Friday, May 27, 2016

Born Today May 27: Lucile Watson


Born in Québec City, Canada, she was the daughter of a British Army officer stationed there. Watson is almost completely recognizable for her character acting in role of mothers and matrons in the talking era; but her career started much earlier.  She became interested in acting at a very early age; being independent minded she had hopes of attending a dramatic arts school in New York City; a move that her military father completely disapproved of.  Despite this, she left for New York anyway and did enroll in school there.  She made her Broadway debut in 1902 in a production of Hearts Aflame.  She went on to find roles in several Broadway productions over the next two years.  Along the way, she worked in plays that starred early motion picture actors such as Robert Warwick and John Barrymore.  Her stage career continued to grow over the years, culminating with an appearance in a silent short film in 1916 The Girl with the Green Eyes, a production of Popular Plays and Players, Inc. This was the extent of her film work in the silent era.  She would not appear in film again until 1930 in an early Western Electric talkie, The Royal Family of Broadway, a New York based production partially directed by George Cukor.  She chose instead to stay on the stage; and she stayed there until 1934. She started taking film roles in the few movies that were still being produced in the New York area and found herself with a whole new career on hands.  By the end of 1934, she was making films in Hollywood.  She would continue to act in films right up into the early 1950's, and then even moved on to a little television work, before retiring in 1954 and moving back to her beloved New York.  Watson passed away there of a heart attack on 24 June 1962; she was 83 years of age. She is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, in Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester Co.  

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