Jennifer Jones, the beautiful, raven-haired actress who was nominated for Academy Awards five times, winning in 1943 for her portrayal of a saintly nun in "The Song of Bernadette," died Dec. 17, 2009. She was 90. Jones, who in later years was a leader of the Norton Simon Museum, died at her home in Malibu of natural causes.
Director Henry King recalled testing the six finalists for the role of Bernadette, a French peasant girl who claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858: "A man held a stick behind the camera; the girls focused their rapt attention on that stick. The other five did very well. But only Jennifer looked as if she saw the vision."
Known for her intense performances, Jones, seen here in a 1943 photo, was one of Hollywood's biggest stars of the 1940s and '50s. She received a supporting actress Oscar nomination for "Since You Went Away," and lead actress nominations for "Love Letters," "Duel in the Sun" and "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing."
In this 1955 film publicity image originally released by 20th Century Fox, actress Jennifer Jones is shown in "Love is a Many Splendored Thing." She rarely gave interviews, explaining to a reporter in 1957: "Most interviewers probe and pry into your personal life, and I just don't like it. I respect everyone's right to privacy, and I feel mine should be respected, too."
Jennifer Jones gestures during a speech after she was awarded the Golden Award for lifetime achievement in Berlin on June 6, 1997. Jones was the widow of wealthy industrialist Norton Simon. She previously was married to actor Robert Walker. She is survived by her son, Robert, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.