Nancy Olson Livingston is the Academy Award-nominated actress best known for her roles in such classic films as Sunset Boulevard (1950), Big Jim McLain (1952), Pollyanna (1960) and The Absent Minded Professor (1961). More recently, she has appeared on the HBO series Big Love.
Born in Milwaukee, she was studying theater at UCLA when she was discovered by a talent scout and soon after signed to a contract with Paramount Studios. She made her feature film debut in 1948 with William Dieterle’s Portrait of Jennie and followed that with a supporting role opposite Randolph Scott, Jane Wyatt and J. Carrol Naish in Canadian Pacific (1949). In 1950, she starred opposite William Holden in the iconic Billy Wilder film Sunset Boulevard, for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. She would go on to co-star with Holden in Union Station (1950), Force of Arms (1951, directed by Michael Curtiz) and Submarine Command (1951). Throughout the 1950s and ‘60s, she starred in such films as Mr. Music (1950, with Bing Crosby); Big Jim McLain, with John Wayne; Robert Wise’s So Big (1953); Raoul Walsh’s Battle Cry (1955); Pollyanna; The Absent Minded Professor; and Son of Flubber (1963). Livingston returned to Broadway in the late ‘50s, appearing in such plays as The Tunnel of Love, Send Me No Flowers and Mary, Mary.
She also made several appearances on television starting in the mid-1950s including Lux Video Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Big Valley, Gunsmoke and Barnaby Jones. The mother of two daughters and a son, she was also an active parent and took major breaks in her career to focus on her family. She has since made a guest appearance on the tv show Big Love in 2010, and continues to be active in the arts community, at one time serving as president of the Los Angeles Music Center’s Blue Ribbon. She just completed her memoir, Front Row Seat, to be published in the coming year.