Born Dorothy Fay Hammerton, she appeared as a dancer on the British stage by the age of nine, and later turned to acting; eventually she worked with California's Pasadena Playhouse. Not until her early 40s did she enter films, working in Hollywood and debuting onscreen in 1936; at first she was billed as "Gaby Fay," which she soon changed to "Fay Holden." For the next two-plus decades she played supporting roles in numerous films, frequently cast as a warm, devoted mother. She is perhaps best remebered as Mickey Rooney's wise and loving mother in the popular Andy Hardy series. She retired from the screen after 1958. She was married to actor David Clyde, the brother of actor Andy Clyde.