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Poll: What was Patricia Neal's best role?

August 9, 2010 |  6:04 pm

Patricia Neal's life was in many ways more dramatic than that of any character she portrayed on screen, what with relationships with Gary Cooper and Roald Dahl, her well-documented health problems and the tragic death of her daughter.

But between it all -- and despite a number of movie disappointments -- she managed some memorable turns on the screen, including high-handed Dominique Francon in "The Fountainhead,"  embattled wife Nettie Cleary in "The Subject Was Roses," rich adulteress 2-E in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and forlorn housekeeper Alma Brown in "Hud." Which one best made use of her talents? Our poll poses the tough questions.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: George Peppard, Audrey Hepburn and Patricia Neal in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's.' Credit: AP

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None of the above. Helen Benson in the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Only Patricia Neal could have carried that role, and make the character, and therefore the movie, believeable and relevant. Every gesture, every intonation, was spot on - and she could easily have slipped the entire movie into parody. But she made her character believe, and therefore, we believed. And the movie itself became a classic, thanks to her. May she rest in peace.

I believe Patricia Neal's best role was a made for TV movie about The Walton Family...'The Homecoming." It was a warm, loving film about John Boy Walton and his family. I loved it!


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