Edna May Oliver

Edna May Oliver (born Edna May Nutter, November 9, 1883 – November 9, 1942) was an American stage and film actress. During the 1930s, she was one of the better-known character actresses in American films, often playing tart-tongued spinsters.

Edna May Oliver
Studio publicity Edna May Oliver.jpg
c. 1930s
Born
Edna May Nutter

(1883-11-09)November 9, 1883
DiedNovember 9, 1942(1942-11-09) (aged 59)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
OccupationActress
Years active1897–1941
Spouse(s)David Welford Pratt (1928–1931; divorced)
Oliver (center) in lobby card for David Copperfield (1935)

Early lifeEdit

Born in Malden, Massachusetts, the daughter of Ida May and Charles Edward Nutter, she quit school at age 14 to pursue a career on stage, and achieved her first success in 1917 on Broadway in Jerome Kern's musical comedy Oh, Boy!, playing the hero's comically dour Aunt Penelope.[1]

CareerEdit

In 1925, Oliver appeared on Broadway in The Cradle Snatchers, co-starring Mary Boland, Gene Raymond, and Humphrey Bogart.[2] Oliver's most notable stage appearance was as Parthy, wife of Cap'n Andy Hawks, in the original 1927 stage production of the musical Show Boat.[3] She repeated the role in the 1932 Broadway revival,[4] but turned down the chance to play Parthy in the 1936 film version of the show to play the Nurse in that year's film version of Romeo and Juliet.

Her film debut was in 1923 in Wife in Name Only.|[5] She continued to appear in films until Lydia in 1941. Oliver first gained major notice in films for her appearances in several comedy films starring the team of Wheeler & Woolsey including Half Shot at Sunrise, her first film under her RKO Radio Pictures contract in 1930. While usually playing featured parts, she starred in ten films, including the women's stories Fanny Foley Herself and Ladies of the Jury. She played wealthy, domineering Aunt March in the 1933 version of Little Women.

Oliver's most popular star vehicles were mystery-comedies starring as spinster sleuth Hildegarde Withers from the popular Stuart Palmer novels. The series ended prematurely when Oliver left RKO to sign with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1935; the studio attempted to continue the series with Helen Broderick and then ZaSu Pitts as Withers.[6]

While at MGM, David O. Selznick had her cast in two film versions of novels by Charles Dickens, including A Tale of Two Cities[7] (1935), starring Ronald Colman, as the prim but acidic Miss Pross and David Copperfield [8](also 1935) as the eccentric Betsy Trotwood.

Oliver was also seen in two 1939 movie musicals, with Tyrone Power in the Sonja Henie skating film Second Fiddle[9] and in a supporting role as the agent of the title characters in the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musical The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle.[10] That same year, she was nominated for a Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance in Drums Along the Mohawk[11] as an early American settler who gives shelter to Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert after their home is burned by Seneca Indians. A comic performance as Laurence Olivier's domineering aunt in Pride and Prejudice[12] and a role as Merle Oberon's grandmother in Lydia[13] concluded her film career.

She was also cast in noncomedic films such as Cimarron[14] (1931), Ann Vickers[15] (1933), A Tale of Two Cities[7] (1935), David Copperfield[8] (1935), and Romeo and Juliet[16] (1936).

DeathEdit

Oliver died on her 59th birthday in 1942 following a short intestinal ailment, and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.[17]

Awards and honorsEdit

Oliver received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Drums Along the Mohawk (1939).[11]

StageEdit

Note: The list below is limited to New York/Broadway theatrical productions

Broadway credits of Edna May Oliver
Date Title Role Ref(s)
Dec 05, 1916 - Jan 1917 The Master [18]
Feb 20, 1917 - Mar 30, 1918 Oh Boy Miss Penelope Budd [19]
Nov 25, 1919 - Jan 07, 1920 The Rose of China Mrs. Hobson [20]
Feb 02, 1920 - May 01, 1920 My Golden Girl Mrs. Judson Mitchell [21]
Nov 01, 1920 - Dec 11, 1920 The Half Moon Mrs. Francis Adams Jarvis [22]
Sep 26, 1921 - (unknown) Wait 'Til We're Married Aunt Meridian [23]
Nov 28, 1921 - Dec 1921 Her Salary Man Mrs. Sophie Perkins [24]
Sep 06, 1922 - Sep 1922 Wild Oats Lane June [25]
Feb 10, 1923 - Jun 1923 Icebound Hannah [26]
Oct 13, 1924 - Nov 15, 1924 In His Arms Mrs. John Clarendon [27]
Jan 13, 1925 - Feb 1925 Isabel Mrs. John Clarendon [28]
Sep 07, 1925 - Oct 1926 Cradle Snatchers Ethel Drake [29]
Dec 27, 1927 - May 04, 1929 Show Boat Parthy Ann Hawks [30]
May 19, 1932 - Oct 22, 1932 Show Boat Parthy Ann Hawks [31]

FilmographyEdit

Film credits of Edna Mae Oliver
Year Title Role Silent Sound Studio/Distributor Ref(s)
1923 Wife in Name Only Mrs. Dornham X Pyramid Pictures [5]
1923 Three O'Clock in the Morning Hetty X C. C. Burr Pictures [32]
1924 Restless Wives Benson's Secretary X C. C. Burr Pictures [33]
1924 Icebound Hannah X Famous Players-Lasky [34]
1924 Manhattan Mrs. Trapes X Famous Players-Lasky [35]
1925 The Lucky Devil Mrs. McDee X Famous Players-Lasky [36]
1925 Lovers in Quarantine Amelia Pincent X Famous Players-Lasky [37]
1925 The Lady Who Lied X First National Pictures [38]
1926 The American Venus Mrs. Niles X Famous Players-Lasky [39]
1926 Let's Get Married J. W. Smith X Famous Players-Lasky [40]
1929 The Saturday Night Kid Miss Streeter X Paramount Productions [41]
1930 Half Shot at Sunrise Mrs. Marshall X RKO Pictures [42]
1931 Cimarron Mrs. Tracy Wyatt X RKO Pictures [14]
1931 Forbidden Adventure Bessie Tate X Paramount Productions [43]
1931 Fanny Foley Herself Fanny Foley X RKO Pictures [44]
1931 Laugh and Get Rich Sarah Austin X RKO Pictures [45]
1931 Cracked Nuts Aunt Minnie Van Varden X RKO Pictures [46]
1932 The Penguin Pool Murder Miss Hildegarde Martha Withers X RKO Pictures [47]
1932 Ladies of the Jury Mrs. Livingston Baldwin Crane X RKO Pictures [48]
1932 The Conquerors Matilda Blake X RKO Pictures [49]
1932 Hold 'Em Jail Violet X RKO Pictures [50]
1933 Ann Vickers Malvina Wormser X RKO Pictures [15]
1933 Meet the Baron Dean Primrose X MGM [51]
1933 The Great Jasper Madame Talma X RKO Pictures [52]
1933 It's Great to Be Alive Dr. Prodwell X Fox Film Corp. [53]
1933 Only Yesterday Leona X Universal Pictures [54]
1933 Little Women Aunt March X RKO Pictures [55]
1933 Alice in Wonderland The Red Queen X Paramount Productions [56]
1934 The Last Gentleman Augusta Pritchard X 20th Century Fox [57]
1934 The Poor Rich Harriet Spottiswood X Universal Pictures [58]
1934 Murder on the Blackboard Hildegarde Withers X RKO Pictures [59]
1934 We're Rich Again Maude X RKO Pictures [60]
1935 David Copperfield Aunt Betsey Trotwood X MGM [8]
1935 No More Ladies Mrs. Fanny "Grandma" Townsend X MGM [61]
1935 Murder on a Honeymoon Hildegarde Withers X RKO Pictures [62]
1935 A Tale of Two Cities Miss Pross X MGM [7]
1937 My Dear Miss Aldrich Mrs. Lou Atherton X MGM [63]
1937 Parnell Aunt Ben Wood X MGM [64]
1937 Rosalie Queen of Romanza X MGM [65]
1937 Romeo and Juliet Nurse to Juliet X MGM
Note: Premiered August 20, 1936, but not released until April 16, 1937
[16]
1938 Little Miss Broadway Sarah Wendling X 20th Century Fox [66]
1938 Paradise for Three Mrs. Julia Kunkel X MGM [67]
1939 Nurse Edith Cavell Countess de Mavon X Imperadio Pictures Ltd [68]
1939 Drums Along the Mohawk Mrs. McKlennar X 20th Century Fox [69]
1939 The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle Maggie Sutton X RKO Pictures [10]
1939 Second Fiddle Aunt Phoebe X 20th Century Fox [9]
1940 Pride and Prejudice Lady Catherine de Bourgh X MGM [12]
1941 Lydia Sarah MacMillan X Alexander Korda Films [13]
1976 America at the Movies Footage X American Film Institute [70]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Oh, Boy (1917 production) at the Internet Broadway Database
  2. ^ Cradle Snatchers (1925 production) at the Internet Broadway Database
  3. ^ Show Boat (1927 production) at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ Show Boat (1932 production) at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. ^ a b "Wife in Name Only". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  6. ^ Palmer 2013, p. 4.
  7. ^ a b c "A Tale of Two Cities". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "David Copperfield". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Second Fiddle". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "The 12th Academy Awards | 1940". Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Pride and Prejudice". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  13. ^ a b "Lydia". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Cimarron". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Ann Vickers". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Romeo and Juliet". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  17. ^ "Edna May Oliver's Funeral Services Set for Tomorrow". The Los Angeles Times. November 11, 1942. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  18. ^ "The Master". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  19. ^ "Oh Boy". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  20. ^ "The Rose of China". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  21. ^ "My Golden Girl". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  22. ^ "The Half Moon". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  23. ^ "Wait 'Til We're Married". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  24. ^ "Her Salary Man". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  25. ^ "Wild Oats Lane". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  26. ^ "Icebound". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  27. ^ "In His Arms". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  28. ^ "Isabel". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  29. ^ "Cradle Snatchers". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  30. ^ "Show Boat (1927-1929)". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  31. ^ "Show Boat (1932)". IBDB. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  32. ^ "Three O'Clock in the Morning". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  33. ^ "Restless Wives". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  34. ^ "Icebound". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  35. ^ "Manhattan". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  36. ^ "The Lucky Devil". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  37. ^ "Lovers in Quarantine". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  38. ^ Monush 2003, p. 566.
  39. ^ "The American Venus". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  40. ^ "Let's Get Married". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  41. ^ "The Saturday Night Kid". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  42. ^ "Half Shot at Sunrise". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  43. ^ "Forbidden Adventure". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  44. ^ "Fanny Foley Herself". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  45. ^ "Laugh and Get Rich". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  46. ^ "Cracked Nuts". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  47. ^ "The Penguin Pool Murder". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  48. ^ "Ladies of the Jury". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  49. ^ "The Conquerors". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  50. ^ "Hold 'Em Jail". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  51. ^ "Meet the Baron". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  52. ^ "The Great Jasper". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  53. ^ "It's Great to Be Alive". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  54. ^ "Only Yesterday". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  55. ^ "Little Women". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  56. ^ "Alice in Wonderland". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  57. ^ "The Last Gentleman". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  58. ^ "The Poor Rich". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  59. ^ "Murder on the Blackboard". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  60. ^ "We're Rich Again". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  61. ^ "No More Ladies". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  62. ^ "Murder on a Honeymoon". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  63. ^ "My Dear Miss Aldrich". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  64. ^ "Parnell". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  65. ^ "Rosalie". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  66. ^ "Little Miss Broadway". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  67. ^ "Paradise for Three". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  68. ^ "Nurse Edith Cavell". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  69. ^ "Drums Along the Mohawk". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  70. ^ "America at the Movies". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.

BibliographyEdit

  • Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1-55783-551-2.
  • Palmer, Stuart (2013). Hildegarde Withers in The Riddle of the Blueblood Murders. Wildside Press LLC. ISBN 978-1-4344-4637-4.

Further readingEdit

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Edna May Oliver". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 200–203. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.

External linksEdit