Educated by the Philadelphia and Boston school systems, Helen Broderick became a chorus dancer at age 14, despite protests from her parents. After service as a Ziegfeld beauty, Helen toured in vaudeville with her husband, comedian Lester Crawford. Developing a wry, withering comic style, she became a major Broadway performer in such musicals as The Band Wagon and As Thousands Cheer. Her movie career, which began in 1931 and ended in 1946, included memorable supporting stints in two Astaire-Rogers musicals (Top Hat and Swing Time) and the starring role of spinterish sleuth Hildegarde Withers in Murder on the Bridal Path (1936). Helen Broderick was the mother of Oscar-winning actor Broderick Crawford.