Laura Hope Crews

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Laura Hope Crews
Laura Hope Crews.jpg
Crews, c. 1902
Born(1879-12-12)December 12, 1879
DiedNovember 12, 1942(1942-11-12) (aged 62)
New York City, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1884–1942

Laura Hope Crews (December 12, 1879 – November 12, 1942) was a leading actress of the American stage in the first decades of the 20th century who is best remembered today for her later work as a character actress in motion pictures of the 1930s. Her best-known film role was Aunt Pittypat in Gone with the Wind.[1][better source needed]

Early life[edit]

Laura Hope Crews was the daughter of stage actress Angelena Lockwood and backstage carpenter John Thomas Crews. She had three older siblings. Crews started acting at age four. Her first stage appearance was at Woodward's Gardens.[2] She stopped acting to finish school and then returned to acting in 1898. As she was a native San Franciscan, the records pertaining to her early life were destroyed in the earthquake and fire of 1906.

Most of Crews' formal education came in San Jose, as the family had moved there following the remarriage of Crews' mother.[2]

Career[edit]

In 1898, Crews performed in San Francisco as an ingenue with the Alcazar Stock Company. Two years later, she and her mother moved to New York City, where Crews began to act with the Henry V. Donnelly Stock Company.[2]

Crews appeared in plays written by A.A. Milne, who was particularly impressed by her work[citation needed] in his Mr. Pim Passes By (1921).[3] The play was a big success and ran for 232 performances on Broadway.

Crews also starred as Judith Bliss in the original Broadway production of Noël Coward's Hay Fever (1925), which she co-directed[3] with Coward. She also appeared in The Silver Cord,[3] written by Sidney Howard, which was produced by the New York Theater Guild in 1926 and ran for 212 performances. When The Silver Cord was not being presented, there were matinee performances of Right You Are If You Think You Are by Luigi Pirandello.

The Silver Cord was later made into a 1933 RKO movie with Crews reprising her onstage role of the mother. The film co-starred Joel McCrea, Frances Dee, and Irene Dunne. In the late 1920s, Crews had been hired by Gloria Swanson to help with her transition to talking pictures.

George Cukor, who had directed her in Camille (1936), recommended her for the role of Aunt Pittypat in Gone With the Wind (1939) after Billie Burke declined it. Cukor wanted Crews to play the role "in a Billie Burke-ish manner" with "the same zany feeling".[4]

Her final stage appearance came in 1942, in the original Broadway run of Arsenic and Old Lace in which she replaced one of the original cast members. She stayed with the production for more than a year and a half on Broadway and in a touring company before she was forced to leave because of illness.

Death[edit]

Crews died in the LeRoy Sanitarium in New York City in 1942, following an illness of four months.[5] She was laid to rest at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.

Crews has a star at 6251 Hollywood Boulevard on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[6]

Filmography[edit]

Blackbirds, a 1915 silent film produced by Jesse Lasky.
Silent
Year Title Role Notes
1915 The Fighting Hope Anna Granger Famous Players-Lasky / Paramount, Extant; incomplete, BFI London
1915 Blackbirds Leonie Sobatsky Famous Players-Lasky / Paramount, Extant; Library of Congress
Sound
Year Title Role Notes
1929 Charming Sinners Mrs. Carr
1932 New Morals for Old Mrs. Thomas
1933 Out All Night Mrs. Jane Colgate
1933 The Silver Cord Mrs. Phelps
1933 I Loved You Wednesday Doc Mary Hanson
1933 Blind Adventure Lady Rockingham
1933 Rafter Romance Elise
1933 Ever in My Heart Grandma Caroline Archer
1933 If I Were Free Dame Evers
1934 The Age of Innocence Mrs. Welland
1934 Lightning Strikes Twice Aunt Jane Madison
1934 Behold My Wife Mrs. Hubert Carter
1935 Escapade Countess
1935 The Melody Lingers On Mother Superior
1936 Her Master's Voice Aunt Minnie Stickney
1936 Camille Prudence Duvernoy
1937 The Road Back Ernst's Aunt
1937 Confession Stella
1937 Angel Grand Duchess Anna Dmitrievna
1938 Dr. Rhythm Mrs. Minerva Twombling
1938 The Sisters Flora's Mother
1938 Thanks for the Memory Mrs. Kent
1939 Idiot's Delight Madame Zuleika
1939 The Star Maker Carlotta Salvini
1939 The Rains Came Lily Hoggett-Egburry
1939 Reno Mrs. Gardner
1939 Remember? Lettie Carruthers
1939 Gone with the Wind Aunt Pittypat Hamilton
1939 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Minor Role (uncredited)
1940 The Blue Bird Mrs. Luxury
1940 Girl from Avenue A Mrs. Forrester
1940 I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now Mrs. Lowell
1940 Lady with Red Hair Mrs. Dudley
1941 The Flame of New Orleans Auntie
1941 One Foot in Heaven Mrs. Preston Thurston
1941 New York Town Apple Annie (uncredited) final film role

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Oh What a Character! Part Seven: Crews Control". Poseidon's Underworld. July 18, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c James, Edward T.; James, Janet Wilson; Boyer, Paul S. (1971). Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Harvard University Press. pp. 405-406. ISBN 978-0-674-62734-5. Retrieved February 23, 2020. Angelena Lockwood.
  3. ^ a b c "Laura Hope Crews". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on February 23, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  4. ^ Wilson, Steve (September 1, 2014). The Making of Gone With the Wind. University of Texas Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-292-76126-1. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  5. ^ "Laura H. Crews of Stage Dies". Oakland Tribune. November 13, 1942. p. D9.
  6. ^ "Laura Hope Crews". Walkoffame.com. Retrieved August 3, 2017.

External links[edit]