Played by: Natalie Wood
The eldest of two daughters of a domineering stage mom (played by a terrific Rosalind Russell), Louise Hovick is awkward and shy. But when her younger sister June—a talented vaudeville performer—elopes with a dancer, her mother focuses her energies on making Louise a star, even if that means dancing in a burlesque joint. It turns out that the sweet young lady possesses a real talent on stage—taking the stage name Gypsy Rose Lee, Louise becomes a hugely successful performer. Wood, a year after her memorable turn in West Side Story, is great here: she lets us see that beneath the verve and vitality of her stage persona are great reservoirs of sadness and desperation.
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