Ida Lupino (4 February – 3 August ) was an English film actress, director, and a pioneer among women filmmakers. In her 48 year career, she appeared in 59 films, and directed nine others. She also appeared in episodic television 58 times and directed 50 other episodes. In addition, she contributed as a writer to five films and four TV episodes.
Born into a family of performers, Lupino was encouraged to enter show-business by both her parents and a first cousin once-removed, Lupino Lane, Lupino made her first film appearance in , in The Love Race, and worked for several years playing minor roles.
It was after her appearance in The Light That Failed in that Lupino was taken seriously as a dramatic actress. As a result, her parts improved during the 1940s and she began to describe herself as "the poor man's Bette Davis. While working for Warner Brothers, Lupino would refuse parts that Davis also had rejected, and earned herself suspensions.
During this period, Lupino became known for her hard-boiled roles, and appeared in such films as They Drive by Night and High Sierra both opposite Humphrey Bogart. She acted regularly and was in high demand throughout the 1940s without becoming a major star.
It was during a suspension in the late 1940s that Lupino began studying the processes behind the camera. Her first directing job came unexpectedly in when Elmer Clifton suffered a mild heart attack and couldn't finish Not Wanted, the film he was directing for Filmways, the company started by Lupino and her husband Collier Young to make low-budget issue-oriented movies. Lupino stepped in to finish the film, and went on to direct her own projects, becoming Hollywood's only female film director of the time. After four "woman's" films about social issue – including Outrage , a film about rape – Lupino directed her first hard-paced fast-moving picture, The Hitch-Hiker making her the first woman to direct a film noir.
Lupino often joked that if she had been the "poor man's Bette Davis" as an actress, then she had become the "poor man's Don Siegel" as a director. In 1952, Lupino was invited to become the "fourth star" in Four Star Productions by Dick Powell, David Niven and Charles Boyer, after Joel McCrea and Rosalind Russell dropped out.
From January through September , Lupino starred with her husband, Howard Duff, in the CBS comedy Mr. Adams and Eve, in which they played husband and wife film stars named Howard Adams and Eve Drake. Also, they co-starred as themselves in 1959 in one of the 13 one-hour installments of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Later in her career, Lupino guest starred on numerous television programs, before retiring at the age of 60 after making her final film appearance in .
Lupino was born in Camberwell, London (allegedly under a table during a World War I zeppelin raid), the daughter of actress Connie O'Shea (a.k.a. Connie Emerald) and music hall entertainer, Stanley Lupino, one of the Lupino family. She was born in 1918 and not 1914 as other biographies have it.
She married and divorced three times:
Lupino died from a stroke while undergoing treatment for colon cancer in Los Angeles, California, in August 1995, aged 77. She is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.