Happy 97th Birthday, Jennifer Jones!

Oscar winner Jennifer Jones was born Phyllis Lee Isley 97 years ago today in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She led something of a star-crossed life, outliving three husbands and two of her children, one of whom committed suicide, and struggling at times with mental health issues of her own.

Jones tried to commit suicide, too, and when she survived the attempt, she became very involved in mental health issues, contributing to many mental health organizations and donating $1 million in 1980 to establish the Jennifer Jones Simon Foundation for Mental Health and Education.

Given that Jones was nominated once for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and four times for Best Leading Actress (she won in 1944 for her work in The Song of Bernadette), it’s regrettable that she’s not better known today. Hers was as lovely a face as ever graced the screen, and her talent was estimable.

Happy birthday, Ms. Jones, wherever you may be!

Jennifer Jones