Mildred Natwick

Active - 1940 - 1988  |   Born - Jun 19, 1905 in Baltimore, Maryland  |   Died - Oct 25, 1994   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Fresh out of Bryn Mawr college, American actress Mildred Natwick started the road to stage success in amateur shows in her native Baltimore. By 1932 Natwick was on Broadway in Carrie Nation; establishing what would become her standard operating procedure, the actress played a character much older than herself. In 1940, Natwick was introduced to movie audiences as the cockney "lady of the evening" in John Ford's The Long Voyage Home (1940) -- the first of several assignments for Ford, which included Three Godfathers (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1948) and The Quiet Man (1952). Seldom starring in a film role, Natwick nonetheless made the most of what she was given, as in her one-scene part as an advocate of birth control who inadvertently pitches her program to the parents of 12 children in Cheaper By the Dozen (1950). And it was Natwick who, as skulking sorceress Grizelda in Danny Kaye's The Court Jester (1956), inaugurates the side-splitting "The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle" routine. A frequent visitor to TV, Natwick briefly settled down on the tube in the mystery series "The Snoop Sisters," which costarred Helen Hayes. In films until 1988, Natwick was honored with a long-overdue Oscar nomination for her work as Jane Fonda's martyr mama in 1967's Barefoot in the Park.

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