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Lucile Gleason

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lucile Gleason
Lucile Gleason in the 1929 film
The Shannons of Broadway
Lucile Webster

February 6, 1888
DiedMay 18, 1947 (1947-05-19) (aged 59)
Brentwood, California, U.S.
(m. 1905)
ChildrenRussell Gleason

Lucile Gleason (née Webster; February 6, 1888 – May 18, 1947) was an American stage and screen actress. Gleason was also a civic worker who was active in film colony projects.

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Early life

Lucile Webster was born on February 6, 1888, in Pasadena, California.



Lucile Gleason and James Gleason in the Broadway production of The Shannons of Broadway (1928)

Lucile Webster went on stage as a teen working with her father's stock company. After she married actor James Gleason, she realized stage success in New York City in a production of The Shannons of Broadway (1927), written by her husband. The play was adapted for a 1929 film of the same name, and was later made into the film Goodbye Broadway (1938).


Gleason's motion picture career started with several movies in 1929 and continued until 1945. The Gleasons continued to perform together in Hollywood. In 1929 they co-starred in The Shannons of Broadway.[1] In 1945, they made The Clock, with Lucile playing the role of Mrs. Al Henry, the wife of her husband's character.

Higgins Family films

The Gleasons as the Higgins Family in the 1939 film, The Covered Trailer

Their son, Russell, was paired with his parents in the farcical family comedy, The Higgins Family, in 1938. The story centers around Lucile's performance in two radio programs which threaten to derail her husband's advertising business.[citation needed] The trio was also featured in Grandpa Goes to Town, another Higgins saga, in 1940.[2]


She was a vice-president of the Screen Actors Guild[3] and was a member of the Hollywood U.S.O. and the Veterans' Service Council. In 1947 she was named Mother of 1947 in a Mother's Day observance conducted by the U.S.O. In the 1930s Gleason served on the advisory board of the Federal Theater Project. On several occasions she was an unsuccessful candidate for political office. In 1944 Gleason ran for the Assembly from the 59th District in California. In 1946 she was defeated by then incumbent Secretary of State Frank Jordan.

Personal life

Gleason became the wife of actor James Gleason in 1905, when the couple married in Oakland, California. She took his surname as her professional and legal surname.

Her only child was actor Russell Gleason (1908-1945), whose most prominent role came in the Academy Award-winning version of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), in which he played the role of Private Müller.

On December 26, 1945, Russell Gleason was in New York City when he fell to his death out of a fourth story window in the Hotel Sutton. He had been awaiting deployment to Europe with his regiment in the hotel, which the army had commandeered to house the troops. Reports varied, some saying the fall was accidental, while others stating it was a suicide.[citation needed]


Gleason died in her sleep, apparently of heart disease in 1947,[4] aged 59, at her home in Brentwood, California.


Year Title Role Notes
1929 The Shannons of Broadway Emma Shannon
1931 The Pagan Lady Nellie
Girls About Town Mrs. Benjamin Thomas
Nice Women Mrs. Girard
1932 Girl of the Rio Matron
1933 Don't Bet on Love Mrs. Gilbert
The Solitaire Man Mrs. Arthur Peabody
Love, Honor, and Oh Baby! Flo Bowen
1934 Beloved The Duchess
Woman Unafraid Augusta Winthrop
I Like It That Way Mrs. Anderson
A Successful Failure Mrs. Cushing
1936 Klondike Annie Big Tess
The Ex-Mrs. Bradford Mrs. Hutchins
Rhythm on the Range Penelope 'Penny' Ryland
Red Lights Ahead Molly 'Ma' Wallace
1937 Navy Blues Aunt Beulah
First Lady Mrs. Ives
1938 The Higgins Family Lillian Higgins
The Nurse from Brooklyn 'Ma' Hutchins
The Beloved Brat Miss Brewster
1939 My Wife's Relatives Lil Higgins
Should Husbands Work?
The Covered Trailer
Money to Burn
1940 Grandpa Goes to Town
Lucky Partners Ethel's Mother
Earl of Puddlestone Lil Higgins
1941 The Gay Falcon Vera Gardner
1942 She's in the Army Sgt. Hannah Walters
1943 Stage Door Canteen Herself
1944 Take It Big Sophie
1945 The Clock Mrs. Al Henry
Don't Fence Me In Mrs. Prentiss (final film role)


  1. ^ "(movie theater advertisements)". Indiana, Indianapolis. The Indianapolis News. February 3, 1930. p. 3. Retrieved January 17, 2016 – via open access
  2. ^ Walker, Paul (April 26, 1940). "'Grandpa' at the Rio: 'Black Friday,' Senate". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. p. 17. Retrieved January 17, 2016 – via open access
  3. ^ "Film Actors' Guild Headed by Arnold". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. September 16, 1940. p. 9. Retrieved January 17, 2016 – via open access
  4. ^ "Lucile Gleason Dies". Texas, Waco. The Waco News-Tribune. May 19, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved January 18, 2016 – via open access


  • Fresno Bee, "Actress Lucile Gleason Dies In Hollywood", May 19, 1947, p. 3
  • Los Angeles Times, "Lucile Gleason, Film Actress, Dies in Sleep", May 19, 1947, p. A1
  • Oakland Tribune, "Gleasons Score At Grand Lake", October 28, 1938, p. 37

External links

This page was last edited on 9 December 2023, at 19:43
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