|Born||Henrietta Remsen Meserole Manney
March 28, 1875
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||December 12, 1942
Middlebush, New Jersey, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||John Westley (ca. 1900 – 1912; divorced)|
Helen Westley (March 28, 1875 – December 12, 1942) was an American character actress.
Born as Henrietta Remsen Meserole Manney, Helen Westley was a member of the original board of the Theatre Guild, and appeared in many of their productions, among them Peer Gynt, and some of their productions of plays by George Bernard Shaw— Caesar and Cleopatra, Pygmalion, Heartbreak House, Major Barbara, The Doctor's Dilemma and The Apple Cart. She appeared in the original Broadway productions of two plays which, after her death, would be turned into classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals; they were Green Grow The Lilacs, which would become Oklahoma!, and Liliom, which became Carousel. Westley played Aunt Eller in the former, and Mrs. Muskat (who became Mrs. Mullin in Carousel) in the latter. She also appeared in the original Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude.
Westley played roles, both comic and dramatic, in many films. They included Death Takes a Holiday, All This and Heaven Too, four films opposite child star Shirley Temple (including Dimples and Heidi), the 1934 surprise hit Anne of Green Gables, the 1935 film version of Roberta, and the 1936 film version of Show Boat, in which she replaced Edna May Oliver, when Ms. Oliver declined to repeat her stage role as Parthy Ann Hawks. She also appeared in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm in 1938 with Shirley Temple and Randolph Scott as Aunt Miranda. In 1936 she played in Banjo on My Knee with Barbara Stanwyck, Walter Brennan and Buddy Ebsen.
Westley married John Westley, an actor on Broadway, on October 31, 1900. The couple separated in 1912 . The marriage ended in divorce. The couple had one daughter, named Ethel.
- Helen Westley: North American Theatre Online, site available to most colleges and universities for free
- Moulin Rouge (1934)
- The House of Rothschild (1934)
- Looking for Trouble (1934)
- Death Takes a Holiday (1934)
- The Age of Innocence (1934)
- Anne of Green Gables (1934)
- Roberta (1935)
- Captain Hurricane (1935)
- Show Boat (1936)
- Dimples (1936)
- Stowaway (1936)
- Heidi (1937)
- Bedtime Story (1941)
- Helen Westley at the Internet Movie Database
- Helen Westley at the Internet Broadway Database
- Helen Westley portrait NYP Library
- portrait of Helen Westley(corbis)
- dress portrait(University of Washington, Sayre collection)