Hope Lange
Lange in 1957
Hope Elise Ross Lange

(1933-11-28)November 28, 1933
DiedDecember 19, 2003(2003-12-19) (aged 70)
Alma materReed College
Years active1942–1998
(m. 1956; div. 1961)
(m. 1963; div. 1971)
Charles Hollerith, Jr.
(m. 1986)
Children2, including Christopher Murray

Hope Elise Ross Lange (November 28, 1933 – December 19, 2003)[1] was an American film, stage, and television actress. She was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Selena Cross in the 1957 film Peyton Place. In 1969 and 1970, she twice won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Carolyn Muir in the sitcom The Ghost & Mrs. Muir.

Early life

15-year-old Lange modeling the "Man-from-Mars, Radio Hat", 1949

Lange was born into a theatrical family in Redding, Connecticut.[2] Her father, John George Lange, was a cellist and the music arranger for Florenz Ziegfeld and conductor for Henry Cohen; her mother, Minette (née Buddecke), was an actress.[3] They had two other daughters, Minelda and Joy, and a son, David.[4][5][6] John worked in New York City and the family moved to Greenwich Village when Hope was a young child.[citation needed]

Lange sang with other children in the play Life, Laughter and Tears, which opened at the Booth Theatre in March 1942.[7] Her father died in September 1942. The family stayed in New York City after his death.[8] At age 9, she had a speaking part in the award-winning Broadway play The Patriots, which opened in January 1943.[9][10] From 1944 to 1956 Minette ran a restaurant on Macdougal Street, near Washington Square Park,[3] called Minette's of Washington Square. (Some sources confuse it with Minetta Tavern, an Italian restaurant on Macdougal Street, founded in 1937.) The entire family worked there; Minelda ran the cash register, and Joy and Hope waited on tables.[11][12]

In high school, Lange studied dance, modeled, and worked in the family restaurant. She sometimes walked the dog of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who had a nearby apartment.[13] When her photo appeared in the newspaper, she received an offer to work as a New York City advertising model.[14] She appeared on the June 1949 cover of Radio-Electronics magazine wearing the "Man from Mars" Radio Hat. This portable radio built into a pith helmet was a sensation in 1949.[15]

Lange attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, for one year, studying dance and theater before subsequently transferring to Barmore Junior College in New York,[16] where she met her first husband, Don Murray.[17]


Lange began working in television in the 1950s with appearances on Kraft Television Theatre. She was seen by a Hollywood producer and contracted to 20th Century Fox. She came to prominence in her first film role in Bus Stop with Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray, whom she married on April 14, 1956. Murray later said that Monroe grew jealous of another blonde being hired for the movie and asked the producers to dye Lange's blonde hair light brown.[2]

Lange in Death Wish (1974)

After favorable reviews, Lange landed a major role in the then-risqué 1957 film Peyton Place. Her strong performance earned her a nomination for a Golden Globe Award and another for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She subsequently became well-known for such supporting ingénue roles, and said that the resulting typecasting shortened her movie career.[18]

She went on to appear in Nicholas Ray's film The True Story of Jesse James (1957) as James' wife, opposite Robert Wagner; and in The Young Lions with Montgomery Clift. She starred as the wife of Jeffrey Hunter's character in Anton Myrer's wartime drama In Love and War (1958). These roles led to her earning top billing in The Best of Everything (1959), with Suzy Parker and Joan Crawford.[2]

Lange appeared as Elvis Presley's older psychologist love interest in Wild in the Country (1961), despite being only 13 months Elvis's senior. She then appeared in Frank Capra's final movie, Pocketful of Miracles, with Glenn Ford (for whom she had left her husband, fellow actor Don Murray). The next year, she co-starred with Ford again, in the romantic comedy Love Is a Ball.[2]

Lange returned to television for a 1966 role on the series The Fugitive (1963). She starred from 1968 to 1970 on the television series, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir for which she earned two Emmy Awards.[19][20] and a Golden Globe Award nomination. This success was followed by three seasons on The New Dick Van Dyke Show as Dick Van Dyke's wife, Jenny Preston, from 1971 to 1974, after which she declined to return for a fourth season of the show.[2] She also appeared in twelve television movies, one being Crowhaven Farm where she played the role of a witch. In 1977, she returned to the Broadway stage where her acting career had originally begun. She also played the murdered wife of Charles Bronson's vigilante character in Death Wish (1974). In 1985, she appeared in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, and in 1986, she took a role as Laura Dern's mother in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. She took a Broadway role in Same Time, Next Year and then made appearances in the television movie based on Danielle Steel's Message from Nam and in Clear and Present Danger (1994).

Lange made appearances in the Maine town in which Peyton Place had been filmed during the film's 40th anniversary celebrations in 1998.[2]

Personal life

Date of birth

Lange's year of birth is often reported as 1931, but the correct year is 1933. A possible source of this error is the Reader's Digest Almanac and Yearbook.[21] It has shown the 1931 date from as early as 1980 to the 2009 issue. The 1976 and earlier editions give the year of birth as 1933.[22] Other references such as Chase's Annual Events have always shown 1933,[1] as does her Social Security Death Index entry.

The 1933 year also matches the ages given in newspaper accounts of Lange in her youth. The New York Times covered the annual "Young People's Concert" awards given at Carnegie Hall. Lange received an award in April 1945[23] and again in April 1946, when her age was given as 12.[24] Lange's age of 12 in April 1946 would correspond to a birthdate in November 1933, not 1931.

Also, a short feature story was published in February 1951 about Hope Lange's culinary skills. The first paragraph gives the biography of a 17-year-old Hope Lange of Greenwich Village, New York. Her late father was "director of music for Florenz Ziegfield [sic]" and her mother had a catering business. In addition to modeling, acting, and dancing, Hope could make "terrific" sandwiches. The article gives her recipes for "Sardine Strips" and "Cheese Ribbon" sandwiches.[25] Born in 1933, Lange would have been 17 years old in February 1951.


Lange's first marriage was to actor Don Murray, whom she met while filming his breakout role in Bus Stop with Marilyn Monroe in 1956; they had two children,[2] actor Christopher Murray and photographer Patricia Murray. Lange left Don Murray in 1961 for actor Glenn Ford, associate producer and co-star of Pocketful of Miracles. They had a four-year relationship but never married.[2] She left acting for three years after her October 19, 1963, marriage to producer-director Alan J. Pakula, whom she divorced in 1971.[citation needed]

In 1972, she also dated Frank Sinatra and began a relationship with married novelist John Cheever.[26] In 1986, she married theatrical producer Charles Hollerith, Jr. (1927–2011), with whom she remained for the rest of her life.[2]


Lange died on December 19, 2003, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, as a result of an ischemic colitis infection at the age of 70. Her body was cremated.[27]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1956 Bus Stop Elma Duckworth Alternative title: The Wrong Kind of Girl [28]
1957 The True Story of Jesse James Zee James Alternative title: The James Brothers [28]
1957 Peyton Place Selena Cross [28]
1958 The Young Lions Hope Plowman [28]
1958 In Love and War Andrea Lenaine Kantaylis [28]
1959 The Best of Everything Caroline Bender [28]
1961 Wild in the Country Irene Sperry [28]
1961 Pocketful of Miracles Elizabeth "Queenie" Martin [28]
1963 Love Is a Ball Millicent "Millie" Mehaffey Alternative title: All This and Money Too [28]
1968 Jigsaw Helen Atterbury [28]
1974 I Love You... Good-bye Karen Chandler
1974 Death Wish Joanna Kersey [28]
1983 The Prodigal Anne Stewart [28]
1983 I Am the Cheese Betty Farmer [28]
1985 A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge Shirl Walsh [28]
1986 Blue Velvet Mrs. Williams [28]
1990 Tune in Tomorrow Margaret Quince Alternative title: Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter [28]
1994 Clear and Present Danger Senator Mayo [29]
1995 Just Cause Libby Prentiss [30]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1956 Kraft Television Theatre Randy Episode: "Snapfinger Creek"
1957–1958 Playhouse 90 Raiya
Jessica Lovell
Alex Winter
3 episodes
1962 Cyrano De Bergerac Roxane Television film
1962; 1975 Hallmark Hall of Fame Roxane
Mrs. Douglas
2 episodes
1966 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Rachel Douglas Episode: "Shipwrecked"
1966 The Fugitive Annie Johnson Episode: "The Last Oasis" [30]
1967 CBS Playhouse Lois Graves Episode: "Dear Friends" [30]
1968–1970 The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Carolyn Muir 50 episodes
1970 Crowhaven Farm Maggie Porter Television film [30]
1971–1974 The New Dick Van Dyke Show Jenny Preston 72 episodes [30]
1972 That Certain Summer Janet Salter Television film
1973 The 500 Pound Jerk Karen Walsh Television film
1974 I Love You, Good-bye Karen Chandler Television film
1974 Fer-de-Lance Elaine Wedell Television film
1975 The Secret Night Caller Pat Durant Television film
1975 Medical Story Diana Hopkins Episode: "Woman In White"
1975 The Rivalry Mrs. Douglas Television film
1976 Gibbsville Harriet Episode: "Afternoon Waltz"
1977 Police Story Ann Wells Episode: "Nightmare on a Sunday Morning"
1977 The Love Boat II Elaine Palmer Television film
1978 The Love Boat Sandra Newberry Episode: "Where Is It Written?/Julie's Aunt/The Big Deal" [30]
1978 Match Game Herself (panelist) 5 episodes
1979 Like Normal People Roz Meyers Television film
1980 The Day Christ Died Claudia Television film
1980 Beulah Land Deborah Kendrick Miniseries [30]
1980 Pleasure Palace Madelaine Calvert Television film
1982 Matt Houston Kate Riley Episode: "Recipe for Murder"
1983 Fantasy Island Marion Stamford Episode: "Naughty Marietta/The Winning Ticket"
1983–1986 Hotel Gwen Andrews
Dr. Hannah Fielding
2 episodes
1984 Finder of Lost Loves Catherine Connally Smith Episode: "Maxwell Ltd: Finder of Lost Loves Pilot"
1985 Survival Guide Television film
1985 Private Sessions Mrs. Coles Television film
1987 Ford: The Man and the Machine Clara Ford Television film
1987 Trying Times Frances Fletcher Episode: " A Family Tree"
1987–1993 Murder, She Wrote Charlotte Newcastle
Helen Lewis
2 episodes [30]
1989 Knight & Daye Gloria Daye 7 episodes [30]
1993 Dead Before Dawn Virginia DeSilva Television film
1993 Cooperstown Cassie Willette Television film
1993 Message from Nam Marjorie Wilson Television film
1998 Before He Wakes Helen Rawlings Television film, (final film role)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1957 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress Peyton Place Nominated [31]
1969 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Won [32]
1970 Won
1973 Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role That Certain Summer Nominated
1957 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Peyton Place Nominated [33]
1968 Best TV Star – Female The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Nominated
1957 Laurel Awards Top New Female Personality Nominated
1973 TP de Oro Best Foreign Actress 5th Place
2008 TV Land Awards Favorite Character from the "Other Side" The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Nominated


  1. ^ a b Chase, William D.; Helen M. Chase (1988). Chase's Annual Events: Special Days, Weeks and Months in 1988. McGraw-Hill. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-8092-4667-0. Hope Lange, actress, born at Reading Ridge, CT, Nov. 28, 1933
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Hope Lange". The Independent. 23 December 2003. Retrieved March 3, 2009.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Mrs. John G. Lange". The New York Times. October 31, 1970. "Mrs. Minette Buddecke Lange, who ran Minette's restaurant in Macdougal Street from 1944 to 1956, died Oct. 23 in a nursing home in Hanover, N. H. Her age was 71. She was the widow of John George Lange, composer and conductor."
  4. ^ "Jiras-Lange". The New York Times. August 28, 1949. p. 70. Minelda Lange, daughter of Mrs. John G. Lange married Robert Jiras. Minelda attended American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
  5. ^ "Harry Boardman 1920–2009". Whetstone Inn, Inc. Retrieved September 12, 2009. "During this time [1949–1954], he met and married Joy Lange, for whose family he had worked as a waiter at their Macdougal Street restaurant—Minette’s of Washington Square—and whose sister, Hope, was beginning to make a name as a Hollywood star in movies such as Bus Stop and Peyton Place."
  6. ^ Birth and death years for Minelda L Jiras and Joy L Boardman are from the Social Security Death Index.
  7. ^ "News of the Stage". The New York Times. February 21, 1942. p. 14. Life, Laughter and Tears arrives at the Booth on March 11. Mildred Dunnock, Gene Ross, Mervin Taylor, Hope Lange and Joan Shepherd are recent additions to the cast.
  8. ^ "Deaths". The New York Times. September 15, 1942. p. 23. John George Lange, September 13, 1942.
  9. ^ Nathan, George Jean; Charles Angoff (1972). The Theatre Book of the Year, 1942–1943. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-8386-7946-3. The Patriots opened January 29, 1943. Hope Lange played Anne Randolph.
  10. ^ Corry, John (July 1, 1977). "Broadway". The New York Times. p. 41. Miss Lange was on Broadway at the age of 9, appearing in something called The Patriot
  11. ^ Scott, Vernon (January 5, 1972). "Hope Lange is a divorcee off of stage". Boca Raton News. Boca Raton, Florida. pp. 5B.
  12. ^ Gehman, Richard (May 1959). "Moveland marriage with a mission". Coronet. 45 (38): 38–40.
  13. ^ Beasley, Henry R.; Holly Cowan Shulman (2001). The Eleanor Roosevelt encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 382. ISBN 978-0-313-30181-0. Eleanor Roosevelt lived at 29 Washington Square West from 1945 to 1949
  14. ^ Polgreen, Lydia (December 22, 2003). "Hope Lange, Versatile Actress And Emmy Winner, Dies at 70". The New York Times. p. 7.
  15. ^ "The Radio Hat". Radio Electronics. 20 (9): 4, 32–33. June 1949. Cover description: The Radio Hat, posed by Hope Lange. page 4
  16. ^ Benner, Ralph; Clements, Mary Jo (1964). The Young Actors' Guide to Hollywood. New York: Coward-McCann. p. 41. OCLC 702220902.
  17. ^ Stone, Judy (February 16, 1969). "Nothing Haunted About Hope". The New York Times. p. D19.
  18. ^ Oliver, Myrna (December 22, 2003). "Hope Lange, 70; Drew an Oscar Nomination for 'Peyton Place'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
  19. ^ 1969 Emmy Award
  20. ^ 1970 Emmy Award
  21. ^ Reader's Digest Almanac and Yearbook, 1980. Reader's Digest Association. 1980. p. 277. ISBN 978-0-89577-079-0. Hope Lange (1931– ) actress
  22. ^ Reader's Digest Almanac and Yearbook, 1976. Reader's Digest Association. 1976. p. 262. Hope Lange (1933– ) actress
  23. ^ "Ganz Plays Works By Girl, 13, Boy, 14". The New York Times. April 8, 1945. p. 36. an annual "Young People's Concerts" award
  24. ^ "Youth Awards Given For Music Notebooks". The New York Times. April 7, 1946. p. 40.
  25. ^ "Versatile Greenwich Villager, 17, Tells Her Sprightly Buffet Recipes". The Lowell Sun. February 20, 1951. p. 4. This wire-service story was published in several newspapers.
  26. ^ Donaldson, Scott (2001). John Cheever: A Biography. iUniverse. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-595-21138-8. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
  27. ^ "Hope Lange, actress in 'Peyton Place,' dies". Deseret News. Salt Lake City. 2003-12-22. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Hope Lange filmography". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Archived from the original on February 19, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  29. ^ "Actress Hope Lange Dies at 70". The Washington Post. December 23, 2003. Archived from the original on February 19, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Hope Lange Credits". TV Guide. Archived from the original on February 19, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  31. ^ "The 30th Academy Awards (1958) Nominees and Winners". Oscars.org (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
  32. ^ "Hope Lange". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  33. ^ "Hope Lange – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved December 18, 2021.