I know very little about Gene Tierney's film career, but I recently read her autobiography and just had to say something.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Gene is her total lack of pretention. People usually say that about Ava Gardner, but in my opinion, it is far more true of Gene. Ava Gardner lacked inhibitions. There is a difference.
If I were to describe Gene, I would say she was down to earth, self-possessed, modest without being self-effacing, self-aware, refreshingly self-accepting, and a very genuine human being. Apppearance-wise, she reminds me of a plumper, brunette Grace Kelly, but without her hint of affectation (don't kill me for that one).
That, to me, is what most people leave out when they talk about Tierney--her admirable personal qualities. Not only does she come actoss as level-headed, she seems as though it never occured to her to be any other way. You would not usually think that of a person who suffered from mental illness.
Gene Tierney's account of her struggle with what was most likely bipolar disorder is the heart of her book. Aside from taking up most of the pages writing about it, the descriptions of her delusions are scary and probably very enlightening as to what an ill person suffers from. (I say probably because in spite of what some people think, I am perfectly sane myself and can't know for sure.) Gene relates how she was convinced people were trying to poison her, the guilt she felt about her daughter;s retardation, and her experiences in mental institutuions. One incident was particularly disturbing to read. Gene willing put herself in the hopeless cases ward of one hospital after she thought she heard the patients there making animal noises. She decided she had to teach them more dignified behavior, got herself admitted, and found out a few weeks later that the sounds had come from a nearby zoo.
Gene Tierney is also renowned as a great beauty, and while I disagree somewhat with that assertion, she does claim she wore no makeup in her films after Laura. To look like that without makeup...well, that certainly says something right there about the way she looked.