She received the 1952 Theatre World Award for her performance of "Anna Reeves" in The Chase; and was nominated for the 1959 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for A Touch of the Poet and the 1962 Tony for Best Actress in a Play for A Far Country.
Stanley was also the leading lady of live television drama, which flourished in New York City during the 1950s. Among her many starring roles was Wilma, a star-struck 15-year-old girl from the U.S. Gulf Coast of Texas in Horton Foote's A Young Lady of Property, which aired on the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse April 5, 1953.
A savaging by English critics after her London performance of "Masha" in The Actor's Studio production of Anton Chekhov's play The Three Sisters (1965) made her vow never to perform on stage again, a vow she kept for the rest of her life.
She had three children, one by Conway, one by Brooks Clift (brother of Montgomery Clift) while she was married to Conway, and one by Ryder. During her marriage to Alfred Ryder, Kim Stanley converted to Judaism.
Kim Stanley died of uterine cancer at her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the age of 76. She was survived by her first husband, Bruce Hall, her brother Justin Truman Reid, and her three children. Her biography, Female Brando: the Legend of Kim Stanley, by Jon Krampner, was published in the spring of 2006 by Back Stage Books, a division of Watson-Guptill Publications.
In 1982, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Frances Farmer's possessive mother in Frances. She also played Pancho Barnes in The Right Stuff (1983).
While her on-screen legacy is stunning, some believe Kim Stanley's most powerful role in a movie is an off-screen one. She serves as the uncredited narrator in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. As the narrator, she represents the character "Jean Louise Finch" ("Scout") as an adult. Mary Badham portrays "Scout" as a child in the film.
She received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in the episode, A Cardinal Act of Mercy, on the TV series, Ben Casey (1963), and an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special for playing, "Big Mama," in Tennessee Williams' Southern melodrama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1985).
|New York Film Critics Circle Awards|