Mildred Natwick

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Mildred Natwick
Mildred Natwick 1947.JPG
Natwick in 1947
Born(1905-06-19)June 19, 1905
DiedOctober 25, 1994(1994-10-25) (aged 89)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Resting placeLorraine Park Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
EducationBennett College
Years active1932–1988
RelativesGrim Natwick (first cousin)

Mildred Natwick (June 19, 1905 – October 25, 1994) was an American actress. She won a Primetime Emmy Award and was nominated for an Academy Award and two Tony Awards.[1]

Early life[edit]

Natwick was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of Mildred Marion (née Dawes) and Joseph Natwick.[2] Her grandfather, Ole Natwick, was one of the earliest Norwegian immigrants to the United States, arriving in Wisconsin in 1847.[3] Her first cousin was animator and cartoonist Grim Natwick.[4] Natwick attended the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore and later graduated from Bennett College.[1]


Natwick began performing on the stage at age 21 with "The Vagabonds", a non-professional theatre group in Baltimore. She soon joined the University Players on Cape Cod. Natwick made her Broadway debut in 1932 playing Mrs. Noble in Frank McGrath’s play Carry Nation, about the famous temperance crusader Carrie Nation. Throughout the 1930s she starred in a number of plays, frequently collaborating with friend and actor-director-playwright Joshua Logan.[5] On Broadway, she played "Prossy" in Katharine Cornell's production of Candida. She made her film debut in John Ford's The Long Voyage Home as a Cockney slattern, and portrayed the landlady in The Enchanted Cottage (1945).

Natwick is remembered for small but memorable roles in several John Ford film classics, including 3 Godfathers (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), and The Quiet Man (1952). She played Miss Ivy Gravely, in Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry (1955), and a sorceress in The Court Jester (1956).

Natwick in the film The Trouble with Harry (1955)

She continued to appear onstage, and made regular guest appearances in television series. On May 30, 1950, she starred in "Listen, Listen" on Suspense.[6]

She was twice nominated for Tony Awards: in 1957 for The Waltz of the Toreadors, the same year she also starred in Tammy and the Bachelor with Debbie Reynolds and Leslie Nielsen[citation needed] and in 1972 for the musical 70 Girls 70. She returned to film in Barefoot in the Park (1967) as the mother of the character played by Jane Fonda. The role earned Natwick her only Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting actress.[5] One of Natwick's memorable roles was in The House Without a Christmas Tree (1972), which starred Jason Robards and Lisa Lucas. The program's success spawned three sequels: The Thanksgiving Treasure, The Easter Promise, and Addie and The King of Hearts.

In 1971, Natwick co-starred with Helen Hayes in the ABC Movie of the Week, Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate, in which their characters worked together as amateur sleuths. The success of that telefilm resulted in a similar team-up the next year, portraying two mystery-writing and solving sisters; this spawned the 1973-74 series The Snoop Sisters, which was part of The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie. For her performance, Natwick won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.[2] In 1981, Natwick joined Hayes as the first members of the Board of Advisors to the Riverside Shakespeare Company.[7] Both attended and supported several fund raisers for that off-Broadway theatre company.[8]

She guest-starred on such television series as McMillan & Wife, Family, Alice, The Love Boat, Hawaii Five-O, The Bob Newhart Show and Murder, She Wrote. She made her final film appearance at age 83 in the historical drama Dangerous Liaisons (1988).[9]

Personal life and death[edit]

Natwick, who never married or had children, lived in a duplex on Park Avenue in Manhattan for the majority of her life. She was a devout Christian Scientist.[10] A Republican, she supported Dwight Eisenhower during the 1952 presidential election.[11]

On October 25, 1994, Natwick died of cancer at her home in Manhattan at age 89.[2][9] She is interred at Lorraine Park Cemetery in Baltimore.[9]

Broadway credits[edit]

Date Production Role Notes
October 29 – November 1932 Carry Nation Mrs. Noble
September 27 – October 1933 Amourette Drusilla Thorpe
October 24 – November 1933 Spring in Autumn Pura
February 1 – May 1934 The Wind and the Rain Mrs. McFie
September 25, 1934 – February 1935 The Distaff Side Mrs. Venables
November 7 – November 1935 Mrs. Venables May Beringer
February 17, 1936 – June 1936 End of Summer Mrs. Wyle
September 1 – November 1, 1936 Love from a Stranger Ethel
March 10 – May 8, 1937 Candida Miss Proserpine Garnett
September 29, 1937 – April 1938 The Star-Wagon Mrs. Rutledge
September 19 – October 1938 Missouri Legend The Widow Weeks
February 9 – May 27, 1939 Stars In Your Eyes Bess
December 27–30, 1939 Christmas Eve Mother McGlory
January 2–4, 1941 The Lady Who Came to Stay Milly
November 5, 1941 – June 5, 1943 Blithe Spirit Madame Arcati
April 27 – May 31, 1942 Candida Miss Proserpine Garnett Revival
September 6 – October 2, 1943 Blithe Spirit Madame Arcati
April 3 – May 2, 1946 Candida Miss Proserpine Garnett Revival
October 26, 1946 – January 4, 1947 The Playboy of the Western World Widow Quin
March 27 – April 26, 1952 The Grass Harp Dolly Talbo
January 17 – May 11, 1957 The Waltz of the Toreadors Mme. St. Pé Nominated: Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play
February 20–22, 1958 The Day the Money Stopped Kathie Morrow
April 30 – May 31, 1958 The Firstborn Miriam
March 2–19, 1960 The Good Soup Marie-Paule and Armand's Mother, Angele
December 14, 1960 – May 27, 1961 Critic's Choice Charlotte Orr
October 23, 1963 - June 25, 1967 Barefoot in the Park Mrs. Banks
November 27 – December 27, 1969 Our Town Mrs. Gibbs
April 15 – May 15, 1971 70, Girls, 70 Ida Dodd Nominated: Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical
March 29 – November 24, 1979 Bedroom Farce Delia Replacement


Year Title Role Notes
1940 The Long Voyage Home Freda
1945 The Enchanted Cottage Mrs. Abigail Minnett
Yolanda and the Thief Aunt Amarilla
1947 The Late George Apley Amelia Newcombe
1948 A Woman's Vengeance Nurse Caroline Braddock
The Kissing Bandit Isabella
3 Godfathers The Mother
1949 She Wore a Yellow Ribbon Abby Allshard
1950 Cheaper by the Dozen Mrs. Mebane
1952 The Quiet Man The Widow Sarah Tillane
Against All Flags Molvina MacGregor
1955 The Trouble with Harry Miss Ivy Gravely
The Court Jester Griselda
1956 Teenage Rebel Grace Hewitt
1957 Tammy and the Bachelor Aunt Renie
1967 Barefoot in the Park Ethel Banks Nominated -Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1969 If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Jenny Grant
The Maltese Bippy Jenny Grant
Trilogy Miss Miller Segment: "Miriam"
1974 Daisy Miller Mrs. Costello
1975 At Long Last Love Mabel Pritchard
1982 Kiss Me Goodbye Mrs. Reilly
1988 Dangerous Liaisons Madame de Rosemonde Final film role

Partial television credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1949 Starring Boris Karloff Episode: "Five Golden Guineas"
1950 Starlight Theatre 2 episodes
1950 Somerset Maugham TV Theatre Mrs. Albert Forrester Episode: "The Creative Impulse"
1953 Lux Video Theatre Mrs. Boyd Episode: "The Brooch"
1954 You Are There Mary, Queen of Scots Episode: "The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots"
1956 Ford Star Jubilee Madame Arcati Episode: "Blithe Spirit"
1956 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Aunt Rosalie Tallendier Episode: "The Perfect Murder"
1958 Millicent Bracegirdle Episode: "Miss Bracegirdle Does Her Duty"
1961 Naked City Irma Mahoney Episode: "Take and Put"
1962 Arsenic & Old Lace Martha Brewster TV Movie
1969 Bonanza Mrs. Wharton Episode: "Mrs. Wharton and the Lesser Breeds"
1971 Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate Shelby Saunders TV Movie
1972 The House Without a Christmas Tree Grandma Mills TV Movie
1973 Money to Burn Emily Finnegan TV Movie
1973–1974 The Snoop Sisters Gwendolyn Snoop Nicholson
1975 McMillan & Wife Beatrice McMillan 2 episodes
1978-1979 Hawaii Five-O Millicent Shand 2 episodes
1978 Little Women Aunt Kathryn March
1980 Alice Aunt Agatha Episode: "Vera's Aunt Agatha"
1982 Maid in America Mrs. Angstrom TV Movie
1983 Magnum P.I. Madge LaSalle Episode: "Limited Engagement"
1986 Murder She Wrote Carrie McKittrick Episode: "Murder in the Electric Cathedral "
1987 Deadly Deception Sarah Cleason TV Movie


  1. ^ a b "Natwick never lost her love for stage". The Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. October 28, 1994. p. D4. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Flint, Peter B. (October 26, 1994). "Mildred Natwick, 89, Actress Who Excelled at Eccentricity". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  3. ^ Jones, George O.; McVean, Norman S. (1923). History of Wood County, Wisconsin. Vol. 1. Brookhaven Press. p. 362.
  4. ^ Meuel, David (2014). Women in the Films of John Ford. McFarland. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-786-47789-0.
  5. ^ a b "Mildred Natwick".
  6. ^ "Television Highlights of the Week". The Boston Globe. May 28, 1590. p. 30-A. Retrieved May 5, 2021 – via
  7. ^ "Helen Hayes (1900-1993)". The Daily Bulletin. Frederick, Maryland: Maryland School for the Deaf. October 10, 2013. p. 1.
  8. ^ Nemy, Enid (December 4, 1981). "The Evening Hours". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Nissen 2007, p. 132.
  10. ^ Nissen 2007, p. 131.
  11. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal She lived in Moorefield, WV on Natwick Circle- (which was named after her family)Publishers
  • Nissen, Axel (2007). Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-42746-8.

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