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Mary Beth Hurt papers

Identifier: IWA0785

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Scope and Contents

The Mary Beth Hurt papers date from 1982 to 2000 and measure 11. 5 linear feet. The records are arranged in seven series: Biographical, Theater, Film, TV, Books, Photographs, and Artifacts.

The Biographical series (1964-2003) consists of awards, newspaper clippings, diplomas, journals, and correspondence. Also included are the playbills from Hurt’s Tony awards in 1976, 1981, 1982 and 1985 as well as her 1985 Tony nomination. Photographs of Hurt are included in the Awards and Notes folders in this series.

The Theater series (1966-2008), is organized alphabetically according to the name of the production. Scripts, screen plays, playbills, photographs, high school programs, and newspaper clippings are included in this series. The bulk of the materials consist of playbills and scripts. The script for the staged reading of My Son is a Splendid Diver and the script of Comedy Script, which is a satire about former president George W. Bush are among the unique material that this series offers. The 2007 program of the Spirit Awards is also included in the Theater series. The last folders in the series contain news clippings from Hurt’s theater and film experiences.

The Film series (1978-2008) is organized alphabetically according to the name of the production. Scripts, screen plays, photographs, and newspaper clippings are included in the series. Screen plays make up most of this series. Photographs can be found in Life of Jean Seberg and The World According to Garp folders. The back of Hurt’s stage chair from The Dead Girl, is a unique item that is located with the materials from that film.

The Television (1974-2001) series is also organized alphabetically according to the name of the production. Scripts and screen plays are included in this series.

The Photograph series (1962-2004) is organized alphabetically by production name or content. Unlabeled and miscellaneous photographs are arranged by year at the beginning of the series. Included in the series are photographs from the productions she was in as well as reviews, interviews, programs, and letters. They span the time from her work in high school until the 1980s. The photographs are mostly of the cast and crew. Some are live action shots from the productions and headshots for publicity. Photographs from her wedding to Hurt and from some of the trips she took in the 1970s are included and give a glimpse into her personal life. Some snap shots are also included in the General folders.

Two albums from Hurt’s high school and college years are included in the Photographs series. One had many interleaved materials from later in her life which are also included in the album series. Ticket stubs, programs, certificates, cast photos, and a “The New Yorker” magazine (2004) and a “Florida Horse Sales Summary” (1962) are also included in box 15 with the album. The second album located in box 20, contains photos and reviews for the plays that Hunt was in during her time at the University of Iowa.

The Books series (1979-1996) contains several books about the theater and film. Hurt is pictured or mentioned in them. Of particular interest is the book The Masks, in which Hurt designed a mask with many other theater performers.

The Artifacts series (1948-1986) contains of many different types of materials. Badges from movies, awards, trinkets, film and theater posters, and framed and mounted photographs of Hurt from productions are included. The materials are located in box 23-26.


  • Creation: 1948-2008


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Mary Beth Supinger was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, to Forrest “Tex” and Delores Supinger in, 1946. Growing up, Hurt performed in school plays and make-believe backyard circuses. She graduated from Marshalltown High School and continued her education at the University of Iowa, where she studied drama. While at Iowa, she was selected to become a member of the Mortar Board Chapter, a national honorary service society for women. After graduating in 1969, Supinger moved to New York to attend New York University’s School of Arts. She then spent a year in London, where she performed with the Questers, a well-known amateur theater troupe. She made her New York stage debut in 1974 with the New York Shakespeare Festival.

Mary Beth Supinger married actor William Hurt in 1971. The couple divorced in 1981. She married screenwriter and director Paul Schrader in 1983. They had two children, Molly Johanna and Sam.

Hurt won Tony nominations for her performances on Broadway in Trelawney of the Wells, Crimes of the Heart, and Benefactors. In 1980, she won an Obie for Crimes of the Heart. Hurt’s other awards include a Critics Award in 1978, a Clarence Derwent Award in 1985 for Love for Love, a TISCH school of Arts Distinguished Alumni Award in 1985, and a Joe A. Callaway Award in 1991 for her role in Othello.

Mary Beth Hurt made her film debut in Woody Allen’s Interiors in 1978. She stayed mainly a Broadway performer after her debut, but has been in other films such as Head over Heels (AKA Chilly Scenes of Winter), Affliction, Light Sleeper, Autumn in New York, The Family Man, Untraceable, and No Ordinary Baby. She has also been in several TV movies and made appearances on TV shows such as Law and Order and has narrated children stories, such as, Leo the Late Bloomer (1999) and A Weekend with Wendell (1998).


11.50 Linear Feet

Audiovisual: 1 videocassettes [V434] Artifacts: Boxes 22-25 Photographs: Boxes 1, 11-12, 15, 18-20, 22, 23-26 boxes

Language of Materials



Award-winning actress of the stage and screen from Marshalltown, Iowa, who made her film debut in Woody Allen's Interior's.

Method of Acquisition

The records were donated by Mary Beth Hurt (donor no. 1179)  in 2009.

June Silliman, 2009.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)