Lucile Watson

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]

Lucile Watson
Photo of Lucile Watson from her appearance in the Broadway play Late Love
Watson in 1953
Born(1879-05-27)May 27, 1879
DiedJune 24, 1962(1962-06-24) (aged 83)
New York City, U.S.
Resting placeMount Hope Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
Years active1902–1954
Spouse(s)Rockliffe Fellowes(?-1920)
Louis Shipman(1921-1933;his death)
Children?possibly one child with Fellowes(died as infant)child buried with Watson's father per his tombstone

Early yearsEdit

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]


Watson as Fanny Farrelly in the original Broadway production of Watch on the Rhine, 1941

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 portrayed Norma Shearer's wise mother in the cultural comedy/drama from the Clare Booth Luce play The Women.

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

In perhaps her most acclaimed performance, Watson portrayed Fanny Farrelly in playwright Lillian Hellman's anti-fascist dramatic stage play Watch on the Rhine on Broadway in 1941, starring Paul Lukas.[4] Two years later in Hollywood, she and Lukas reprised their roles in the film adaptation,[5] for which Watson received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[6]

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.


Watson died on June 25, 1962.[7]

Broadway rolesEdit

Partial filmographyEdit

Watson in the movie trailer My Forbidden Past (1951)



  1. ^ "Famed actress dies at 83". California, Redlands. Redlands Daily Facts. June 26, 1962. p. 5. Retrieved March 14, 2016 – via  
  2. ^ "Lucile Watson, Type". D.C, Washington. The Washington Herald. February 9, 1919. p. 15. Retrieved March 14, 2016 – via  
  3. ^ "Lucile Watson". Playbill. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  4. ^ "Obituaries". Variety. June 27, 1962. p. 63. ProQuest 1032424803. Perhaps her most highly praised performance was as Fanny Farrelly in Lillian Hellman's anti-Nazi play, 'Watch on the Rhine,' which starred Paul Lucas and opened in 1941.
  5. ^ "Watch on the Rhine". Internet Broadway Database.
  6. ^ United Press (February 7, 1944). "Three Former Winners Listed in 'Oscar' Race". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 9. Retrieved June 4, 2023.
  7. ^ "Lucile Watson, Actress, 83, Dies". Connecticut, Bridgeport. The Bridgeport Post. June 25, 1962. p. 24. Retrieved March 14, 2016 – via  
  8. ^ "Watch on the Rhine". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved February 28, 2017.

Further readingEdit

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Lucile Watson". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 249–251. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.

External linksEdit