Zoë Ada Caldwell

Zoë Ada Caldwell, actor (b at Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia 14 Sept 1933). Caldwell was educated in Melbourne and made her acting debut with the Union Theatre Repertory Company in 1953. She moved to England where she performed with the Stratford-on-Avon Company (1958-61) and the Royal Court Theatre before moving to Canada in 1961. Here she joined the Stratford Festival for performances as Rosaline in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost and Sonja Downfahl in Donald Jack's The Canvas Barricade, winner of the 1961 Canadian play-writing competition sponsored by the Globe and Mail.

During her years in Canada, Caldwell established herself as an actor in both classical and modern roles in television and on stage. In 1962 she performed the role of Lady Macbeth to Sean Connery's Macbeth on CBC Festival, and in 1976 she was nominated for an international Emmy award when she played Sarah Bernhardt in the CBC television production of Sarah. At the Manitoba Theatre Centre, she played Pegeen Mike in J.M. Synge's Playboy of the Western World (1960-61) and the title role in Brecht's Mother Courage (1964-65). She toured with the Canadian Players in 1963, worked with the Crest Theatre in 1964, and played Orinthia in Shaw's The Apple Cart and Lena in Misalliance at the Shaw Festival in 1966. She returned to Stratford in 1967 to play Lady Anne (Richard III), Mistress Page (The Merry Wives of Windsor), and Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, which was transferred to the Expo Theatre in October 1967.

In the 1960s Caldwell was also establishing herself as an actor in the US, where she acted in The Madwoman of Chaillot at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago (1964), and The Way of the World and The Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis (1966). She won the Best Supporting Actress Tony Award for Polly in Tennessee Williams's Slapstick Tragedy (1966). Caldwell was later awarded Tonys as Best Actress for her performances in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1968), Medea (1982), and as Maria Callas in Terrence McNally's Master Class (1995), all three of which were produced by her husband, Montréal-born theatre producer Robert Whitehead (b 3 Mar 1916; d 15 June 2002). Among her many film-acting credits two stand out; her role as the Countess in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) and the lending of her voice to Disney's 2002 release, Lilo & Stitch.

In 1979 Caldwell made her directing debut at Stratford with Richard II at the Avon Theatre. In 1988, also at Stratford, she directed her friend Christopher Plummer in Macbeth. Other directing highlights include an off-Broadway production of Othello (1981-82) which starred Christopher Plummer and James Earl Jones, and a Broadway production of Park Your Car in Harvard Yard which starred Jason Robards and Judith Ivey (Music Box Theatre, 1991-92).

Caldwell's renown as an actor in both classical and modern productions garnered her the Theatre World Award (1966), the Order of the British Empire (1970) and the Bernard B. Jacobs Excellence in Theatre Award (1999).