Jessie Royce Landis
Jessie Royce Landis
November 25, 1896
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||February 2, 1972 (aged 75)|
Danbury, Connecticut, U.S.
|Resting place||Branchville Cemetery, Ridgefield, Connecticut|
Lester Perry Landis
(m. 1915; div. 1935)
(m. 1937; div. 1944)
Jessie Royce Landis (born Jessie Medbury, November 25, 1896 – February 2, 1972) was an American actress. Her name is also seen as Jesse Royce-Landis. She remains perhaps best-known for her mother roles in the Hitchcock films To Catch a Thief (1955) and North by Northwest (1959).
Jessie Royce Landis was born Jessie Medbury in Chicago, Illinois, to Paul, an orchestra musician, and Ella Medbury. As per Ancestry.com, "Royce" does not appear to have been her middle name by birth; her middle initial is cited as either "J." or "T". Her acting surname "Landis" derives from her first husband, although she was married twice more.
A scholarship that Landis received when she was 14 enabled her to attend the Hinshaw Dramatic School, which led to her acting two years later with the Evanston Stock Company.
Landis was a stage actress for much of her career.
When her first husband's family encountered financial problems, she joined the North Shore Players as leading lady and director. In 1924, she left those dual roles to go on tour with The Highwayman.
Her Broadway career began with The Honor of the Family (1926) and ended with Roar Like a Dove (1964). In her early years on Broadway, she continued to act in touring productions. In the early 1950s, Landis spent three seasons acting on stage in London. Landis was recognized for the "best performance of the year" for her acting in Larger Than Life in London in 1950.
In the era of old-time radio, Landis had the roles of Irene Emerson on Helpmate and the housekeeper on The House on Q Street. She also was part of "a stellar cast of Broadway actors and actresses" in the cast of We Are Always Young on WOR in New York in 1941.
In the 1950s, she began appearing in movies as a character actress, such as her roles in To Catch a Thief (1955), and North by Northwest (1959), both starring Cary Grant and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. In North by Northwest she played Grant's character's mother, and in To Catch a Thief and The Swan (1956), she played the mother of characters played by Grace Kelly. Landis's appearance in North by Northwest earned her publicity for portraying Cary Grant's mother despite claiming to be nearly a year younger. Landis listed 1904 as the year of her birth. However, she had actually shaved eight years off her age. She appears in the 1900 U.S. Census as a 3-year-old born in November 1896; not old enough to be his (biological) mother.
Landis' autobiography You Won't Be So Pretty (But You'll Know More) was published in 1954.
Landis was married three times. In June 1915, she secretly married Perry Lester Landis, "a scion of one of Evanston's prominent families". Their son, Medbury Perry Landis, was born with Down syndrome in 1916. When she returned to the stage, he was put in a special school over his father's objections. The couple never lived together again, although they were not divorced until 1925, and their only son died in 1928.
|1930||At Your Service||Short|
|1949||Mr. Belvedere Goes to College||Mrs. Chase|
|1949||It Happens Every Spring||Mrs. Greenleaf|
|1949||My Foolish Heart||Martha Winters|
|1950||Mother Didn't Tell Me||Mrs. Wright|
|1952||Meet Me Tonight||Olive Lloyd Ransome, segment "Ways and Means"|
|1953||Main Street to Broadway||Jessie Royce Landis - First Nighter||Uncredited|
|1955||To Catch a Thief||Jessie Stevens|
|1956||The Swan||Princess Beatrix|
|1956||The Girl He Left Behind||Mrs. Madeline Shaeffer|
|1957||My Man Godfrey||Angelica Bullock|
|1958||I Married a Woman||Mrs. Blake, Janice's Mother|
|1959||North by Northwest||Clara Thornhill|
|1959||A Private's Affair||Elizabeth T. Chapman|
|1961||Goodbye Again||Mrs. Van der Besh|
|1962||Bon Voyage!||Countessa "La Comtesse" DuFresne|
|1962||Boys' Night Out||Ethel Williams|
|1963||Critic's Choice||Charlotte Orr aka Charlie|
|1963||Gidget Goes to Rome||Albertina Blythe|
|1970||Airport||Mrs. Harriet DuBarry Mossman|
Partial television credits
|1952||Larger Than Life||Julia Lambert||TV movie|
|1956||Climax!||Olivia Chesney||"An Episode of Sparrows"|
|1960||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Claire Crane||"Mother, May I Go Out to Swim?"|
|1960||Thriller||Mrs. Killburn||"The Mark of the Hand"|
|1965||The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||Madame Olga Nemirovitch||"The Adriatic Express Affair"|
|1971||Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones||Grandmother Greher||TV movie|
|1971||Columbo||Mrs. Chadwick||"Lady in Waiting" (final appearance)|
|1944||Grand Central Station||NA|
|1953||Theatre Guild on the Air||Quiet Wedding|
- "Jessie Royce Landis". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- Nissen, Axel (2006). Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties. McFarland. p. 95. ISBN 0-7864-2746-9.
Ancestry.com Source Citation
Census Place: Chicago Ward 4, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 248; Page: 16A
Enumeration District: 0096; FHL microfilm: 1240248
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
- Nissen, Axel (2007). Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties. McFarland. pp. 95–99. ISBN 9780786427468. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- Liebman, Roy (2017). Broadway Actors in Films, 1894-2015. McFarland. p. 151. ISBN 9780786476855. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- "Jessie Royce Landis in 'Celia,' New Mystery at Bucks County". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. June 28, 1953. p. b 9. Retrieved April 8, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Jessie Royce Landis Is Dead; Stage and Screen Actress, 67". The New York Times. New York, New York City. February 3, 1972. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- "Bob Hope's Show Starts Tuesday Night". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Missouri, St. Louis. September 21, 1941. p. 65. Retrieved April 3, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
- Lesser, Jerry (March 8, 1941). "Radio Talent: New York" (PDF). Billboard. p. 7. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- The New York Times Biographical Service. Vol. 3. New York Times & Arno Press. 1972. p. 353.
- Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 4, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 248; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 96; FHL microfilm: 1240248.
- "Jessie Royce Landis". The Daily News. New York, New York City. February 3, 1972. p. 88. Retrieved April 8, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- "US Army Officers 1939–1945". Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- "Deaths" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 14, 1972. p. 54. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- "Broadway Stars Heard on "Grand Central Station"". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. October 21, 1944. p. 15. Retrieved December 27, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kirby, Walter (March 15, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved June 25, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.