When I was a kid one of my favorite movies was The Poseidon Adventure. So much did I enjoy the flick that whenever my school took us to concerts at Cincinnati’s Music Hall, I used to imagine what would happen if the hall would flip over as did the S.S. Poseidon in that 1970s film. Where would I end up? How would I escape?
Would a nice Jewish grandmother risk her life to save me as Shelley Winters‘ Belle Rosen swam to help save the passengers who were trying to escape with her? Winters’ Rosen suffered a heart attack and died for her efforts. The boy who accompanied her survived. And Winters earned her fourth Oscar nod.
Twenty-four years after Belle Rosen died, the world has lost the great actress who put so much panache into that character’s dying words. With great sadness, I report that Ms. Winters‘ died yesterday. She was 85.
Only long after first seeing this great lady in The Poseidon Adventure would I learn that Shelley Winters was one of the most gifted actresses of the silver screen, delivering, over the years, an incredible number of outstanding performances, winning Oscars for her roles in A Patch of Blue and The Diary of Anne Frank. Her performance as an isolated and frightened young woman in A Place in the Sun, for which she was nominated for an Oscar, was simply heart-breaking.
She demonstrated her talent in wide range of roles. From that sensitive and spurned factory worker in Place in the Sun to the harridan of a mother in A Patch of Blue, she showed a talent that few screen stars had equaled before — or since.
Because many of her films are on DVD, though Shelley Winters has passed, we will long be able to witness (and delight in) the excellence of her craft. And I will always appreciate how one of her great performances so fueled my childhood imagination.
The world has lost a legend, but is grateful for what she left behind.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com