Madge Kennedy

Active - 1917 - 1976  |   Born - Apr 19, 1891   |   Died - Jun 9, 1987   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Comedy Drama, Romance

Share on

American actress Madge Kennedy was already an established Broadway star when she was brought to Hollywood by producer Sam Goldwyn in 1917. Seeking "respectability" (the theatre was considered more respectable than movies), Goldwyn used his formidable lineup of stage-trained leading ladies, including Madge Kennedy and Maxine Elliot, to advertise his entire years' manifest of films. Ms. Kennedy had done mostly comedy on stage, but in films alternated her humorous characterizations with deeply dramatic or tragic roles. She left Hollywood briefly in 1923 to star with W.C. Fields in the Broadway musical Poppy, and three years later retired from films permanently (or so she thought). Busy with several non-acting activities in the '30s and '40s, Madge was coaxed back before the cameras to play an understanding divorce judge in George Cukor's The Marrying Kind (1952). This inaugurated a second career in character parts, some billed (Lust for Life [1955]), some unbilled (North by Northwest [1959]). Kennedy also worked on television, notably in the recurring character of Aunt Martha on Leave It to Beaver. Madge dabbled in theatrical work in the '60s, supporting Ruth Gordon in the Broadway play A Very Rich Woman, and received positive critical attention for her small part as Mrs. Leyden in the 1969 film They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (contrary to popular belief, she was given screen credit for that part). Madge Kennedy's last film, twelve years before her death at 96, was Day of the Locust (1975), appropriately set in Hollywood's Golden Age.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography