Mrs. Patrick Campbell

Active - 1930 - 1935  |   Born - Feb 9, 1865   |   Died - Apr 9, 1940   |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

Remembered today, if at all, as the villainous pawnbroker in Crime and Punishment (1935), Mrs. Patrick Campbell, or plain Mrs. Pat, breezed into Hollywood in the early '30s delivering a series of verbal bon mots such as describing a well-known star with a well-placed "She has such pretty little eyes -- and they're so close together!" Born Stella Tanner, "Mrs. Pat" took her stage name after her first husband, a captain who perished in the Boer War. By 1914, she had become the sister-in-law of the Countess of Westminster and the Princess of Pless and was at home both in their circles and at London's West End, where she had become a star as The Second Mrs. Tanqueray back in 1893. She was known foremost for her temperament and for a lifelong friendship with George Benard Shaw, who wrote Pygmalion for her. Mrs. Pat's Eliza became one of the era's great tour de forces and she took Broadway by storm in 1914. But by the time she arrived in Hollywood to play dowagers in Rip Tide (1934) and One More River (1934), Mrs. Patrick Campbell was well past her prime, with such stellar vehicles as Magda and The Foolish Virgin remembered solely by a few elderly theatergoers. She played Electra on Broadway in January of 1932, a revival of her 1908 success, but it was a last hurrah. All but forgotten, the former diva died at Pau, France, allegedly because the British authorities refused entry of her pet poodle, Moonbeam.

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