Patricia Neal, Oscar-Winning Actress, Dies At 84

Star of 'Hud' and 'The Fountainhead' famously recovered from a semi-paralyzing stroke in 1965.

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal died on Sunday at the age of 84, The New York Times reports.

In 1964, Neal won a Best Actress Oscar for her turn as the resilient housekeeper Alma opposite Paul Newman in "Hud." A year after her Academy Awards triumph, though, the actress suffered three strokes that left her in a three-week coma. Afterwards she was semi-paralyzed and without the ability to speak, though she eventually learned to walk and talk again.

Despite an impaired memory, the actress returned to the big screen for 1968's "The Subject Was Roses," playing a vindictive mother. She again secured an Oscar nomination, but this time lost out to dual winners Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand.

Neal got her start at the age of 21 opposite Ronald Reagan in the 1949 comedy "John Loves Mary." She went on to star in films like "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), "A Face in the Crowd" (1957) and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961). One of her most prominent roles came in 1949, when she nabbed the coveted lead role in "The Fountainhead," an adaptation of the Ayn Rand novel.

The role also lead to a love affair between Neal and co-star Gary Cooper, a relationship that lasted for three years but ended when Cooper declined to leave his wife and family. Neal became pregnant during the affair and had an abortion, as she revealed in a 1988 memoir.

"If I had only one thing to do over in my life," she wrote, according to the Times, "I would have that baby."

Neal was married for 30 years to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" author Roald Dahl, with whom she had five children. They divorced in 1983.

Though the Times does not give a cause of death, People reports that Neal had lung cancer. She died at her home in Edgartown, Massachusetts.