Beryl Mercer

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Beryl Mercer
Beryl Mercer.jpg
Born (1882-07-13)13 July 1882
Seville, Spain
Died 28 July 1939(1939-07-28) (aged 62)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1916–1939
Spouse(s) Maitland Paisley (1896–19??; divorced); 1 child
Holmes Herbert

Beryl Mercer (13 August 1882 – 28 July 1939) was a Spanish-born American-based actress of stage and screen.[1]


Beryl Mercer was born to British parents in Seville on 13 August 1882. Her father was Edward Sheppard Mercer, said to be Spanish despite his name, and her mother was the actress Beryl Montague.[2] She became a child actor, making her debut on 14 August 1886 at the Theatre Royal, Yarmouth, when she was four. She returned to the stage when she was ten. In London she appeared in The Darling of the Gods and the production by Oscar Asche of A Midsummer Night's Dream.[2] In 1906 she appeared as a Kaffir slave in the West End play The Shulamite.[3] She traveled with this play to the USA, where she received good reviews.[2]

Mercer was best known as a film actress for her motherly roles. She regularly appeared as a grandmother or cook or maid in some high profile films. She appeared in more than fifty films between 1916 and 1939 but her career was at a peak in the 1930s when she regularly starred in between five and ten films a year.[citation needed] In 1933 Mercer appeared in Cavalcade, as a cook, and the following year made appearances in Jane Eyre, The Little Minister, and The Richest Girl in the World. She was in two talkie versions of Three Live Ghosts, one in 1929 and the other in 1935. In 1939, she appeared in The Little Princess as Queen Victoria.

Marriages, Death[edit]

Mercer was married to one Maitland Paisley early in her life. Her only other marriage was much later in the late 1920s briefly to actor Holmes Herbert. She had one child, Joan Mercer, later Bitting, born on September 16, 1917.[4]

Mercer died in Santa Monica, California in 1939 aged either 56 or 62, following surgery for an undisclosed ailment.



  1. ^ Beryl Mercer bio @
  2. ^ a b c Nissen, Axel (2012-02-21). Mothers, Mammies and Old Maids: Twenty-Five Character Actresses of Golden Age Hollywood. McFarland. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-7864-9045-5. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  3. ^ Wearing, J. P. (2013-12-05). The London Stage 1900-1909: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. Scarecrow Press. p. 295. ISBN 978-0-8108-9294-1. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  4. ^ "Joan Mercer Bitting, 92; Founding Member of St. Matthew". Palisadian-Post. 10 September 2009. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 

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