Lucile Gleason

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Lucile Gleason
Lucile Webster in the Broadway production
of George S. Kaufman's
The Butter and Egg Man (1925)
Born Lucile Webster
February 6, 1888
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Died May 18, 1947 (1947-05-19) (aged 59)
Brentwood, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) James Gleason

Lucile Webster Gleason (February 6, 1888 – May 18, 1947) was an American stage and screen actress. Gleason was also a civic worker who was active in film colony projects.

Early life[edit]

On February 6, 1888, Gleason was born as Lucile Webster. Gleason was a native of Pasadena, California.


Gleason went on stage as a teen working with her father's stock company. The Gleasons realized stage success in New York City in a production of The Shannons of Broadway. The play was later made into the film Goodbye Broadway.


Gleason's motion picture career started with several movies in 1929 and continued until 1945. The Gleasons continued to perform together in Hollywood. In 1930 they co-starred in Shannons of Broadway.[1] In 1945, they made The Clock, with Lucile playing the role of Mrs. Al Henry, the wife of her husband's character.

Higgins Family films[edit]

The Gleasons as the Higgins Family in the 1939 film, The Covered Trailer

Their son, Russell, was paired with his parents in the farcical family comedy, The Higgins Family, in 1938. The story centers around Lucile's performance in two radio programs which threaten to derail her husband's advertising business.[citation needed] The trio was also featured in Grandpa Goes to Town, another Higgins saga, in 1940.[2]


She was a vice-president of the Screen Actors Guild[3] and was a member of the Hollywood U.S.O. and the Veterans' Service Council. In 1947 she was named Mother of 1947 in a Mother's Day observance conducted by the U.S.O. In the 1930s Gleason served on the advisory board of the Federal Theater Project. On several occasions she was an unsuccessful candidate for political office. In 1944 Gleason ran for the Assembly from the 59th District in California. In 1946 she was defeated by then incumbent Secretary of State Frank Jordan.

Personal life[edit]

Gleason became the wife of actor James Gleason in 1905, when the couple married in Oakland, California. She took his surname as her professional and legal surname.

Her only child was actor Russell Gleason (1908-1945), whose most prominent role came in the Academy Award-winning version of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), in which he played the role of Private Mueller.

On December 26, 1945, Russell Gleason was in New York City when he fell to his death out of a fourth story window in the Hotel Sutton. He had been awaiting deployment to Europe with his regiment in the hotel, which the army had commandeered to house the troops. Reports varied, some saying the fall was accidental, while others stating it was a suicide.[4][citation needed]


Gleason died in her sleep, apparently of heart disease in 1947,[5] aged 59, at her home in Brentwood, California.

Selected filmography[edit]


  • Fresno Bee, "Actress Lucile Gleason Dies In Hollywood", May 19, 1947, p. 3
  • Los Angeles Times, "Lucile Gleason, Film Actress, Dies in Sleep", May 19, 1947, p. A1
  • Oakland Tribune, "Gleasons Score At Grand Lake", October 28, 1938, p. 37


  1. ^ "(movie theater advertisements)". Indiana, Indianapolis. The Indianapolis News. February 3, 1930. p. 3. Retrieved January 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ Walker, Paul (April 26, 1940). "'Grandpa' at the Rio: 'Black Friday,' Senate". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. p. 17. Retrieved January 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ "Film Actors' Guild Headed by Arnold". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. September 16, 1940. p. 9. Retrieved January 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ "Russell Gleason". Find a Grave. Archived from the original on January 11, 2002. Retrieved October 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Lucile Gleason Dies". Texas, Waco. The Waco News-Tribune. May 19, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved January 18, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read

External links[edit]