Beatrice Straight

Birth Name: Beatrice Whitney Straight

Date of Birth: August 2, 1914

Place of Birth: Old Westbury, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: April 7, 2001

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: English

Beatrice Straight was an American actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Network (1976).

Beatrice was born to a prominent upper-class family, the granddaughter of Navy Secretary William Collins Whitney. Her parents were Dorothy Payne (Whitney), a social activist, philanthropist, and publisher, and Willard Dickerman Straight, an investment banker, diplomat, and career U.S. Army officer. She was the sister of motor racing driver, aviator, and businessperson Whitney Straight and magazine publisher, novelist, and patron of the arts Michael Straight; Michael was a stepfather of filmmaker Burr Steers. She was also the niece of businessperson and horse breeder Harry Payne Whitney, heiress Pauline Payne Whitney, and businessperson Payne Whitney.

Her stepfather was English philanthropist and agronomist Leonard Knight Elmhirst.

Beatrice was married to actor Peter Cookson, until his death. She had a son with her former husband, French writer, editor, producer, and French Resistance leader Louis Dolivet; and two children with Peter.

Beatrice’s paternal grandfather was Henry Harrison Straight (the son of Hiram Straight and Lydia Rice). Henry was born in New York, and was a geologist and professor, who was the second president of Peru State College. Hiram was the son of Aspen Wall Straight and Mary Ann Potter Chatham.

Beatrice’s paternal grandmother was named Emma May Dickerman (the son of Col. Willard Arms Dickerman and Margaret). Emma was born in Illinois.

Beatrice’s maternal grandfather was William Collins Whitney (the son of James Scollay Whitney and Laurinda Collins). William was born in Massachusetts, and was the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, from 1885 to 1889. William’s brother, Beatrice’s great-uncle, was industrialist Henry Melville Whitney, who founded the West End Street Railway Company, the Dominion Coal Company Ltd., and the Dominion Iron and Steel Company. James was a prominent business executive and politician, and was the son of Stephen Whitney, a merchant manufacturer, and of Mary Burgess. Laurinda was the daughter of William Collins and Eunice Parsons.

Beatrice’s maternal grandmother was Flora Payne (the son of Henry B. Payne and Mary P. Perry). Flora was born in Ohio. Her brother, Beatrice’s great-uncle Nathan P. Payne, was Mayor of Cleveland, from 1875 to 1876. Beatrice’s great-grandfather Henry was a Democratic politician, who was a U.S. Senator from Ohio, from 1885 to 1891, and a candidate for his party’s nomination for President of the United States in 1860. He was the son of Elisha Payne and Esther Douglass. Beatrice’s great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of Nathan Perry and Pauline S.

Sources: Genealogy of Beatrice Straight –

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