Gale Sondergaard (* February 15, 1899 in Litchfield, Minnesota, † 14 August 1985 in Woodland Hills, California; actually Edith Holm Sondergaard ) was an American actress of Danish descent. She was the first woman to be awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
She attended drama school School of Dramatic Arts in Minneapolis and later moved to the theater to John Keller Shakespeare Company. With appearances in such plays as Hamlet, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth she traveled through North America. With the drama Anthony Adverse (1936 ) she made her film debut, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Originally she was in the 1939 musical film The Wizard of Oz embody the figure of the evil witch. But when Metro -Goldwyn -Mayer decided the seductive appearance of the evil witch with makeup to transform into an ugly, she refused the role and was replaced by Margaret Hamilton. In 1946, she was again nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress, the award but did not win this time.
In 1922 she married Neil O'Malley, but left in 1930 divorced from him. That same year, she completed a marriage with director Herbert Biberman, emerged from the two children. As an actress in the 1930s and 1940s initially successful, her career suffered a serious setback in the early 1950s during the McCarthy era. Her husband was accused of being a communist and added ten in the list of Hollywood, to which they themselves also came on the blacklist. They sold their house in Hollywood and moved to New York, where Gale came to the theater again. After the death of her husband in 1971 she was seen again in various film and television productions. With 86 years she died of cerebral venous thrombosis in Woodland Hills, California.
Her features inspired Walt Disney in the creation of the Evil Queen for the animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.