Almira Sessions

Active - 1940 - 1971  |   Born - Sep 16, 1888   |   Died - Aug 3, 1974   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

With her scrawny body and puckered-persimmon face, Almira Sessions successfully pursued a six-decade acting career. Born into a socially prominent Washington family, Sessions almost immediately followed her "coming out" as a debutante with her first stage appearance, playing a sultan's wizened, ugly wife in The Sultan of Sulu. She briefly sang comic songs in cabarets before pursuing a New York stage career. In 1940, she traveled to Hollywood to play Cobina of Brenda and Cobina, an uproariously if cruelly caricatured brace of man-hungry spinsters who appeared regularly on Bob Hope's radio show (Elvia Allman was Brenda). Sessions' first film was the 1940 Judy Garland vehicle Little Nellie Kelly. Until her retirement in 1971, she played dozens of housekeepers, gossips, landladies, schoolmarms, maiden aunts, and retirement-home residents. Usually appearing in bits and minor roles, Almira Sessions was always given a few moments to shine onscreen, notably as an outraged in-law in Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux (1947), the flustered high school teacher in the observatory scene in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and the hero's inquisitive neighbor in Willard (1971).

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