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Nina Foch

Updated on June 2, 2016
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I'm a fan of classic TV shows and films. My articles focus on the character actors and actress who usually played supporting roles.

Bio Stats

Birth: 20 April 1924 (Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands)

Died: 5 December 2008 (Los Angeles, California, USA)

Cause of Death: Myelodysplasia (a blood disorder)

Film and TV Appearances: 167+

Award Nominations: 4 (2 Wins)

Years Active: 1943 - 2007

The Ten Commandments (1956)

as Bithiah - the Egyptian princess who adopts Moses
as Bithiah - the Egyptian princess who adopts Moses

Early Life

Born Nina Consuelo Maud Fock on 20 April 1924, Nina Foch (she changed her name in 1941) was a respected actress, acting coach and drama teacher. The daughter of Dutch composer-conductor Dirk Fock and his wife actress Consuelo Flowerton (they later divorced), she grew up in New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She also trained under Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler, later on becoming an enthusiastic advocate of method acting.

Foch appeared on Broadway from 1948 to 1967. Some of the plays she appeared in were John Loves Mary; Twelfth Night; King Lear; The Taming of the Shrew; and A Second String. She was also an assistant director (uncredited) to George Stevens on the film The Diary of Anne Frank (1959).

"I salute the people who have the gristle to manage it, to be actors in this day and age and put up with the way they're treated. You have a choice, you either get afraid, or you get so afraid that you're angry. It is that anger, that rage, that saved my life, I think."

— Nina Foch

Film

In 1943 at the age of 19 she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures making her feature film debut in The Return of the Vampire. Some of the other films she appeared in included My Name is Julia Ross (1945); Prison Ship (1945); The Dark Past (1948); An American in Paris (1951); Scaramouche (1952); You're Never Too Young (1955); The Ten Commandments (1956); Spartacus (1960); Such Good Friends (1971); Salty (1973); Jennifer (1978); Nomads (1986); Skin Deep (1989); Morning Glory (1993); Shadow of a Doubt (1998); and How to Deal (2003).

It was for her role as Erica Martin in the film Executive Suite (1954) that she received her only Academy Awards nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, although she did receive a similar award from the National Board of Review (USA). The only other award she got for this role was part of the ensemble cast of the film which won a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1954. Foch received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 - one for film (at 6322 Hollywood Blvd) and one for television (at 7021 Hollywood Blvd).

Executive Suite (1954)

Television

Foch continued to mix teaching and acting for many years as well being a consultant on seven films; directing one TV movie - Family Blessings and appearing in the mini-series War and Remembrance and Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City.

Made for television movies she appeared in were Ten Little Indians (1959); Prescription: Murder (1968); Penelope Beware! (1968); Gidget Grows Up (1969); The Scarecrow (1972); Female Artillery (1973); The Great Houdini (1976); Child of Glass (1978); Ebony, Ivory and Jade (1979); Outback Bound (1988); In the Arms of a Killer (1992); Alien Nation: Dark Horizon (1994); Family Blessings (1998); and Back When We Were Grownups (2004).

Some of the TV shows she appeared on were The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; Pulitzer Prize Playhouse; Lux Video Theatre; Suspense; Wagon Train; Naked City; Route 66; Combat!; I Spy; Bonanza; Gunsmoke; The Name of the Game; Mod Squad; Hawaii Five-O; Barnaby Jones; Shadow Chasers; L.A. Law; Hunter; Reasonable Doubts; Murder, She Wrote; Dharma and Greg; NCIS; and The Closer.

In 1980 she was nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her guest role in the Lou Grant episode "Hollywood".

Hawaii Five-O (1968-1980)

as Marian Scott in "Little Girl Blue" (season 5)
as Marian Scott in "Little Girl Blue" (season 5)

In the 1960s, Foch began teaching acting and drama classes at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (the most popular course she taught was "Directing the Actor") where she continued to teach until her death. She also taught classes at the American Film Institute.

Married three times, she had only one child, a son who later became a doctor. Foch died on 5 December 2008 after falling ill while teaching one of her classes.

The Nina Foch Course for Filmmakers and Actors is available on DVD and online.

Believe it or not, teaching is the most rewarding thing I do. It has been the most successful thing I've done in my life.

— Nina Foch

The Nina Foch Course for Filmmakers and Actors

The Nina Foch Course for Filmmakers and Actors
The Nina Foch Course for Filmmakers and Actors

Footage from Nina Foch's acting classes at USC School of Cinematic Arts

 

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