was a marvelous actress. She was so gifted she
made every part look easy...and she didn’t choose easy
parts. It was a great pleasure to work with her."
was the most amazing actress: spellbinding. The
audience would hang on her every pause. And as we all
acknowledge, her characterizations were miraculous; no
one can say then nor now from where her profound
inspirations came. But there they were, for herself and for
all of the world, forever. I will never forget her."
"Sandy was an terribly giving person—you could never repay
her generous kindness."
Sandy's performance in Virginia Wolfe to The Out-of-
Towners, who comes to mind with more range? Nobody I
can think of. And she was a very nice lady."
with Sandy Dennis was an interesting ex-
perience, to say the least. She was surely one of the most
un-star-like stars in films. She spoke her mind, refused to
make herself glamorous (or the efforts of others to make
her so); she worked from the inside, often perplexing her
partners. To have been teamed with Tony Newly as her
co- star seemed a particularly poor combination. Tony was
a stickler for accuracy where Sandy was not. He refused to see that Sandy's
freewheeling line readings and interpretations also
gave rise to some very interesting, even inspired, moments. He was merely
irritated by them. And by Sandy's down-"
Touch of Love was based on The Millstone, the novel
by Margaret Drabble, with whom I had acted in under-
graduate productions at Cambridge. I had rather assumed
she might want to play her own heroine in the film, as on
leaving university she had briefly acted professionally for
the Royal Shakespeare Company. After all, the director
Waris Hussein had directed us both, again at Cambridge.
But no— commercial considerations cast a star, an actor
who on the face of it could not have been less appropriate
to play Rosamund, a quintessential middle-class English gal
who defies convention by willfully starting a one-parent family.
Dennis as Rosamund started with a hefty disadvantage—her
accent—and confounded us all by delivering the lines in a perfectly
voice that fitted the character exactly. She hummed and hah-ed and
stuttered her way through each scene with that characteristic self-
deprecating laugh with which she coloured all her performances. On this
occasion, the director and editor cut out so many of her hesitations that
her acting was transformed and Sandy’s innate strengths were revealed
perhaps more clearly than in any other of her films. She soaked herself
the part, as I suspect she always did, but in A Touch of Love her
mannerisms weren’t allowed to distract from the characterization.
is still available on video, and there she is as fresh and original as
work with she was a joy. It was my first time in front of a movie
camera, and Sandy would have had every right to be appalled that she had
been saddled with an incompetent actor to support her in her major scenes.
Perhaps she took comfort from the sturdy professionalism of the rest of
very experienced cast but equally perhaps she was just a very kind woman.
Off-camera, we joked together, and she told me about her menagerie of
animals and her hubby back home in the States. She never played the star
and seemed to enjoy being one of the team with whom she was popular.
she lived, by now she would have been a veteran actor of formidable
powers or perhaps, eschewing work, she would simply be an animal-lover
home, smiling indulgently at the craziness of the world around her."
Ian McKellen, August 2004
Dennis never met an unpredictable instinct she didn’t like. She
was an actress and woman with beautiful idio-syncrasies and gentleness.
There’s never been anyone like her. And me and movies miss her a
lot. I directed the movie that turned out to be her last, The Indian
Runner, which we shot in and around Omaha, Nebraska. I was honored
to work with her and I’m pleased to know that she’s being
honored by her own.”