Knoxville (Tennessee)-Patricia Neal, the willowy, husky-voiced actress who won an Oscar for 1963's Hud and survived several strokes to continue acting, died on Sunday, 8thAugust 2010, aged 84 golden years.
She had lung cancer and died at her home in Massachusetts on Martha' Vineyard.
She faces her final illness as she had all of the may trials she endured : with indomitable grace, good humour and a great deal of her self-described stubbornness.
1964, she had three strokes, which left her, at age 39, semi-paralysed and unable t speak. After recovering, she limped and had bad vision in one eye.
Her struggle to regain walking and talking is regarded as epic in the annals of stroke rehabilitation.
The Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center that concentrates on helping people recover from strokes and spinal cord and brain injuries is named after her, in Knoxville, where she grew up.
In the year 1960 the first tragedy struck. Her infant son, Theo, was being wheeled across a New York street by a nurse when the stroller was struck by a passing cab. The child underwent a series of operations and was left with water on the brain.
Two years later, her eldest daughter, Olivia, 7, died from brain inflammation after a case of measles, measles encephalitis.
Patricia Neal survived the strokes because of the knowledge Roald Dahl, her 30 years husband before they divorced in 1983, built up during Theo's eight brain operations. After the shunt that drained fluid from his brain kept clogging, Dahl worked with a friend retired engineer and a neurosurgeon to make a better one, the Wade-Dahl-Till valve. When Patricia Neal collapsed in their house, he knew enough to immediatey call a neurosurgeon.
Dahl badgered her into getting well. He nagged her into walking, held things out of her reach until she managed to ask for them and arranged for therapy each day.
Among her children is Tessa Dahl, who is a writer. Tessa's daughter is model-writer Sophie Dahl.
I can't see from one eye, she said in 1988.
I've been paralysed. I've fallen down and broken a hip. Stubbornness gets you through the bad times. You don't give in.