Lucile Watson

Last updated
Lucile Watson
Lucile Watson.jpg
Watson, 1920s
Born(1879-05-27)May 27, 1879
DiedJune 24, 1962(1962-06-24) (aged 83)
New York City, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1902–1954
Spouse(s) Rockliffe Fellowes
(m. 190?; div. 19??)
Louis Evan Shipman
(m. 1926;died 1933)

Lucile Watson (May 27, 1879 – June 24, 1962) was a Canadian actress, long based in the United States. She was "famous for her roles of formidable dowagers." [1]

Contents

Early years

Watson was born in Quebec and raised in Ottawa, the daughter of an officer in the British Army. Despite his wishes, she traveled to New York City and enrolled in a dramatic school. [2]

Career

Watson as Fanny Farrelly in the original Broadway production of Watch on the Rhine, 1941 Watch-on-the-Rhine-1941-2.jpg
Watson as Fanny Farrelly in the original Broadway production of Watch on the Rhine , 1941

Watson began her career on the stage debuting on Broadway in the play Hearts Aflame in 1902. Her next play was The Girl with Green Eyes, the first of several Clyde Fitch stories. At the end of 1903, Watson appeared in Fitch's Glad of It. This play featured several young performers, including Watson who moved to major Broadway or motion picture prominence: Robert Warwick, John Barrymore, Thomas Meighan, and Grant Mitchell. For the rest of the decade, she appeared in several more Fitch stories into the 1910s. Fitch died in 1909.[ citation needed ]

Watson was primarily a stage actress, appearing in 39 Broadway plays. [3] She starred in plays such as Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines , Heartbreak House , Ghosts , The Importance of Being Earnest , and Pride and Prejudice .

Watson's first film role was in the 1916 silent film The Girl with Green Eyes, a film version of the Clyde Fitch play she had performed on Broadway in 1902. She did not appear in another movie until 1930 when she had an uncredited role in The Royal Family of Broadway . In 1939, she played a memorable role as Norma Shearer's wise mother in the cultural comedy/drama from the Clare Booth Luce play The Women.

Watson reached the height of her adult acting career in playwright Lillian Hellman's anti-fascist dramatic stage play Watch on the Rhine on Broadway in 1941, starring Paul Lukas. Two years later in Hollywood, she and Lukas reprised their roles in the film adaptation. [4] In perhaps her best known film role, Lucile Watson's performance as Fanny Farrelly received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Lucile Watson played Aunt March in the 1949 film version of Little Women , whose stars included Elizabeth Taylor as Amy. The following year, she was cast along with her famous The Women co-star Joan Crawford in the melodrama Harriet Craig .

Personal life

Watson's first name, Lucile, is often misspelled in her movie credits as Lucille. Sometime in the 1910s, she was briefly married to silent film star Rockliffe Fellowes; they had no children. Her second husband was playwright Louis E. Shipman, whom she married in 1928; he died five years later, in 1933.

Death

Watson died on June 25, 1962, [5] after suffering a heart attack at age 83. She is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.[ citation needed ]

Broadway roles

Partial filmography

Frame from trailer for Waterloo Bridge, 1940. Note her name is misspelled in the credit. Lucille Watson in Waterloo Bridge trailer.jpg
Frame from trailer for Waterloo Bridge , 1940. Note her name is misspelled in the credit.

Sources

Related Research Articles

<i>Watch on the Rhine</i> 1943 film by Hal Mohr, Herman Shumlin

Watch on the Rhine is a 1943 American drama film directed by Herman Shumlin and starring Bette Davis and Paul Lukas. The screenplay by Dashiell Hammett is based on the 1941 play Watch on the Rhine by Lillian Hellman. Watch on the Rhine was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Paul Lukas won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Kurt Muller, a German-born anti-fascist in this film.

Margaret Dumont American actress

Margaret Dumont was an American stage and film actress. She is best remembered as the comic foil to the Marx Brothers in seven of their films. Groucho Marx called her "practically the fifth Marx brother".

May Whitty English actress

Dame Mary Louise Webster,, known professionally as May Whitty and later, for her charity work, Dame May Whitty, was an English stage and film actress. She was one of the first two women entertainers to become a Dame. The British actors' union Equity was established in her home. After a successful career she moved over to Hollywood films at the age of 72. She went to live in America, where she won awards for her film roles.

Mildred Dunnock American actress (1901–1991)

Mildred Dorothy Dunnock was an American stage and screen actress. She was twice nominated for an Academy Award: first Death of a Salesman in 1951, then Baby Doll in 1956.

Alice Ghostley American actress

Alice Margaret Ghostley was an American actress and singer. She was best known for her roles as Esmeralda on Bewitched, as Cousin Alice (1970–71) on Mayberry R.F.D., and as Bernice Clifton (1986–93) on Designing Women, for which she received an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1992. She was a regular on Nichols (1971–72) and The Julie Andrews Hour (1972–73).

Helen Broderick

Helen Broderick was an American film and stage actress known for her comic roles, especially as a wisecracking sidekick.

Esther Howard American actress

Esther Howard was an American stage and film character actress who played a wide range of supporting roles, from man-hungry spinsters to amoral criminals, appearing in 108 films in her 23-year screen career.

Mary Boland American actress

Mary Boland was an American stage and film actress.

Sara Haden

Sara Haden was an American actress of the 1930s through the 1950s and in television into the mid-1960s. She may be best remembered for appearing as Aunt Milly Forrest in 14 entries in MGM's Andy Hardy film series.

Cora Witherspoon

Cora Witherspoon was an American stage and film character actress whose career spanned nearly half a century. She began in theatre where she remained rooted even after entering motion pictures in the early 1930s. As Witherspoon’s career progressed, she carved a niche playing haughty society women or harridan housewives such as Princess Lina in Ferenc Molnár's 1928 play Olympia, or Agatha Sousè, W.C. Fields’ domineering spouse in the 1940 film The Bank Dick. John Springer and Jack Hamilton, authors of They Had Faces Then: Super Stars, Stars, and Starlets of the 1930s (1974), wrote that "Witherspoon was blessed with a face that might have been drawn by one of those cartoonists who specialize in dealing with the war between men and women."

Marjorie Gateson American actress

Marjorie Augusta Gateson was an American stage and film actress.

Norma Varden English actress

Norma Varden Shackleton, known professionally as Norma Varden, was an English-American actress with a long film career.

Elisabeth Risdon English film actress

Elisabeth Risdon was an English film actress. She appeared in over 140 films between 1913 and 1952. A beauty in her youth, she usually played in society parts. In later years in films she switched to playing character parts.

Vera Lewis American actress

Vera Lewis was an American film and stage actress, beginning in the silent film era. She appeared in 183 films between 1915 and 1947. She was married to actor Ralph Lewis.

Ruth Donnelly American actress

Ruth Donnelly was an American film and stage actress.

Nana Bryant American actress

Nana Irene Bryant was an American film, stage, and television actress. She appeared in more than 100 films between 1935 and 1955. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and died in Hollywood, California.

Esther Dale American actress

Esther Dale was an American actress of the stage and screen, best known perhaps for her role as Aunt Genevieve in the 1935 Shirley Temple vehicle Curly Top.

Sarah Padden

Sarah Padden was a theatre and film character actress. She performed on stage in the early 20th century. Her best-known single-act performance was in The Clod, a stage production in which she played an uneducated woman who lived on a farm during the American Civil War.

Mavis Villiers Australian actress

Mavis Villiers was an Australian-born British actress of stage, film and television. Her parents were John Cooney and Clara Smythe. Her brother, Cecil Cooney, was a camera operator and cinematographer. Her stage name, Villiers, was taken from her maternal grandfather.

<i>Watch on the Rhine</i> (play)

Watch on the Rhine is a 1941 American play by Lillian Hellman. In an essay on World War II, a contributor to The Companion to Southern Literature (2002) wrote that the play's "peculiar combination of drawing-room comedy in a genteel southern home with sinister corruption of the Nazi regime in Europe made for a unique and powerful drama, one strong enough to win the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award."

References

  1. "Famed actress dies at 83". California, Redlands. Redlands Daily Facts. June 26, 1962. p. 5. Retrieved March 14, 2016 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  2. "Lucile Watson, Type". D.C, Washington. The Washington Herald. February 9, 1919. p. 15. Retrieved March 14, 2016 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  3. "Lucile Watson". Playbill. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  4. Watch on the Rhine at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. "Lucile Watson, Actress, 83, Dies". Connecticut, Bridgeport. The Bridgeport Post. June 25, 1962. p. 24. Retrieved March 14, 2016 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  6. "Watch on the Rhine". Internet Broadway Database . Retrieved 2017-02-28.

Further reading