Sweet and sensitive Teresa Wright made her Broadway debut as an understudy in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" and, after touring in that play, attracted the attention of Samuel Goldwyn while playing the ingenue in the original Broadway production of "Life with Father". She made a sensational transition to screen acting, earning a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for her film debut as the seemingly fragile Southern belle Alexandra Giddens who more than holds her own with her scheming mother Regina (Bette Davis) in William Wyler's "The Little Foxes" (1941), based on the Lillian Hellman play. Wright avoided the sophomore slump with Oscar nominations for her next two movies, winning as Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Greer Garson's daughter-in-law in Wyler's "Mrs. Miniver" while falling short in the Best Actress category as the wife of Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper) in "Pride of the Yankees" (both 1942). Despite her formidable talent, she was just a little too plain to really flourish as a Hollywood starlet, though she beautifully captured the small-town adolescent who gradually comes to discover her beloved Uncle Charlie is a murderer in Alfred Hitchcock's "A Shadow of a Doubt" (1943) and reteamed with Wyler as the daughter of a returning veteran in the Oscar-winning "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946), her radiant smile lighting up the final scene with the seeming promise of good times ahead with Dana Andrews.
Wright starred opposite a debuting Marlon Brando in Fred Zinnemann's "The Men" (1950), her part and the picture recalling "The Best Years of Our Lives", but many of her subsequent roles were routine, her lack of glamour pushing her prematurely into matronly parts (e.g., as Jean Simmons' mother in George Cukor's "The Actress" 1953 at the age of 34). She retired from film in 1959 but continued acting for the small screen, picking up Emmy nominations as teacher Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker" (CBS, 1957) and in the title role as the famed photographer in "The Margaret Bourke-White Story" (NBC, 1960). Wright made guest appearances on many series throughout the 60s (i.e., "Bonanza", "The Defenders", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour") and, despite a return to features in 1969, has continued to act more frequently for TV than the big screen. Another Emmy nomination came her way for her guest spot on CBS' short-lived "Dolphin Cove" (1989), and she also turned up on two popular CBS series, "Murder, She Wrote" (in 1988) and "Picket Fences" (in 1996).
After more than a decade's absence from the stage, Wright returned first to regional theater in the early 50s in such vehicles as "The Country Wife" (Vancouver), "Bell, Book, and Candle" (Phoenix), "The Heiress" (Palm Springs) and "The Rainmaker" (La Jolla) before treading the Broadway boards again in William Inge's "Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1957). She was back on the Great White Way in "I Never Sang for My Father" (1968), written by then-husband Robert Anderson, and in 1975 appeared in two Broadway revivals, Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman", as Linda Loman to George C Scott's Willy and Eugene O'Neill's "Ah, Wilderness!" as the stern aunt Lily. In the 80s, she triumphed once again as one of the sisters in the acclaimed revival of "Morning's at Seven" (1980-81) sharing a special Drama Desk Award with the ensemble that included Maureen O'Sullivan, Nancy Marchand and Gary Merrill.
During the same period, Wright appeared in occasional features. She was touching as the widow who comes alive on the dance floor in "Roseland" (1977) and was the contemporary secretary to an old actress in the cult romance "Somewhere in Time" (1980). In 1988. she and Ralph Bellamy lent their considerable talents to the roles of Diane Keaton's concerned grandparents taking sides in a custody battle in "The Good Mother". After nearly a decade away from the big screen, she delivered a fine turn as the flighty old landlady Miss Birdie in "John Grisham's 'The Rainmaker'" (1997), adapted and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, showing herself off as a fine senior citizen in the tradition of the late Lillian Gish, with whom Wright acted on Broadway in "I Never Sang for My Father".