Lucile Gleason

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Lucile Gleason
Lucille Gleason1.jpg
Circa 1937
Born Lucile Webster
February 6, 1888
Died May 18, 1947 (1947-05-19) (aged 59)
Brentwood, California
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.

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.


The Gleasons realized stage success in New York City in a production of The Shannons of Broadway. The play was later made into a film entitled Goodbye Broadway.


Gleason's motion picture career started with a number of 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".

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.


Gleason died in her sleep, apparently of heart disease in 1947,[4] aged 59, at her home in Brentwood, California. She was predeceased by her only child, 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, the younger Gleason was in New York City awaiting deployment to Europe with his regiment, when he fell out of a fourth story window in the Hotel Sutton, which the army had commandeered to house the troops, resulting in his death. Reports varied, some saying the fall was accidental, while others stating it was a suicide.[5][citation needed]

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. ^ "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
  5. ^ "Russell Gleason". Find a Grave. Archived from the original on January 11, 2002. Retrieved October 22, 2014. 

External links[edit]