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Margaret Lorraine "Margalo" Gillmore (31 May 1897 – 30 June 1986) was an English-born American actress who had a long career as a stage actress on Broadway. She also appeared in films and TV series, mostly in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Margalo Gillmore
Margalo Gillmore (1).jpg
Margaret Lorraine Gillmore

(1897-05-31)31 May 1897
London, England
Died30 June 1986(1986-06-30) (aged 89)
Resting placeAaron Cemetery
Alma materAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active1917–1966
Robert Ross
(m. 1935; died 1954)
Parent(s)Frank Gilmore
RelativesSarah Thorne (great-aunt)
Thomas Thorne (great-uncle)
George Thorne (great-uncle)
Gillmore, Frank Reicher and Richard Bennett in the Broadway production of He Who Gets Slapped (1922)


Gillmore was the daughter of Frank Gillmore, a founder and former president of Actors' Equity,[1] and the actress Laura MacGillivray, and the sister of actress Ruth Gillmore. Her great-aunt was the British actor-manager Sarah Thorne, and her great-uncles were the actors Thomas Thorne and George Thorne.


A fourth-generation actor on her father's side, Gillmore trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her stage acting career stretched from The Scrap of Paper in 1917 through to Noël Coward's musical Sail Away on Broadway in 1961.[1] She was first noticed by the critics in the 1919 play The Famous Mrs. Fair, in which she appeared with Henry Miller and Blanche Bates. In 1921 she played the tubercular patient Eileen Carmody in Eugene O'Neill's The Straw. In 1936, she originated the role of Mary Haines in Clare Boothe Luce's play The Women,[1] and in 1945 she originated the role of Kay Thorndike in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play State of the Union.[2] Gillmore appeared regularly with the Theatre Guild.

Having appeared as an extra in a silent film for the Vitagraph Studios in 1913, aged 16, and in a short, The Home Girl in 1928, Gillmore made her sound-film debut in 1932 in Wayward, but did not appear on screen again until the 1950s in such films as Perfect Strangers (1950), Cause for Alarm! (1951), Woman's World (1954), High Society (1956) and Upstairs and Downstairs (1959).

During World War II, Gillmore had a role in the traveling production of The Barretts of Wimpole Street.[1] The production starred much of the original Broadway cast headed by leading actress Katharine Cornell, and directed by Cornell's husband Guthrie McClintic. The play entertained troops in Italy, France and England and reached within a few miles of the front in the Netherlands. The cast made a point of visiting military hospitals every day.

Gillmore played Mrs. Darling in the Broadway and televised versions of Peter Pan starring Mary Martin. She was a member of the famous Algonquin Round Table.[3]

In 1964 she wrote her autobiography Four Flights Up, published by Houghton Mifflin.[4]


On 30 June 1986, Gillmore died of cancer, aged 89. Her remains were interred in Aaron Cemetery, Walker County, Alabama.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1932 Wayward Louisa Daniels
1950 Perfect Strangers Isobel Bradford
1950 The Happy Years Maude Stover
1951 Cause for Alarm! Mrs. Edwards
1951 The Law and the Lady Cora Caighn
1951 Behave Yourself! Mother
1951 Elopement Claire Osborne
1952 Skirts Ahoy! Lt. Cmdr. Stauton
1953 Scandal at Scourie Alice Hanover
1954 Woman's World Mrs. Evelyn Andrews
1956 Gaby Mrs. Helen Carrington
1956 High Society Mrs. Seth Lord
1959 Upstairs and Downstairs Mrs. McGuffey
1966 The Trouble with Angels Sister Barbara (final film role)


  1. ^ a b c d Ennis, Thomas W. (July 2, 1986). "Margalo Gillmore, An Actress on the Stage and on Screen". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  2. ^ "State of the Union, Hudson Theatre, New York City, from November 14, 1945 to September 13, 1947". Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  3. ^ "Members of the Round Table". Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  4. ^ "Margalo Gillmore dies". July 2, 1986. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Los Angeles Times obituary

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