Patty McCormack

Patty McCormack
The Bad Seed

The Bad Seed (1956)

Role: Rhoda Penmark
Screen Time: 90%
Age: 10 years old


Patty McCormack

Rating: 8.5 (4 votes)
Birth: 8/21/1945
Current Age: 71 years old


Patty McCormack Biography

She never would be able to top the one infamous, career-defining role made while a pig-tailed moppet, but former child star Patricia (Patty) McCormack has managed to stay alive in film and TV as she approaches age 60. Born in Manhattan, she grew up in Queens and found herself modeling at age 4. She progressed to films two years later with Two Gals and a Guy (1951) and played one of the Norwegian immigrant youngsters in the "Mama" (1949) television series for three years. At age 8, Patty took on Broadway with a part in the short-lived "Touchstone." The following year, however, she played the stage role that would make her a cult icon -- that of Rhoda Penmark, the tiny, braided-blonde demon with murderous intentions in "The Bad Seed." Starring Nancy Kelly as her put-upon, overly-trusting mother, the show went on to become a certifiable hit. The two actors recreated their roles in The Bad Seed (1956) when it was turned into a movie and achieved equally fine results. No child before her was ever given such a deliberately evil, twisted role and Patty chewed up the scenery with courteous malevolence. Though the film today comes off extremely stagy and overly-mannered, it's fascination cannot be denied. Audiences took to Patty and she earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for the effort. She tried to vary her roles in the ongoing years as a pioneer girl in All Mine to Give (1957), a testy child star in Kathy O' (1958) and a tomboy in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960), but the ghost of Rhoda Penmark would haunt her for quite some time. Her late teen years proved awkward with forgettable fare including The Explosive Generation (1961). Things got even worse as a young adult with rather exploitive roles in The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968), Maryjane (1968) and The Young Animals (1968). By the 70s, Patty, who had started to call herself Patricia, gave up on films and focused on TV. A talented, durable performer, she was able to distance herself enough from her childhood fame to earn some adult recognition on soap operas. She also gave sensible, wifely support to Jeffrey Tambor on "The Ropers" (1979), the short-lived spin-off of the "Three's Company" (1977) sitcom. By 1995 a game Patricia felt comfortable enough to capitalize on her early "Bad Seed" fame when she starred in the lowbudget horror feature Mommy (1995) and its sequel Mommy II: Mommys Day (1997), as a most pernicious homemaker who suffers an equally violent Rhoda-worthy demise.

-- IMDb