She is perhaps best remembered for her splendid, Oscar-nominated supporting performance as Isabella, poignantly suffering the pangs of unrequited love, in William Wyler's adaptation of "Wuthering Heights" (1939). Off to a fine start in Hollywood, Fitzgerald played strong-willed women throughout the 1940s. Among her notable performances was as one of the eponymous characters in the highly intriguing "Three Strangers" (1946), in which she more than held her own opposite Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. After being put on suspension for protesting too many dull studio-chosen roles, though, Fitzgerald found that by the end of the decade her screen career had virtually petered out.
Fitzgerald's career slowed down somewhat during the 1950s and 60s, but she did TV and stage work, and made intermittent film appearances. She did fine work, for example, as the wife of a straying man (Gary Cooper) in "Ten North Frederick" (1958). In the 1970s, Fitzgerald made a triumphant return to the stage as an actress (in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" 1971), director ("Mass Appeal" 1980, for which she received a Tony nomination) and street performer (with her Everyman Street Theatre). She was memorable in a brief turn as Dudley Moore's wise grandmother in "Arthur" (1981) and also appeared in its inevitable, though inferior sequel, "Arthur 2: On the Rocks" (1988). In 1988, she received an Emmy nomination for a guest spot as an elderly woman contemplating suicide on the long-running sitcom, "The Golden Girls". Her son is director Michael Lindsay-Hogg.