Florence Roberts circa 1938
March 16, 1861|
Frederick, Maryland, United States
|Died||June 6, 1940
Hollywood, California, USA
|Spouse(s)||Walter Gale (? - ?) 1 son|
Florence Roberts (March 16, 1861 – June 6, 1940) was an American actress of the stage and in motion pictures.
Stock company actress
Born in Frederick, Maryland, she began acting on the stage in New York, New York, at the age of 19. Her career began at the Brooklyn, New York Opera House in Hoop of Gold. She secured her first stage role with the Denman Thompson Company and played leads with the N.B. Curtis Company. This experience led to appearances on Broadway. She once starred in Zala, a production of David Belasco. She headed a stock company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a period of fifteen years. The actress made three world tours in stock. There was a South African repertoire and a tour of Australia with the Henry Duffy players. She also played in stock companies in Boston and other cities.
Roberts' success in motion pictures began with a Mack Sennett comedy. The film producer saw her on the stage in Your Uncle Dudley and cast her in Grandma's Girl (1930). Her earliest roles were in A Wife's Suspicion and A Wise Dummy, both in 1917. Among her film performances, the Jones Family series is the most renowned. She played the role of Grandma. Some of her other films are:
- Kept Husbands (1931)
- Make Me a Star (1932)
- The Meanest Gal in Town (1934)
- Babes in Toyland (1934)
- Cleopatra (1934)
- Miss Fane's Baby Is Stolen (1934)
- Les Misérables (1935)
- Every Saturday Night (1936)
- Big Business (1937)
- Borrowing Trouble (1937)
- Nobody's Baby (1937)
- The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
- Love on a Budget (1938)
- The Storm (1938)
- Quick Millions (1939)
- Abe Lincoln in Illinois (film) (1940)
Florence was married to actor Walter Gale whom she met while playing in The Old Homestead. They had a son, Robert Gale, who lived in Philadelphia.
Florence Roberts died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 79 at her home in Hollywood, California. She was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, with funeral services performed at Wee Kirk of the Heather. Her eulogy was read by her adopted son, Edward Everett Horton, with whom she appeared in stock. The actress' death came unexpectedly. She had only recently returned from a vacation trip to Panama. She went there following completion of the Jones Family series of 20th Century Fox for the 1939–1940 season.
She is not to be confused with the more famous stage actress Florence Roberts (1871–1927).
- The Los Angeles Times, Famed Film Actress Dies, June 7, 1940, Page A1.
- The New York Times, Florence Roberts, Screen Actress, 79, June 7, 1940, Page 28.