Ida Lupino was an English-American film actress and director, and a pioneer among women filmmakers. In her forty-eight year career, she appeared in fifty-nine films, and directed nine others. She also appeared in serial television programmes fifty-eight times and directed fifty other episodes. In addition, she contributed as a writer to five films and four TV episodes.
Lupino was born into a family of performers. Her father, Stanley Lupino, was a music-hall comedian, and her mother, Connie Emerald, was an actress. As a girl, Ida was encouraged to enter show business by both her parents and her uncle, Lupino Lane. She trained at RADA and made her first movie appearance in 1931, in The Love Race, and spent the next several years playing minor roles.
It was after her appearance in The Light That Failed in 1939 that Lupino began to be 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.”
During this period, Lupino became known for her hard-boiled roles, as in such films as They Drive by Night and High Sierra, both opposite Humphrey Bogart. For her performance in The Hard Way, Lupino won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress. She acted regularly, and was in demand throughout the 1940s without becoming a major star until later. In 1947, Lupino left the Warner Brothers company to become a freelance actress. Notable films she appeared in around that time include Road House and On Dangerous Ground.