She was born in London in 1918 to parents who both worked in show business. Ida landed her first film role when her mother, Emerald, auditioned for a Lolita-type role for 1933's Her First Affaire. Her mother didn't get the part, but director Allan Dwan was impressed with Ida and signed her for the role. She worked steadily in Britain and the U.S. throughout the rest of the 1930s, appearing in films such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Basil Rathbone and The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (an amusing turn in the best of Warren William's Lone Wolf film series).
|Lupino with Cornel Wilde|
in Road House.
By 1947, Lupino found it harder to get good roles. She left Warner Bros. and co-wrote the screenplay for a B-film called Not Wanted (1949), a somewhat controversial (for the time) tale of an unwed mother. When director Elmer Clifton fell ill during the shooting, Lupino took over the directing chores.
She still appeared occasionally in films and on television. New York Times film critic Vincent Canby singled out for her fine supporting performance in the 1972 Steve McQueen Junior Bonner.
Ida Lupino was married three times: to actor Louis Hayward (1938-45), producer Collier Young (1948-51), and actor Howard Duff (1951-84). She died of a stroke in 1995 at age 77. Classic movie fans may remember her best for her acting, but her greatest contribution to the industry was as a pioneering female filmmaker. She was just the second woman to be inducted in the Director's Guild of America (following Dorothy Arzner).