From the trailer for Waterloo Bridge (1940). Note her name is spelled incorrectly in the movie credit still.
May 27, 1879|
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
|Died||June 24, 1962
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Louis Evan Shipman (1926-1933) (his death)
Rockliffe Fellowes (?-?) (divorced)
Lucile Watson (May 27, 1879 – June 24, 1962) was a Canadian actress born in Quebec.
Watson began her career on the stage debuting on Broadway in the play Hearts Aflame in 1902. Her next play was The Girl With Green Eyes, the first of several Clyde Fitch stories. At the end of 1903, Watson appeared in Fitch's "Glad of It". This play featured several young performers including Watson who would move on to major Broadway or motion picture prominence; Robert Warwick, John Barrymore, Thomas Meighan and Grant Mitchell to say the least. For the rest of the decade she appeared in several more Fitch stories into the 1910s, as Fitch would die in 1909.
Watson's first film role was in the 1916 silent film The Girl with Green Eyes, a film version of the Clyde Fitch play she had performed in on Broadway in 1902. She did not appear in another movie until 1930, when she had an uncredited role in The Royal Family of Broadway. In 1939, she played a memorable role as Norma Shearer's wise mother in the multi-Academy-Award-winning cultural comedy/drama from the Clare Booth Luce play, The Women, which has become a classic. In it she played the wise mother of Norma Shearer whose husband abandons her for the affection of Joan Crawford.
Watson reached the height of her adult acting career in playwright Lillian Hellman's anti-fascist dramatic stage play Watch on the Rhine on Broadway in 1941, starring Paul Lukas. Two years later in Hollywood, she and Lukas reprised their roles in the film adaptation. In perhaps her best known film role, Lucile Watson's performance as 'Mrs. Fanny Farrelly' was also acknowledged with a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, but she lost to Greek-born actress Katina Paxinou for her performance as Pilar in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Watson's first name, Lucile, is often misspelled in her movie credits as Lucille. Watson in her youth had an ordinate beauty but with a stern expression on her face. Photos taken during her Broadway years show a look that movie audiences would become accustomed to. It is not known if she cultivated this look for films or if she wanted to ward off a lot of male attention to her subtle beauty. Sometime in the 1910s she was briefly married to silent film star Rockliffe Fellowes and they would produce no children. Her second husband was playwright Louis E. Shipman, whom she married in 1928 and was widowed in 1933. Watson died on June 25, 1962 after suffering a heart attack at age 83. She is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
- No More Ladies (1934) as Mrs. Fanny Townsend
- What Every Woman Knows (1934)
- The Bishop Misbehaves (1935)
- The Garden of Allah (1936)
- The Women (1939)
- Made for Each Other (1939)
- Waterloo Bridge (1940)
- The Great Lie (1941)
- Watch on the Rhine (1943)
- The Thin Man Goes Home (1944)
- The Razor's Edge (1946)
- Tomorrow Is Forever (1946)
- Never Say Goodbye (1946)
- Song of the South (1946)
- That Wonderful Urge (1948)
- Little Women (1949)
- Harriet Craig (1950)
- My Forbidden Past (1951)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lucile Watson.|
- Lucile Watson at the Internet Movie Database
- Lucile Watson at the Internet Broadway Database
- Lucile Watson portraits Broadway 1910s or 20s NYP Library
- Lucile Watson at Find a Grave
- Lucile Watson posing for Vanity Fair August 1921 portrait by Nickolas Muray