Una O'Connor (actress)
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|Born||Agnes Teresa McGlade
October 23, 1880
|Died||February 4, 1959
New York City, New York, U.S.
Una O'Connor (October 23, 1880 – February 4, 1959) was an Irish actress who worked extensively in theatre before becoming a notable character actress in film. She often portrayed comical wives, housekeepers and servants.
Life and work
Born Agnes Teresa McGlade to a Catholic nationalist family in Belfast, Ireland, and educated at St. Dominic's School, Belfast she changed her name when she began her acting career with Dublin's Abbey Theatre.
For many years, she worked in Ireland and England as a stage actress, for example in The Starlight Express at the Kingsway Theatre in London (1915–1916). She appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Murder! (1930). Despite her lengthy apprenticeship she had not attracted much attention until she was chosen by Noël Coward to appear in Cavalcade (1933). Her success led her to Hollywood to reprise her role, and with its success, O'Connor decided to remain there.
A favourite of the director James Whale, among O'Connor's most successful and best remembered roles are her comic performances in Whale's The Invisible Man (1933) as the publican's wife and in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) as the Baron's housekeeper. She played "straight" roles too, such as the grieving mother of a captured IRA member in The Informer (1935). In 1945 O'Connor played housekeeper Mrs. Breen in The Bells of St. Mary's, starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman.
O'Connor also appeared in supporting roles in various theatre productions, and achieved an outstanding success in the role of "Janet McKenzie", the nearly deaf housemaid, in Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution at Henry Miller's Theatre on Broadway from 1954 until 1956. As one of the witnesses, in what was essentially a serious drama, O'Connor's character was intended to provide comic relief.
O'Connor was highly praised for her work, and also played the role in the Billy Wilder-directed film version of the same story in 1957. The film was a great success, and O'Connor once again received excellent reviews. It was her final film performance. By this time she was in her late seventies, and decided to retire.
She died, having never married or had children, in New York City from heart disease, aged 78.
- Murder! (1930)
- Timbuctoo (1933)
- Cavalcade (1933)
- The Invisible Man (1933)
- Stingaree (1934)
- The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)
- Father Brown, Detective (1935)
- David Copperfield (1935)
- Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
- The Imperfect Lady (1935)
- The Informer (1935)
- Rose-Marie (1936)
- Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936)
- Suzy (1936)
- Lloyd's of London (1936)
- The Plough and the Stars (1936)
- The Return of the Frog (1938)
- The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
- We Are Not Alone (1939)
- It All Came True (1940)
- Lillian Russell (1940)
- The Sea Hawk (1940)
- The Strawberry Blonde (1941)
- My Favourite Spy (1942)
- Random Harvest (1942)
- This Land Is Mine (1943)
- The Canterville Ghost (1944)
- My Pal, Wolf (1944)
- Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
- The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
- Cluny Brown (1946)
- Of Human Bondage (1946)
- Adventures of Don Juan (1948)
- Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
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