Isabel Bonner

Isabel Bonner (June 12, 1907 – July 1, 1955) was an American stage actress.

Isabel Bonner
Isabel Bonner.jpg
Bonner in c. 1955
Born(1907-06-12)June 12, 1907
DiedJuly 1, 1955(1955-07-01) (aged 48)
Years active1935–1955 (Broadway)
Spouse(s)Joseph Kramm


Bonner was born on June 12, 1907, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1] As a child, she began her career in her father's stock company. She later studied in New York under Alex Koiransky and Maria Ouspenskaya, and made her Broadway debut as the ingénue in Let Freedom Ring. She had several later theatre roles, including parts in Processional, Trojan Incident, Uncle Harry, Liliom, Medicine Show, Laura, Foolish Nation, The Front Page, and The Biggest Thief in Town.[2][3] She also had some roles in television productions, such as Suspense and The Philco Television Playhouse, and in the radio serials Nora Drake and The Right to Happiness.[2]

She played roles multiple times in The Shrike, a drama play written by her husband, Joseph Kramm. She first portrayed Dr. Barrow, a psychiatrist, during its Broadway debut in 1952. Then, when the show went on an extended tour of the east, she played the wife of the male lead, who was portrayed by Dane Clark.[4][2] In 1955, she took the role of the wife again in a four-week run at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles, California.[4]

On July 1, 1955, while performing a scene in the play that took place in a hospital, she collapsed on a bed, having died of a cerebral hemorrhage.[5] Clark, ad-libbing, put his arm around Bonner and said "Ann, speak to me. Is something the matter? What's wrong, darling? I love you." Then, realizing something was wrong, he turned to the wings and said "Bring down the curtain." A film editor in the audience, Harold Cornsweet, later said of the ad-libbed scene: "It was so realistic that people in the audience were crying."[2] Bonner's funeral service was held on July 7, 1955, at the Church of the Transfiguration, Episcopal in Manhattan, New York City.[6] Bonner appeared in the 1955 film adaptation of The Shrike, released after her death, as Dr. Barrow.[7]


  1. ^ Commire, Anne; Klezmer, Deborah (eds.). "Bonner, Isabel (1907–1955)". Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. Yorkin Publications. p. 231. Gale CX2588802893.
  2. ^ a b c d "Audience Thinks It's Part of Play As Actress Dies During Scene". The Evening Star. Associated Press. July 2, 1955. Retrieved March 7, 2021 – via Chronicling America.
  3. ^ "Isabel Bonner – Broadway Cast & Staff". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on March 7, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "'Shrike' Casts Isabel Bonner". The Los Angeles Times. June 1, 1955. Retrieved March 7, 2021 – via
  5. ^ "Cerebral Hemorrhage Fatal To Actress". The Knoxville Journal. Associated Press. July 3, 1955. Retrieved March 7, 2021 – via
  6. ^ "Rites for Isabel Bonner". The New York Times. July 6, 1955. ProQuest 113429951. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  7. ^ Weiler, A. H. (July 8, 1955). "Tamed 'Shrike'; Film Wife Less Deadly Than One in Play". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2021.

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