The daughter of an attorney father and an opera-diva mother, Constance Cummings took dancing
lessons in the hopes of becoming a prima ballerina. She switched to acting, landing the role of
Diana in a stock-company production of Seventh Heaven when she was only 16. Within a few years, she
was appearing on Broadway as a chorus dancer in the company of such leading lights as
Gertrude Lawrence and Clifton Webb.
In 1930, she was brought to Hollywood by Sam Goldwyn for the
Ronald Colman vehicle The Devil to Pay. She was
replaced in that film by Loretta Young, but the next year she was prominently cast in
Howard Hawks' prison picture The Criminal Code (1931).
Seldom cast as a conventional ingenue, Constance enjoyed such complex roles as the
twin-personality heroine in Harold Lloyd's Movie Crazy (1932).
Upon her marriage to British playwright W. Benn Levy in 1933, Constance moved to England, where she
remained for the rest of her career. Matriculating into a topnotch character actress,
Constance starred in the London production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and appeared opposite
Laurence Olivier in Long Day's Journey Into Night.
Constance Cummings was honored with the Order of the British Empire in 1974, and in 1979 she won a
"Best Actress" Tony for her Broadway performance in Arthur Kopit's Wings.
As of 2005, she is living in Chelsea, London and is said to be very frail.