Mary Philips

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mary Philips
Mary Philips photo.jpg
Born (1901-01-23)January 23, 1901
New London, Connecticut, U.S.
Died April 22, 1975(1975-04-22) (aged 74)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1918–1954
Humphrey Bogart
(m. 1928; div. 1938)

Kenneth MacKenna
(m. 1938; d. 1962)

Mary Philips (January 23, 1901 – April 22, 1975) was an American stage and film actress.

Drawing of Mary Philips from a 1922 newspaper.


Born in New London, Connecticut, she was the only child of Charles and Anna (née Hurley) Philips of New Haven, where she was educated at St. Mary's Academy, New Haven. In 1920 she made her stage debut as a chorus girl. She then went on to have a very successful stage career appearing in such shows as The Postman Always Rings Twice (1936) and Chicken Every Sunday (1944). She had a long working relationship with the New York theatre and as her own personal scrapbook shows, worked closely with such greats as George M. Cohan. In 1924 she appeared in the Broadway play Nerves with Humphrey Bogart and Kenneth MacKenna, both lifelong friends and future husbands.

Philips was married on April 3, 1928, to Humphrey Bogart at her mother's apartment at 24 Hopkins Street in Hartford, Connecticut by a Justice of the Peace. This was Philips' first marriage and Bogart's second. He was a little-known stage actor then, and Mary an established actress in the New York theatre. When Bogart got film roles in Hollywood, Mary declined to move with him to California, as her stage career was firmly established in New York at that time. After a marriage that lasted ten years, Philips and Bogart divorced in 1938. The couple had no children, but remained on good terms. Mary and her second husband attended Bogart's memorial in California following his death in 1957.[1]

Continuing on with her stage career in New York, Mary Philips then went on to marry her longtime friend, actor and director Kenneth MacKenna (August 19, 1899–January 15, 1962), an American actor and film director, born Leo Mielziner, Jr. in Canterbury, New Hampshire, brother of five-time Tony winner, Jo Mielziner. The couple were married in August 1938; it was the second and final marriage for both. They later made their home in California, where Kenneth worked for M-G-M. They remained married until MacKenna's death in 1962.[2]

Philips's career would later expand into films. One of her fondest memories was the role she played as Helen Ferguson in A Farewell to Arms (1932). She had featured roles in the late 1940s films Leave Her to Heaven, Dear Ruth and A Woman's Secret.

During the later days of MacKenna's life, both Mary's mother and Kenneth's mother lived with them in their home in Brentwood. Following the deaths of her husband and her mother, Mary moved to an apartment in Santa Monica. She was generous to her extended family, and both she and Kenneth made major contributions to charitable organizations, colleges and to the arts.[1]


Philips died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, on April 22, 1975, aged 74, after a long battle with lung cancer. She had been unaware of the growing cancer until she was in a minor car accident in Santa Monica that resulted in follow-up diagnostics and treatment. Her cousin Lucille Hackett of New Haven arranged for her own daughter, Deborah Hackett, to be with Mary in Santa Monica during her final months. Mary had long been a godmother to the children of the Hackett family, sending them to camp in the summer time and visiting them in New England and in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Her relationship with Lucille Hackett was one of long affection and care that spanned their lives. Lucille was heir to Mary Philips' estate (and after Mary's death to the estate of her husband, Kenneth MacKenna, as well). (Lucille and her children were a reliable source for much of the personal information contained in this biography). Mary Philips was buried with her husband, Kenneth MacKenna, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.[3]

Broadway credits[edit]

  • The Canary (1918)
  • Poor Little Ritz Girl (1920)
  • Lilies of the Field (1921)
  • Pins and Needles (1922)
  • The Old Soak (1922)
  • Nerves (1924)
  • Big Boy (1925)
  • One of the Family (1925)
  • Two Girls Wanted (1926)
  • Gay Paree (1926)
  • The Wisdom Tooth (1926)
  • The Five O'Clock Girl (1927)
  • Skyrocket (1929)
  • Gambling (1929)
  • The Tavern (1930)
  • The Song and Dance Man (1930)
  • Oh, Promise Me (1930)
  • The House Beautiful (1930)
  • The Laugh Parade (1931)
  • Black Sheep (1932)
  • Both Your Houses (1933)
  • All Good Americans (1933)
  • The Pure in Heart (1934)
  • Come What May (1934)
  • Merrily We Roll Along (1934)
  • Anything Goes (1934)
  • A Touch of Brimstone (1934)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (1936)
  • The Show is On (1936)
  • Spring Thaw (1938)
  • Chicken Every Sunday (1944)



  1. ^ a b Mary Philips, personal scrapbook: newspaper clippings, personal correspondences. (Courtesy of Hackett Family)
  2. ^ More information about Mary Philips and Kenneth MacKenna can be found at the Mielziner Family Papers, 1890–1935, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, New York City, and through MGM. Numerous photos of Mary Philips and articles can be viewed.
  3. ^ Mary Philips at Find a Grave

External links[edit]