I was saddened to hear of Patricia Neal’s passing. Back in the 80s I went to Martha’s Vineyard to interview her. She was charming and gracious and very, very sharp … in spite of the challenges brought on by her strokes. We talked at length about movies and her life.
She was reluctant to be terribly forthcoming because she had written a book that was to be published within the next months. But she did talk about her love for Gary Cooper and her heartbreak around the affair and the “back street” abortion she had of their child.
In 1949, while filming The Hasty Heart in London with Ronald Reagan, they were both suffering from loves lost: Neal’s with Cooper and Reagan’s with Jane Wyman. They spent so much time together commiserating with each other in their hotel rooms that rumors abounded that they were having an affair. Not at all, Ms. Neal told me; there was no affair. They just needed someone to talk to.
Her talent and her positive outlook on life will be missed.