Jessie Royce Landis Cause of Death: How the Actress Lost Her Battle with Cancer

Jessie Royce Landis was a renowned actress who appeared in many stage and screen productions, including two Alfred Hitchcock classics: To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest. She was known for her elegant and witty portrayals of high-society women, often playing the mother of younger stars like Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. But behind her glamorous image, she was also fighting a personal war against cancer, which eventually claimed her life in 1972. In this article, we will explore Jessie Royce Landis’ cause of death and how she coped with her illness.

A Life of Drama and Success

Jessie Royce Landis was born Jessie Medbury in Chicago, Illinois, on November 25, 1896. She began her acting career at the age of 20, when she made her stage debut at the Playhouse in Chicago as the young countess in The Highwayman. She soon moved to Broadway, where she starred in many plays, such as The Honor of the Family, Larger Than Life, and Roar Like a Dove. She also toured extensively in the US and abroad, performing in various genres, from comedy to drama to musicals.

She made her film debut in 1931, in a short film called The Big Shot, but she did not pursue a Hollywood career until the 1950s, when she was already in her 50s. She quickly established herself as a character actress, playing sophisticated and often humorous roles in films like The Swan, Bonjour Tristesse, and Family Affair. She achieved her greatest fame when she worked with Alfred Hitchcock, who cast her as the mother of Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief (1955) and the mother of Cary Grant in North by Northwest (1959). She was praised for her chemistry and comic timing with the leading men, and for her ability to steal the scene with her witty lines and expressions.

She also appeared on television, in shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, and The Donna Reed Show. She published her autobiography, You Won’t Be So Pretty, in 1954, in which she candidly shared her experiences and opinions on the show business. She was married three times, and had one son, Medbury Perry Landis, who was born with Down syndrome and died at the age of 12.

A Secret Struggle with Cancer

Despite her successful and glamorous career, Jessie Royce Landis was also battling cancer for many years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in the late 1940s, and underwent a mastectomy. She kept her condition a secret from the public, and continued to work as if nothing was wrong. She even joked about her missing breast, saying that it made her look more slender.

However, her cancer was not cured, and it spread to other parts of her body. She suffered from chronic pain and fatigue, and had to undergo several surgeries and treatments. She refused to let her illness affect her spirit, and maintained a positive and cheerful attitude. She once said, “I don’t mind dying, but I don’t want to be there when it happens.”

She also continued to work until the end of her life, appearing in her last film, Airport, in 1970. She died on February 2, 1972, at the age of 75, in Danbury, Connecticut. Her cause of death was cancer, according to IMDb. She was buried at Branchville Cemetery, in Ridgefield, Connecticut, next to her third husband, Major General John F. R. Seitz, who had died in 1968.

A Legacy of Grace and Humor

Jessie Royce Landis was a remarkable actress who left a lasting impression on the audiences and the industry. She was admired for her talent, charm, and versatility, and for her ability to play roles that were older than her actual age. She was also respected for her courage and resilience, and for her refusal to give up on her passion and joy. She once said, “I don’t want to be remembered as a nice old lady. I want to be remembered as an actress.” She certainly achieved that goal, and more. She was an international star, a loving mother, and a brave fighter. She was Jessie Royce Landis, and she will always be remembered.

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