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Sondra Locke

Sondra LockeAKA Sondra Louise Smith

Born: 28-May-1944 [1]
Birthplace: Shelbyville, TN
Died: 3-Nov-2018
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Heart Attack
Remains: Cremated

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Sondra Locke won a nationwide talent search to land her first movie role, in 1968's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, as a lonely teenaged girl who befriends a suicidal deaf-mute; her performance was nominated for an Oscar. In 1971, she starred in the rodent thriller Willard. Locke later appeared in a series of schlock roles in movies and on TV dramas like Cannon, Kung Fu, and Barnaby Jones. Her career took off when she appeared in The Outlaw Josey Wales, directed by Clint Eastwood, whom she dated. Their relationship spanned some dozen or so years, and Eastwood had her cast in several of his movies during the 1970s and 80s, including The Gauntlet and Every Which Way But Loose.

Eastwood's Malpaso Company funded Locke's directorial debut, a 1986 atrocity called Ratboy, the tale of a dwarfish human boy with rat-like features, befriended and exploited by Locke's character. Ten years later, Nathan Lane appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, and revealed that he had auditioned to play one of Ratboy's kidnappers. He did not land the part, he said, because he found the script so ludicrous he could not keep from laughing while delivering his lines.

In 1989[2], Locke filed a palimony suit against Eastwood, then dropped her case when Eastwood agreed to set up a $1.5 million deal with Warner Brothers to allow her to develop film projects. Locke sued again when she became convinced -- after having 30 separate projects rejected by Warner -- that the arrangement was a sham, and that Warner's executives were far more concerned with keeping Eastwood happy than in doing anything for Locke. That lawsuit was in jurors' hands in 1996, with analysts predicting that Locke would win, but Eastwood's lawyers suggested a settlement.

She has not worked much as an actress since then, and has directed only two more feature films. Impulse, a 1990 mobster drama, received lukewarm reviews, and Do Me A Favor (1997), went straight to video.

[1] Most printed publications list her birthdate as 1947. But the MTSU yearbook from 1963 has a photograph of her appearing in Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible. If born in 1947, this would make Locke a 16-year-old university student, an unlikely scenario.

[2] Anne Taylor Fleming, "For Movies' Tough Guy, a War at Home", The New York Times, 10 May 1989. Fleming cites the palimony suit and her additional claims that Eastwood "forced" her to have two abortions and a tubal ligation.

Father: Raymond Smith (biological father, Locke never met him)
Mother: Pauline Bayne
Father: Alfred Taylor Locke (stepfather, d. 30-Nov-2007)
Brother: Don Locke (half brother, b. 1946)
Husband: Gordon Anderson (gay sculptor, m. 25-Sep-1967, separated, until her death)
Clint Eastwood (together 1975-89)
Boyfriend: Scott Cunneen (surgeon, together 1990-2001)

    High School: Shelbyville Central High School, Shelbyville, TN (1962)
    University: Middle Tennessee State University (dropped out)

    Abortion twice
    Tubal Ligation
    Mastectomy double
    Risk Factors: Breast Cancer, Smoking, Brain Cancer

    Do Me a Favor (1997)
    Death in Small Doses (16-Jan-1995)
    Impulse (6-Apr-1990)
    Ratboy (17-Oct-1986)

    The Prophet's Game (1999)
    Ratboy (17-Oct-1986)
    Sudden Impact (9-Dec-1983) · Jennifer Spencer
    Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story (8-Dec-1982) · Rosemary Clooney
    Any Which Way You Can (17-Dec-1980)
    Bronco Billy (11-Jun-1980)
    Every Which Way But Loose (20-Dec-1978) · Lynn Halsey-Taylor
    The Gauntlet (10-Feb-1978) · Gus Mally
    Death Game (May-1977)
    The Outlaw Josey Wales (30-Jun-1976)
    The Second Coming of Suzanne (Oct-1974)
    A Reflection of Fear (12-Feb-1973)
    Willard (18-Jun-1971)
    Cover Me Babe (1-Oct-1970)
    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (31-Jul-1968) · Mick

Author of books:
The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly: A Hollywood Journey (1997, memoir)

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