In 1983, Jane Alexander starred in the excellent "Testament", an intimate, moving look at a post-apocalypse world. That was
where I first saw her, but by that time, she was already an acclaimed actress. She won a Tony award in 1965
for her work in the Broadway play "The Great White Hope"; she also co-starred in 1969's film version and was nominated for
an Oscar. That was the first of 3 such nominations; she's also been nominated for 3 Golden Globes. She won an
Emmy award for 1981's "Playing for Time"; some critics feel that she should have won prior to that for her 2 turns playing
Eleanor Roosevelt ("Eleanor and Franklin", 1976; "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years", 1977). She was also
in a made-for-TV adaptation of the wonderful, loving tribute, "Death Be Not Proud". Her movie credits include
"All The President's Men", "Kramer vs. Kramer", "Brubaker", "Glory", "The Cider House Rules", and "Sunshine State".
On October 8, 1993, Jane Alexander was sworn in for a four-year term as chairperson
of the National Endowment for the Arts. In her first 14 months, this dedicated woman visited all 50 states (and Puerto Rico) in the course of her duties.
I once saw Michael Kinsley interview her around that time, and she was an articulate, eloquent spokesperson
for the agency.
"A great nation supports and encourages the education of all its people. A
great nation recognizes that the life of the spirit, of the human mind, is what endures through the passing on from generation
to generation a heritage that says: this is who we are, this is who we were, and this is who we will be in days to come.
That heritage is manifested through the arts, the humanities and the sciences. That heritage is what we seek to keep
alive at the Endowment for the Arts." - Jane Alexander