It was there that she met and fell in love with fellow acting student Robert Walker. The couple married on January 2, Career[ edit ] While Walker found steady work in radio programs, Isley worked part-time modeling hats for the Powers Agency while looking for possible acting jobs. When she learned of auditions for the lead role in Claudia, Rose Franken 's hit play, she presented herself to David O. Selznick's New York office but fled in tears after what she thought was a bad reading.
However, Selznick had overheard her audition and was impressed enough to have his secretary call her back. Following an interview, she was signed to a seven-year contract. Jones as Bernadette Soubirous in The Song of Bernadette She was carefully groomed for stardom and given a new name: Director Henry King was impressed by her screen test as Bernadette Soubirous for The Song of Bernadette and she won the coveted role over hundreds of applicants. Over the next two decades, Jones appeared in a wide range of roles selected by Selznick.
Her dark beauty and sensitive nature appealed to audiences and she projected a variable range. Her initial saintly image — as shown in her first starring role — was a stark contrast three years later when she was cast as a provocative bi-racial woman in Selznick's controversial film Duel in the Sun Her last big-screen appearance came in the disaster film The Towering Inferno Early scenes in the film showed paintings lent to the production by the art gallery of Jones' husband Norton Simon.
Jones and second husband David O. Selznick in Jones had two sons from her first marriage, Robert Walker Jr. Both later became actors.
Robert was the only child of Jones' three children who would not die before her. Jones had an affair with film producer David O. After his death, she semi-retired from acting. According to media reports, Jones attempted suicide in November after hearing of the death of close friend Charles Bickford.
She was found unconscious at the base of a cliff overlooking Malibu Beach; she was hospitalized in a coma before eventually recovering. The marriage took place aboard a tugboat five miles off the English coast, and was conducted by Unitarian minister Eirion Phillips.
Simon later met Jones at a party hosted by fellow industrialist and art collector Walter Annenberg. Jones' daughter with Selznick, Mary Jennifer Selznick — , committed suicide by jumping from a 20th-floor window in Los Angeles on May 11, This led to Jones' interest in mental health issues.
In , she began working with architect Frank Gehry and landscape designer Nancy Goslee Power on renovating the museum and gardens. She remained active as the director of the Norton Simon Museum until , when she was given emeritus status. She granted no interviews and rarely appeared in public. She died of natural causes on December 17, , at age