Mary Philips

Mary Philips
Mary Philips
Born January 23, 1901(1901-01-23)
New London, Connecticut, U.S.
Died April 22, 1975(1975-04-22) (aged 74)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Other names Mary Phillips
Occupation Actress
Years active 1918–54
Spouse Humphrey Bogart (1928–1938)
Kenneth MacKenna (1938–1962)

Mary Philips (January 23, 1901 – April 22, 1975) was an American stage and film actress.



Born in New London, Connecticut, she was the only child of Anna Hurley and Charles Philips of New Haven. She was educated in New Haven at what was then St. Mary's Academy. In 1920 she made her stage debut as a chorus girl. She then went on to have a very successful stage career appearing in such shows as The Postman Always Rings Twice (1936) and Chicken Every Sunday (1944). She had a long working relationship with the New York theatre and as her own personal scrapbook shows, worked closely with such greats as George M. Cohan. In 1924 she appeared in the Broadway play Nerves with Humphrey Bogart and Kenneth MacKenna, both life-long friends and future husbands.

Philips was married on April 3, 1928 to Humphrey Bogart at her mother's apartment at 24 Hopkins Street in Hartford, Connecticut by a Justice of the Peace. This was Philips' first marriage and Bogart's second (Helen Menken m. 20 May 1926-1927). Bogart was a little-known stage actor then, and Mary was an established actress in the New York theatre. When Bogart got film roles in Hollywood, Mary declined to move with him to California, as her stage career was firmly established in New York at that time. After a marriage that lasted ten years, Philips and Bogart divorced in 1938. The couple had no children. Bogart later went on to marry Mayo Methot (m.1938-1945) and then Lauren Bacall (m. 21 May 1945-until Bogart's death on 14 January 1957). Mary Philips and Humphrey Bogart remained friends throughout their lives. Mary and her second husband, Kenneth MacKenna (1899–1962) both were invited friends to Bogart's memorial in California following his death in 1957.

Continuing on with her stage career in New York, Mary Philips then went on to marry her longtime friend, actor and director Kenneth MacKenna (August 19, 1899 - January 15, 1962). Kenneth was an American actor and film director, born Leo Mielziner, Jr. in Canterbury, New Hampshire, brother of the well-known, five-time Tony winner, Jo Mielziner (See: Mielziner: Master of Modern Stage Design by Mary C. Henderson, 2001). Mary and Kenneth were married in August 1938; it was the second and final marriage for both. Mary and Kenneth later made their home in California, where Kenneth was Story Head for MGM. They remained married until Kenneth's death in 1962. More information about Mary Philips and Kenneth Mackenna can be found in: Mielziner Family Papers, 1890–1935, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, New York, New York and through MGM. Numerous photos of Mary Philips and articles can be viewed.

Mary Philips's career would later expand into films. One of her fondest memories was the role she played as Helen Ferguson in A Farewell to Arms (1932). Her complete filmography is listed below.

During the later days of Kenneth's life, both Mary's mother, Anna Philips, and Kenneth's mother, Ella Lane McKenna Friend (March 18, 1873 – February 2, 1968), lived with them in their home in Brentwood, California. Following Kenneth's death and the death of her own mother, Anna, Mary later moved to a lovely apartment overlooking the Pacific Palisades in Santa Monica. She was generous to her extended family, and both she and Kenneth made major contributions to charitable organizations, colleges and to the arts. Their home was frequented by the adopted son of Jo Mielziner, Michael, and by her cousin, Lucille Hackett and her children. Ms. Philips was a gracious lady of the golden age of the theatre and of film. When she would go out to dinner in Santa Monica in the early 1970s, she was often observed to still wear white gloves.

Philips died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California on April 22, 1975, after a long and painful battle with lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain. She had been unaware of the growing cancer until she was in a minor car accident in Santa Monica that resulted in follow-up diagnostics and treatment. Her cousin, "Sister," (Lucille Hackett of New Haven, Connecticut), arranged for one of her daughters, Deborah Hackett, to be with her in Santa Monica during Mary's final months. Mary had long been a godmother to the children of the Hackett family, sending them to camp in the summer time and visiting them in their homes in New England and in Dobbs Ferry, New York. As Philips had been an only child who had lost her father to a railroad accident when she was a small child, her extended family was important to her. Her relationship with Lucille Hackett was one of long affection and care that spanned their lives. The majority of her estate and her private belongings were left to Lucille. Mary Philips was buried with her husband, Kenneth MacKenna, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.

Mary Philips had many beloved friends and extended family, including the son of Jo Mielziner, Michael Mielziner, her longtime business manager, Yvonne West, her beloved cousin, Lucille Bardorf Hackett, and the Hackett children.

Broadway credits

  • The Canary (1918)
  • Poor Little Ritz Girl (1920)
  • Lilies of the Field (1921)
  • Pins and Needles (1922)
  • The Old Soak (1922)
  • Nerves (1924)
  • Big Boy (1925)
  • One of the Family (1925)
  • Two Girls Wanted (1926)
  • Gay Paree (1926)
  • The Wisdom Tooth (1926)
  • The Five O'Clock Girl (1927)
  • Skyrocket (1929)
  • Gambling (1929)
  • The Tavern (1930)
  • The Song and Dance Man (1930)
  • Oh, Promise Me (1930)
  • The House Beautiful (1930)
  • The Laugh Parade (1931)
  • Black Sheep (1932)
  • Both Your Houses (1933)
  • All Good Americans (1933)
  • The Pure in Heart (1934)
  • Come What May (1934)
  • Merrily We Roll Along (1934)
  • Anything Goes (1934)
  • A Touch of Brimstone (1934)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice(1936)
  • The Show is On (1936)
  • Spring Thaw (1938)
  • Chicken Every Sunday (1944)


External links

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