Charlotte Greenwood

Active - 1922 - 1956  |   Born - Jun 25, 1893   |   Died - Jan 18, 1978   |   Genres - Comedy, Musical, Romance, Drama

Share on

Biography by Hal Erickson

Tall, long-legged comic actress Charlotte Greenwood received her first speaking part in a 1907 musical comedy starring the Rogers Brothers, a dialect team. She formed a vaudeville act called "Two Girls and a Piano," then performed solo specialty spots in such revues as The Passing Show, bringing houses down with her wisecracks and high kicks. Her stardom was secured in 1915 with a stage musical uniquely suited for her talents, So Long, Letty--the first of several productions in which Greenwood was cast as the energetic, man-chasing Letty. Also in 1915, she made her film debut in Jane. A Broadway headliner throughout the 1920s, Greenwood made her talkie bow in the 1930 film version of So Long Letty; she went on to co-star with Eddie Cantor in Palmy Days (1931), Bert Lahr in Flying High (1931) and Buster Keaton in Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931). By 1940, Greenwood had settled into character roles, usually playing the all-knowing aunt or guardian of the heroine. She brightened many a 20th Century-Fox musical of the 1940s, including Moon Over Miami (1941), Springtime in the Rockies (1942) and The Gang's All Here (1943). Rodgers and Hammerstein conceived the role of "Aunt Eller" in their 1943 Broadway hit Oklahoma with Greenwood in mind, but her film commitments made it impossible for her to appear in the original stage version of that musical. She finally got to play Aunt Eller in the 1955 film version of Oklahoma--one of her last screen appearances before her 1956 retirement. Married twice, Charlotte Greenwood's first husband was actor Cyril Ring, the brother of musical comedy star Blanche Ring and brother-in-law of actors Thomas Meighan and Charles Winninger.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography