In 1914, while still in her mid teens, she made her London stage debut. She went to the U.S. in 1915 and soon became a leading Broadway star. In 1926 she founded the celebrated Civic Repertory Theater in New York, going on to direct and star in many of its productions; the Theater folded at the height of the Depression in 1932. She directed or appeared in many plays on Broadway and in stock, did several play translations and stage adaptation, and wrote two volumes of memoirs, At 33 (1934) and With a Quiet Heart (1953) and a study of Eleanora Duse, The Mystic in the Theater (1966). In the '50s she began to appear occasionally in films, but her total number of screen appearances could be counted on one hand. For her work in Resurrection (1979) she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.