- Madge Kennedy
Madge Kennedy (
April 19, 1891in California– June 9, 1987in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California) was a movie and stage actress of the silent filmera.
Kennedy came to
New York Citywith her mother to paint. She was admitted to the Art Student's League. Luis Mora saw her art work and recommended that she go to Siasconset ( Nantucket, Massachusetts) for a summer. Mora described Kennedy as talented but very lazy.
The Siasconset colony was evenly divided among actors and artists, and painters oftengave theatrical performances. Kennedy appeared at a painter's play andimpressed one of the professionals there. He commented, "she could act rings around anybody." The professional was Harry Woodruff who promptly offered her a job in his play, "The Genius". Soon she was in
Cleveland, Ohiowhere Robert McLaughlingave her work with his stock company.
Kennedy first started out on Broadway with the show, "Little Miss Brown". This was a
farcein three acts presented at the 48th Street Theater in August 1912. Critics foundKennedy's performance most pleasing, writing "Miss Kennedy's youth, good looks, and marked sense of fun helped her to make a decidedly favorable impression last night."
After making movies for three years she returned to the New York stage in November 1920. Kennedy played in "Cornered", staged at the
Astor Theatre. Produced by Henry Savage, the play was taken from the writing of Dodson Mitchell. Kennedy performed adual role. She acted the character of a widow in the comedy "Beware of Widows" which was produced by the Maxine Elliott Theatrein December 1925. A reviewer for the New York Timesremarked about Kennedy's physical beauty as well as her skill as a comedian.
She returned to Broadway in her later years, performing in August 1965 with
Ruth Gordon, in "A Very Rich Woman". This was herfirst stage appearance in thirty-three years.
Sam Goldwynof Goldwyn Picturessigned Kennedy to a big movie contract. Kennedy starred in movies such as "Baby Mine" (1917), "Our Little Wife" (1918) and "Dollars and Sense" (1920).
Kennedy told a reporter in 1916, "I have discovered that one of the best ways to act is to make your mind as vacant as possible."
In 1918 "Our Little Wife" premiered with Kennedy playing the role of "Dodo Warren". The story is about a woman whose marriage is both humorous and sad. The screenplay was adapted from a comedy by
Avery Hopwood. "A Perfect Lady" (1918) was released in December andwas taken from a stage play by Channing Pollockand Rennold Wolf. Kennedy co-starred with James Montgomery. In 1923 she starred in "The Purple Highway". The screenplayis an adaptation of the stage play "Dear Me", written byLuther Reed and Hale Hamilton. The cast included Monte Blueand Emily Fitzroy.
The 1920s was a productive period for Kennedy. Following "The Purple Highway" she had prominent roles in "Three Miles Out"(1924), "Scandal Sheet" (1925), "Bad Company" (1925), "Lying Wives" (1925), "Oh, Baby!" (1926), "Walls TellTales" (1928).
She was out of motion pictures until she resumed her career in "The Marrying Kind" (1952)and "Main Street To Broadway" (1953). In the late 1950s she combined t.v. work with roles in movies like "The Catered Affair" (1956), "Lust For Life" (1956), "Houseboat" (1958), "A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed" (1958), "Plunderers of Painted Flats" (1959), and
North by Northwest(1959). She has an uncredited part as a secretary in the Marilyn Monroefilm Let's Make Love(1960).
Her film career endured into the 1970s with roles in "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" (1969), "The Banker" (1970), "The Day of the Locust" (1975), and "Marathon Man" (1976).
Radio and television
As a guest of the "Red Davis Series" (1934) over the
NBC Radioand WJZ (WABC-AM) network, Kennedy worked with a young Broadway star named Burgess Meredith. Meredith read the part of "Red". She was written into the full script by sketch author Elaine Sterne Carrington.
Kennedy was prolific in terms of her television appearances beginning with an episode of the
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars(1954).Her additional performances in television series are "Studio 57" (1954), General Electric Theater(1954), " Science Fiction Theater" (1955), "The Best of the Post" (1961), " Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1956 – 1961), " The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (1962), " Leave It to Beaver" (1957 – 1963), "The Twilight Zone" (1963), and "CBS Playhouse" (1967).
Kennedy requested her release from a contract with Sam Goldwyn. She decided to return to the stage in 1921, so that she could be close to her husband, broker Harold Bolster, in New York. Bolster died on August 3, 1927 from an illness he contracted months before during a business trip to
South America. He was a member of the New York banking firm of Bennett, Bolster & Coghill. Bolster was 38 and a veteran of World War I. Kennedy inherited more than $500,000 when he died.
She wed William B. Hanley, Jr., in
Kingman, Arizona, on August 13, 1934. Hanley was an actor and radio personality. The couple resided in Los Angeles, California. Kennedy retired temporarily after her marriage before returning to work in entertainment.
She enjoyed outdoor activities such as playing golf, horseback riding, and driving cars. She owned a
Willys-KnightGreat Six which she drove avidly at the time she was touring in the stage play, "Lulu", in 1929. In August 1929 she was sued in a Norwich, Connecticutcourt for damages she caused in a car accident on the Boston Post Roadnear Groton, Connecticutin June 1928. Theplaintiffs asked for $13,000.
Madge Kennedy died in
Woodland Hills, Californiain 1987. She has a "Star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
* cite news| publisher=
New York Times|title=Written On The Screen
date=February 10, 1918 |page=51
* cite news| publisher=
New York Times|title=Written On The Screen
date=December 1, 1918 |page=76
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