Locke, Sondra, 1944-2018

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Sandra Louise Anderson (née Smith; May 28, 1944 – November 3, 2018), professionally known as Sondra Locke, was an American actress and director. In 1967, Locke auditioned for the role of Mick Kelly in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and lied about her age; sources cite or imply every year from 1943 to 1950 and her true age remained a secret throughout her career. She achieved worldwide recognition for her relationship with Clint Eastwood and the six hit films they made together. For reasons never made clear, her death was not publicly announced, and was only confirmed by vital statistics six weeks after she died of cardiac arrest at the age of 74. She is remembered as an early pioneer for women in Hollywood, being one of eleven female filmmakers in 1990.

Locke was the daughter of Raymond Smith and Pauline Bayne. Her parents separated before her birth and when her mother married Alfred Locke in 1948 they adopted his surname. Locke grew up on Shelbyville, TN where her stepfather owned a construction company. She attended Shelbyville Central High School (1958-1962) and Middle Tennessee State University (then called Middle Tennessee State College) in Murfreesboro where she majored in drama but dropped out after two semesters. Around 1963 she ceased contact with her family.

Beginning in 1964, Locke broke into regional show business with assorted posts at the Nashville-based radio station WSM-AM, then progressed to television as a promotions assistant for WSM-TV. In 1968, she made her film debut in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter oppoiste Alan Arkin, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Locke went on to appear in such box office successes as Willard (1971), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), The Gauntlet (1977), Every Which Way but Loose (1978), Bronco Billy (1980), Any Which Way You Can (1980) and Sudden Impact (1983). She worked almost exclusively with Clint Eastwood from 1975-1983 on theatrical motion pictures.

Throughout her career, Locke worked with Robert Forster, Bruce Davison, Ernest Borgnine, Norman Lloyd, Bo Hopkins, and Ron Harper. She recorded several songs for the films Every Which Way but Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980) where she portrayed country singer Lynn Halsey-Taylor. Following these roles, she performed live in concert for one-off gigs with The Everly Brothers, Eddie Rabbitt, and Tom Jones. She also portrayed big band era vocalist Rosemary Clooney in Rosie: The Rosemary Cloonie Story (1982).

In 1986, Locke made her directorial debut with Ratboy followed by Impulse (1990) starring Theresa Russell, Death in Small Doses (1995), and Trading Favors (1997) starring Rosanna Arquette. In 1997, Locke published an autobiography, The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly: A Hollywood Journey in which she denigrated Eastwood and for which the book recevied mixed reviews. She came out of retirement for several cameo roles in 1999 in The Prophet's Game with Dennis Hopper and Clean and Narrow with Wings Hauser, and again in 2016 in Ray Meets Helen with Keith Carradine. The latter film debuted six months before Locke died on May 6, 2018 at the Laemmle Music Hall.

On September 25, 1967, Locke married sculptor Gordon Leigh Anderson at First Presbeyterian Church in Nashville. In early 1969 the couple moved into a condo at The Andalusia in West Hollywood. Anderson was gay and a 1989 affidavit stated that they never consummated their marriage. Locke had romantic attachments with Brad Crandall (her supervisor at WSM-TV), Gary Gober (who starred with Locke in Circle Players' productions) before her marriage to Anderson. During their marraige, she was rumored to have been romantically linked to co-stars Robert Fields (Cover Me Babe), Bruce Davison (Willard), Paul Sand (The Second Coming of Suzanne) and Bo Hopkins (Gondola), as well as producer Hawk Koch, real estate agent Herb Goldfarb, and John F. Kennedy's nephew Robert Shriver. Locke and Clint Eastwood entered into a domestic partnership in October 1975 and their relationship became public in 1978. She terminated both of her pregnancies by Eastwood and wrote of her mixed feelings about those decisions in her autobiography. Locke and Eastwood became estranged in late 1988 and their relationship deteriorated over the next few years, leading to a palimony suit filed on April 26, 1990 for $70 million. Locke developed breast cancer during the proceedings and they reached a private settlement in November 1990. Over the next three years, Warner Brothers rejected more than 30 scripts Locke pitched and she sued them for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in June 1995 in Locke v. Warner Bros. for which the company made a confidential settlement in 1999. This case ultimately led to the California Supreme Court ruling that access to civil trials could not be closed to the public.

In 2015 after 25 years of remission, Locke's cancer returned and metastasized to her bones. She died on November 3, 2018 at her Los Angeles home from cardiac arrest related to her cancers. She was cremated and her remains were given to her widower, Gordon Anderson who publicly announced her death on December 13, 2018.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Lothar and Eva Just Film Stills Collection Harvard Film Archive, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Warner Bros. production slides [graphic], 1979-1991 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Borgnine, Ernest, 1917-2012 person
associatedWith Clooney, Rosemary person
associatedWith Davison, Bruce, 1946-.... person
associatedWith Eastwood, Clint, 1930- person
associatedWith Hopkins, Bo, 1942-.... person
associatedWith Lloyd, Norman, 1914-.... person
associatedWith ˜Theœ Everly Brothers corporateBody
associatedWith Warner Bros corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Hollywood CA US
Shelbyville TN US
Los Angeles CA US
Murfreesboro TN US
Film actors and actresses
Motion picture actors and actresses
Motion picture producers and directors
Television actors and actresses
Film producers and directors
Motion picture actors and actresses
Stage Actress
Television actors and actresses


Birth 1944-05-28

Death 2018-11-03




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