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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nora Cecil
Nora Cecil in The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917).jpg
Born(1878-09-26)September 26, 1878
London, England, UK
DiedMay 1, 1951(1951-05-01) (aged 72)
Years active1915–1947

Nora Cecil (September 26, 1878 – May 1, 1951) was an English-American character actress whose 30-year career spanned both the silent and sound film eras.



Cecil's career began on the stage, when she debuted in London at age 19.[1] She appeared in a single Broadway production, The Sleeping Beauty and the Beast, which ran for more than 240 performances at the Broadway Theatre in 1901–1902.[2] (A 1930 newspaper article says that Cecil "made her debut, three decades ago, on the London stage.")[3]


Cecil appeared in well over 100 feature films and film shorts.[4]

In 1915, she moved from the stage into films, her first appearance being in a starring role in The Arrival of Perpetua, directed by Émile Chautard.[5] She often played "thin-lipped, stern-visaged dowagers and forbidding mothers-in-law"[citation needed] and "welfare workers, landladies, schoolmistresses and maiden aunts".[6]

Cecil in Street Scene  (1931)
Cecil in Street Scene (1931)
Cecil in Nothing Sacred  (1937)
Cecil in Nothing Sacred (1937)

One of the most significant roles was in the W.C. Fields vehicle, The Old Fashioned Way in 1934.[6] Some of the other notable films in which Cecil appeared include: Ernst Lubitsch's historical romance, The Merry Widow, starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald;[7] the 1939 version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, starring Mickey Rooney;[8] and the John Ford classic, Stagecoach, with John Wayne.[9]

Her final acting performance was in a featured role in Mourning Becomes Electra in 1947, starring Rosalind Russell.[10]

Personal life and death

She had a daughter, Dorothy, who was also an actress.[3] Cecil died on May 1, 1951 in Los Angeles, California, aged 72.[citation needed]


(Per AFI database)[4]


  1. ^ "Daughter in mother's steps". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. September 20, 1929. p. 23. Retrieved February 17, 2020 – via
  2. ^ "The Sleeping Beauty and the Beast". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on April 24, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Pianist Starts Music Dispute with Composer". Pennsylvania, Shamokin. Shamokin News-Dispatch. January 3, 1930. p. 3. Retrieved March 24, 2016 – via open access
  4. ^ a b "Nora Cecil profile". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Arrival of Perpetua: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Nora Cecil profile". AllMovie. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  7. ^ "The Merry Widow: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  8. ^ "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  9. ^ "Stagecoach: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  10. ^ "Mourning Becomes Electra: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 10 January 2022, at 14:48
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