature in various TV productions. One of her most memorable performances was that of a widowed writer named ‘Carolyn Muir’ in the sitcom ‘The Ghost & Mrs. Muir’ (1968–1970). Her stellar performance in the series won her two ‘Emmy Awards’ for ‘Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series,’ one each in 1969 and 1970. She also earned a ‘Golden Globe Award’ nomination.
Her next notable TV role was that of ‘Jenny Preston’ in the sitcom ‘The New Dick Van Dyke Show’ (1971–1974). Two of her other notable TV appearances were in the series ‘Match Game’ (1978) and ‘Knight & Daye’ (1989). She also appeared in quite a few TV films, such as ‘Crowhaven Farm’ (1970) and ‘The Day Christ Died’ (1980).
Later in her career, Lange garnered attention starring as ‘Joanna Kersey,’ the dying wife of ‘Paul Kersey,’ played by Charles Bronson, in the hit vigilante action film ‘Death Wish’ (1974). She also appeared in films such as ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge’ (1985), the Harrison Ford-starrer ‘Clear and Present Danger’ (1994), and the Sean Connery-starrer ‘Just Cause’ (1995).
She returned to ‘Broadway’ in 1977 and replaced ‘Tony Award’-winning Ellen Burstyn for the role of ‘Doris’ in the romantic comedy ‘Same Time, Next Year’ by Bernard Slade.
Family & Personal Life
Lange was married to actor Don Murray from 1956 to 1961 and to film director, writer, and producer Alan J Pakula from 1963 to 1971. She was also romantically associated with actor Glenn Ford, singer/actor/producer Frank Sinatra, and novelist John Cheever. She married theater producer Charles Hollerith, Jr. in 1986, and they remained married till her death.
Lange and Murray had two children, Christopher and Patricia. Christopher later became an actor, while Patricia became a photographer.
She underwent a successful brain tumor surgery in the early 1990s, which saw her appearing in fewer films before retiring in 1998. She succumbed to an ischemic colitis infection at ‘St. John's Hospital’ in Santa Monica, California, on December 19, 2003.