Marie Dressler

Active - 1914 - 1994  |   Born - Nov 9, 1869   |   Died - Jul 28, 1934   |   Genres - Comedy, Romance, Drama, Musical

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Biography by Rovi

Actress Marie Dressler (born Leila Marie Koerber) was a leading American comedienne during the silent era. At age 14 she joined a stock company, going on to become a seasoned veteran in light opera and on the legitimate stage. In 1892 she debuted on Broadway; by the turn of the century she was a vaudeville headliner. Dressler debuted onscreen opposite Charlie Chaplin in the silent feature Tillie's Punctured Romance (1914), based on one of her stage vehicles; she appeared in two more "Tillie" films plus a couple of other comedies, then after 1918 went almost a decade without appearing onscreen; she remained mainly a vaudeville and musical comedy star. She re-entered films in 1927 with the help of MGM screenwriter Frances Marion; her stage career had undergone a severe set-back in the mid-'20s, largely due to her involvement in a labor dispute. Soon Dressler was a popular star, her appeal increased by comedies in which she co-starred with Polly Moran. She became even more popular in the sound era; her range of roles increased after her unexpected casting in a serious character part, as the waterfront hag/barfly Marthy in Anna Christie (1930). For her tragicomic performance opposite Wallace Beery in Min and Bill (1930) she won the "Best Actress" Oscar, then was nominated again for the same award for her work in Emma (1932). For four years in the early '30s Dressler was the nation's top box office attraction. She authored an autobiography, The Life Story of an Ugly Duckling.

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