Sylvia Sidney (August 8, 1910 - July 1, 1999) was an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning American actress.
Sidney, born Sophia Kosow in The Bronx, New York, was the daughter of Rebecca (née Saperstein), a Romanian Jew, and Victor Kosow, a Russian Jewish immigrant who worked as a clothing salesman. Her parents divorced by 1915 and she was adopted by her stepfather, Sigmund Sidney, a dentist. Sidney became an actress at the age of fifteen as a way of overcoming shyness, using her stepfather's surname as her professional surname. As a student of the Theater Guild's School for Acting, Sidney appeared in several of their productions during the 1920s and earned praise from theater critics. In 1926, she was seen by a Hollywood talent scout and made her first film appearance later that year.
During the Depression, Sidney appeared in a string of films, often playing the girlfriend or the sister of a gangster. She appeared opposite such heavyweight screen idols as Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda, Joel McCrea, Fredric March, George Raft (a frequent screen partner), and Cary Grant. Among her films from this period were: An American Tragedy, City Streets and Street Scene (all 1931), Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage and Fritz Lang's Fury (both 1936), You Only Live Once, Dead End (both 1937) and The Trail of the Lonesome Pine which was shot in early Technicolor. Although Sidney had an arresting, slightly Eurasian face and a lovely figure, these assets were often obscured for the sake of the stark, gritty plots of her films.