Patricia Collinge

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Patricia Collinge
Patricia Collinge 1941.JPG
Patricia Collinge (1941)
Born Eileen Cecilia Collinge
(1892-09-20)September 20, 1892
Dublin, Ireland
Died April 10, 1974(1974-04-10) (aged 81)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1904–1967
Spouse(s) James Nichols Smith (1921–1974; her death)

Patricia Collinge (September 20, 1892 – April 10, 1974) was an Irish-American actress, dramatist and writer, best known for her role as the tragic alcoholic Birdie Hubbard in The Little Foxes.

Early life[edit]

Eileen Cecilia Collinge was born in Dublin to F. Channon Collinge and Emmie (née Russell) Collinge. She was educated there first by a visiting governess and then at a girls' school. She took dancing and piano lessons, which held no interest for her, and determined to be an actress.

She made her first stage appearance at age 12 at the Garrick Theatre in London on December 21, 1904 as a Chinese doll in a Little Black Sambo. Her first New York stage appearance was on December 7, 1908 in The Queen of the Moulin Rouge.[1]

Stage career[edit]

Gladys Cooper, Alexandra Carlisle and Patricia Collinge in the Drury Lane production of Everywoman (1912)
Douglas Fairbanks, William Henry Crane, Amelia Bingham and Patricia Collinge in the Broadway production of The New Henrietta (1913)

Collinge first appeared on the stage in 1904 in Little Black Sambo and Little White Barbara at at the Garrick Theatre in London. She went to the U.S. with her mother in 1907. She appeared as a flower girl in The Queens of the Moulin Rouge. Collinge began as one of the supporting players in The Thunderbolt, which starred Louis Calvert. The production was staged at the New Theatre (Century Theatre).

In 1911, Collinge played Youth in the Broadway production of Everywoman, with Laura Nelson Hall in the title role.[2] She reprised the role in the 1912 London production starring Alexandra Carlisle.[3] She acted with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Amelia Bingham and William Henry Crane in The New Henrietta, a play based on a comedy by Bronson Howard. It was produced at the Knickerbocker Theatre on Broadway in December 1913; Collinge played Agnes. In 1914 she again appeared with Fairbanks, this time in He Comes Up Smiling.[4]

Patricia Collinge in the Broadway production of Pollyanna (1916)

Collinge toured in A Regular Businessman, was the original Pollyanna Whittier in Pollyanna, and toured with Tillie in 1919. In 1932, she appeared in Autumn Crocus. Her acting was acclaimed by a New York Times critic, who said of her: "Miss Collinge plays with the soft, pliant sincerity that makes her one of the most endearing actresses."[citation needed]

She was in the Broadway cast of The Little Foxes with Tallulah Bankhead in 1939, playing the role of the tragic Birdie Hubbard. In 1941, she played the same part in the motion picture version, which starred Bette Davis. Other stage work includes roles in productions of The Heiress, Just Suppose, The Dark Angel, The Importance of Being Earnest, To See Ourselves, and Lady with A Lamp. Her final stage appearance came in December 1952 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in I've Got Sixpence.[5]

Film career[edit]

Collinge debuted in film in 1941 in The Little Foxes, reprising her stage role as Birdie Hubbard, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Other films include Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Tender Comrade (1943), and The Nun's Story (1959).[6]

According to the featurette included in the DVD of Shadow of a Doubt, Collinge actually rewrote the scene between Teresa Wright and MacDonald Carey in the garage. At the time, director Alfred Hitchcock and the actors were reportedly unhappy with the dialogue as written, and Collinge rewrote it. Hitchcock was reported to be delighted and used her rewrite. She also reportedly worked with Alma Reville (Hitchcock's wife) and Ben Hecht on the screenplay for Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944), starring her former co-star Tallulah Bankhead.[6]


Collinge appeared in four episodes of the popular anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In one episode, entitled "The Cheney Vase", based on the play Kind Lady, she memorably stole her scenes as an elderly and vulnerable wealthy woman kept hostage in her own home by ruthless crooks (Darren McGavin and Ruta Lee) attempting to steal her valuable possessions.[6]

She also appeared in such television dramas as Laramie (1961), The United States Steel Hour (1962), East Side/West Side (1963), two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962–64), and N.Y.P.D. (1967).[6]


She wrote the play Dame Nature (1938), which was an adaptation of a French drama by André Birabeau. Collinge penned The Small Mosaics of Mr. and Mrs. Engel, a story of travel in Italy, for which she received a gold medal from the Italian government.

With Margalo Gillmore, she co-authored The B.O.W.S., a play about the American Theatre Wing unit which performed The Barretts of Wimpole Street to soldiers in Italy and France during World War II. She wrote a series of short stories for the The New Yorker and contributed to the New York Times Book Review.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Collinge married James Nichols Smith, an investment counselor, on June 10, 1921. The marriage lasted many decades but produced no children. She died in 1974 in Manhattan, aged 81, following a heart attack.[6]



  • Collinge, Patricia (April 4, 1925). "Plots". The New Yorker. 1 (7): 22. 


  1. ^ GREAT STARS OF THE AMERICAN STAGE by Daniel Blum c. 1952 Profile #115
  2. ^ "Everywoman". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  3. ^ Wearing, J.P. (2013). The London Stage 1910–1919: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. Scarecrow Press. 
  4. ^ PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN THEATRE by Daniel Blum c. 1953 (1970 update), pg. 147.
  5. ^ Patricia Collinge at the Internet Broadway Database
  6. ^ a b c d e Patricia Collinge on IMDb


  • "All About The Winsome Actress Seen In Tillie". Iowa Citizen. December 29, 1919. p. 6. 
  • "Many New Plays Bid For Favor". New York Times. November 6, 1910. p. X1. 
  • "News and Comment of the Stage". New York Times. March 12, 1911. p. X2. 
  • "Crane at Knickerbocker December 22, 1913". New York Times. December 6, 1913. p. 11. 
  • "Patricia Collinge, 81, Actress In Many Leading Plays, Dies". New York Times. April 11, 1974. p. 38. 

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