The Romanian loved in Hollywood, daughter of a tailor from Bacău: the amazing story of Alfred Hitchcock’s muse

Sometimes we come across the success stories of certain Romanians, and we are happy about this for a very simple reason: it shows that it is possible, but only if you really want to.

We will tell you such a story today, more precisely that of Sylvia Sydney, the beautiful Romanian who once conquered the Americans directly from Hollywood.

In 2022, the name may not mean much to you, but the Romanian-born actress was one of the most appreciated artists in the industry at the time, her acting talent and expressive figure being noticed by experts in the film and theatre industry as well as the general public. She has collaborated with big Hollywood names and has become a muse. A full career that obviously needs to be honoured.

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Sylvia Sydney – archive photo

Sylvia Sydney is of Romanian origin. She was the daughter of a seamstress and went straight to Hollywood

By her real name Sophia Kosow, Sylvia Sydney whose origins were from Bacău and, as far as we know, was the daughter of a seamstress who at some point made her way to America for a better life, became a great actress.

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With a Romanian mother, a Russian father and her adopted country America, the actress was to become an interesting melting pot of cultures that would later be felt on stage as well. Her parents divorced shortly after her birth, and her mother later married Sigmund Sydney, who adopted her and came to love her as his own daughter.

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Sylvia Sydney

Sylvia Sydney was born in 1910 in the Bronx borough of New York City, but her life was mostly spent in the American West, directly in the “metropolis” of film.

At 15 she decided to become an actress, pushed by her parents. In fact, their desire was for the teenager to get out of her comfort zone and experience the world. Obviously, her parents supported all her efforts to make it in the Hollywood world, which was extremely difficult to break into.

Soon after, she enrolled in the Guild School of Drama, trying, in the meantime, to “give it her all” to make a difference, knowing that she was extremely passionate about the world of theatre and film. It could be said that the shy teenager had finally found her calling.

In school she was also noticed, her first roles here drawing the spotlight in her direction. It wasn’t long before Sydney was playing on Broadway, marking the real debut of what would become “the actress with the saddest eyes in the world”. Apparently there was a critic in the audience at the time who practically helped propel her to the heights of success.

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Sylvia Sidney with Alfred Hitchcock,
Sylvia Sidney, with Alfred Hitchcock,

She became the muse of the famous director Alfred Hitchcock

From here, her path was sealed for success forever. She became highly admired by men and women alike, being courted by the latter.

She worked with the best directors, and Alfred Hitchcock, known for his groundbreaking thrillers, would become her muse.

He had a long career, spanning more than 70 years, starring in countless well-known films of the time, including Beetlejuice (1988), Mars Attacks! (1996), Fury (1936), Siege (1970), I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977), Les Miserables (1952), Tales of Tomorrow (1952), Love from a Stranger (1947), You Only Live Once (1937), and many-many others.

Below, you can see an excerpt from actress Sylvia Sydney’s acting performance in the film Beetlejuice (1988), directed by Tim Burton. Here, the actress was 78 years old, but still acting with an extraodinary passion for the character she played.

She died in 1999 in New York City, and during her lifetime she had the opportunity to work with such greats as Spancer Tracy, Hery Fonda and Cary Grant.

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