Alice Brady

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Alice Brady
Alice Brady by Albert Witzel.jpg
Brady c. 1916
Mary Rose Brady

(1892-11-02)November 2, 1892
New York City, U.S.
DiedOctober 28, 1939(1939-10-28) (aged 46)
New York City, U.S.
Years active1914–1939
Spouse James L. Crane (m.1919–div.1922)
Children1 [1]
Signature of Alice Brady (1892-1939).png

Alice Brady (born Mary Rose Brady; November 2, 1892 – October 28, 1939) was an American actress of stage and film. She began her career in the theatre in 1911, and her first important success came on Broadway in 1912 when she created the role of Meg March in the original production of Marian de Forest's Little Women . As a screen actress she first appeared in silent films and was one of the few actresses to survive the transition into talkies. She worked until six months before her death from cancer in 1939. Her films include My Man Godfrey (1936), in which she plays the flighty mother of Carole Lombard's character, and In Old Chicago (1937) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.


In 1960, Brady received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to the film industry. Her star is located at 6201 Hollywood Boulevard. [2]

Early life

Mary Rose Brady was born in New York City. Her father, William A. Brady, was an important theatrical producer. [3] Her mother, French actress Rose Marie Rene, [4] died in 1896.

She was interested at an early age in becoming an actress. She first went on the stage when she was 14 and got her first job on Broadway in 1911 at the age of 18, in a show with which her father was associated. [5]


Billed as Mary Rose, Brady debuted on stage in 1911 in New Haven in the operetta The Balkan Princess . [4] She had the first major success of her career in 1912 when she created the role of Meg March in the original Broadway and national touring productions of Marian de Forest's Little Women ; a play adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott. [6]

In 1913, Brady appeared with John Barrymore in A Thief for a Night (adapted by P. G. Wodehouse and playwright John Stapleton from Wodehouse's novel, A Gentleman of Leisure ) at McVicker's Theatre in Chicago. [7] She continued to perform on Broadway (often in shows her father produced) consistently for the next 22 years. In 1931 she appeared in the premiere of Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra . [8] Her step-mother was actress Grace George, whom her father married when Alice was a child. Her half-brother was William A. Brady Jr, the son of her father and Grace George.

Brady with co-star John Bowers in the 1917 World Film Company's film Darkest Russia Darkest Russia (1917 film).png
Brady with co-star John Bowers in the 1917 World Film Company's film Darkest Russia

Brady's father moved into movie production and presentation in 1913,[ citation needed ] with his World Film Company, and Brady soon followed along after him, making her first silent feature appearance in As Ye Sow in 1914. She appeared in 53 films in the next 10 years, all while continuing to perform on stage, the film industry at the time being centered in New York.[ citation needed ]

Alice Brady and son, autographed drawing by Manuel Rosenberg for the Cincinnati Post, 1920 Alice Brady autographed drawing by Manuel Rosenberg, 1920.jpg
Alice Brady and son, autographed drawing by Manuel Rosenberg for the Cincinnati Post, 1920

In 1923, she stopped appearing in films to concentrate on stage acting, and did not appear on the screen again until 1933, when she made the move to Hollywood and M-G-M's When Ladies Meet become her first talking picture. From then on she worked frequently until her death, making another 25 films in seven years. Her final film was Young Mr. Lincoln (1939).

Personal life and death

Brady was married to actor James Crane from 1919 to 1922, when they divorced. They co-starred in three silent films together: His Bridal Night (1919), Sinners (1920) and A Dark Lantern (1920). The couple had one child, Donald.

Brady died from cancer on October 28, 1939, five days before her 47th birthday. She is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in New York. [9]


For her portrayal of Mrs. Molly O'Leary – a fictionalized version of Catherine O'Leary – in 1937's In Old Chicago , Brady won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. [10] She had been nominated for the same award the year before as well, for her work in My Man Godfrey .[ citation needed ]

A long-enduring myth states that at the Academy Awards presentation dinner, Brady's Oscar Award, a plaque (statuettes were not awarded for the Supporting categories until 1943) was stolen by a man who came onstage to accept the award on the absent actress's behalf and that it was never recovered, and the impostor was never tracked down. The Academy then issued a replacement plaque which was later presented to Brady. [11]

However, according to press at the time the film's director, Henry King, accepted on her behalf at the ceremony and friends of Ms. Brady delivered it to her home later that night. Winners were given blank awards at the ceremony and returned them to the Academy to have them engraved afterward. In 2016, the Oscar historian Olivia Rutigliano noted that Miss Brady also followed this practice, which may have led to the story that the Academy was presenting her with a replacement trophy. [12]


A sample of her more than 80 films includes:


Tangled Fates (1916) Tangled Fates.jpg
Tangled Fates (1916)


See also

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  1. "Chicago Tribune - Historical Newspapers". Chicago Tribune.
  2. "Walk of Fame Stars-Alice Brady". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce/Walk of Fame. October 25, 2019.
  3. "William A. Brady". Internet Broadway Database.
  4. 1 2 Halasz, George (February 24, 1929). "Actress Without Temperament". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 80. Retrieved August 16, 2020 via
  5. "The Balkan Princess". Internet Broadway Database.
  6. Clark, Beverly Lyon (2014). "Chapter 2: Waxing Nostalgic: 1900-1930". The Afterlife of "Little Women". Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN   9781421415598.
  7. McIlvaine 1990, p. 301
  8. "Alice Brady". Internet Broadway Database.
  9. Hischak, Thomas S. (June 16, 2017). 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN   9781442278059 via Google Books.
  10. Quinlan, David (1996) Quinlan's Film Stars, 4th edn., B.T. Batsford, ISBN   0-7134-7751-2, p. 63
  11. "Heritage Auction Galleries "Signature Music & Entertainment Memorabilia Auction″ Catalog Available Online (October 2008)". Movie Prop Collecting with Jason DeBord's Original Prop Blog Film & TV Prop, Costume, Hollywood Memorablia Pop Culture Resource. September 6, 2008.
  12. Decherney, Peter (February 24, 2016). "Stolen Oscars: History, Markets And Myths". Forbes. Retrieved March 9, 2017.