Lucile Gleason

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circa 1937

Lucile Webster Gleason aka "Lucille Gleason" (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.

A native of Pasadena, California, Webster went on stage as a teen working with her father's stock company. Her motion picture career started with a number of movies in 1929 and continued until 1945. She 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. The couple realized stage success in New York City in a production of The Shannons of Broadway. The play was later made into a film entitled Goodbye Broadway. The Gleasons continued to perform together in Hollywood. In 1945 they made The Clock, with Lucile playing the role of "Mrs. Al Henry". 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]


She was a vice-president of the Screen Actors Guild 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.


Lucile Webster Gleason died in her sleep of heart disease in 1947, aged 59, at her home in Brentwood, California. She was predeceased by her only child, actor Russell Gleason (1908-1945), whose most prominent role came in the Academy Award-winning version of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930 film), in which he played the role of Muller. Russell Gleason died on Christmas night in 1945, after falling from the window ledge of a hotel in midtown Manhattan, just before his army regiment was due to leave for a posting in Europe, several months after the end of hostilities there and elsewhere. His death has been variously described both as suicidal and as accidental.[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]


  • 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


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