While Teresa Wright was playing in “Life With Father” on Broadway, she was hired by Samuel Goldwyn to play Bette Davis’ daughter in “The Little Foxes.”
Her contract with Goldwyn contained the following unusual clause that showed Teresa Wright’s independence of thought, her serious attitude towards acting, and a sense of humor.
"The aforementioned Teresa Wright shall not be required to pose for photographs in a bathing suit unless she is in the water. Neither may she be photographed running on the beach with her hair flying in the wind. Nor may she pose in any of the following situations: In shorts, playing with a cocker spaniel; digging in a garden; whipping up a meal; attired in firecrackers and holding skyrockets for the Fourth of July; looking insinuatingly at a turkey for Thanksgiving; wearing a bunny cap with long ears for Easter; twinkling on prop snow in a skiing outfit while a fan blows her scarf; assuming an athletic stance while pretending to hit something with a bow and arrow."
She won an Academy Award nomination for that first movie role, and then two more for the next two movies she made, both in the same year. She won for one of them, a Best Supporting Oscar for “Mrs. Miniver.” No one to date has equaled that magnificent start to a film career.
But her independence of thought would later compromise her career when Goldwyn fired her for refusing to go on a publicity tour. She expressed no regrets at leaving the studio system, declaring, “We have no privacies which producers cannot invade, they trade us like cattle, boss us like children.” Her public declaration of independence was as famous as her contract had been.
Though her career did not end here, it never took on the remarkable ascent of its early years. That might have happened anyway, as Hollywood was always a difficult place to survive for aging female stars. Some of her best work in after years was on television, and back on the stage. She shows many qualities in her work which I admire, but foremost among them is that funny, and intelligent, contract clause.