Sara Allgood, circa 1912
|Born||Sara Ellen Allgood
October 31, 1879
|Died||September 13, 1950
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Gerald Henson (m. 1916–18)|
Allgood was born in Dublin, Ireland, one of eight children of George and Margaret (née Harold) Allgood. Her father was Protestant and her mother Catholic. Her sister was actress Maire O'Neill, from whom she was later estranged. A brother, Tom, became a Roman Catholic priest. After her father's death when she was a young girl, her mother returned to work as a furniture trader. Allgood began work as soon as she was able, apprenticed to a French polisher near her mother's work.
Allgood joined Inghinidhe na hÉireann ("Daughters of Ireland"), where she first began to study drama under the direction of Maud Gonne and William Fay. She began her acting career at the Abbey Theatre and was in the opening of the Irish National Theatre Society. Her first big role was in December 1904 at the opening of Lady Gregory's Spreading the News. By 1905 she was a full-time actress, touring England and North America.
In 1915 Allgood was cast as the lead in Peg o' My Heart which toured Australia and New Zealand in 1916. She married her leading man, Gerald Henson, in September 1916 in Melbourne. Her happiness was short lived. She gave birth to a daughter named Mary in January 1918, who died just a day later. Her husband died of the flu in the outbreak of 1918 in November of that same year. After her return to Ireland Allgood continued to perform at the Abbey Theatre. Her most memorable performance was in Seán O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock in 1923. She won acclaim in London when she played Bessie Burgess in O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars in 1926.
Film career and later life
Allgood was frequently featured in early Hitchcock films, such as Blackmail (1929), Juno and the Paycock (1930), and Sabotage (1936). She also had a significant role in Storm in a Teacup (1937).
After many successful theatre tours of America she settled in Hollywood in 1940 to pursue an acting career. Allgood was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role as Beth Morgan in the 1941 film How Green Was My Valley. She also had memorable roles in the 1941 retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, It Happened in Flatbush (1942), Jane Eyre (1943), The Lodger (1944), The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Spiral Staircase (1946), The Fabulous Dorseys (1947), and the original Cheaper by the Dozen (1950).
- Just Peggy (1919)
- Blackmail (1929)
- To What Red Hell (1929)
- Juno and the Paycock (1930)
- The World, the Flesh, the Devil (1932)
- The Fortunate Fool (1933) as Rose
- Lily of Killarney (1934)
- Irish Hearts (1934)
- Lazybones (1935)
- Peg of Old Drury (1935)
- The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935)
- Crime Unlimited (1935)
- Pot Luck (1936)
- It's Love Again (1936)
- Southern Roses (1936)
- Riders to the Sea (1936)
- Sabotage (1936)
- Kathleen Mavourneen (1937)
- Storm In A Teacup (1937)
- The Sky's the Limit (1938)
- The Londonderry Air (1938)
- On the Night of the Fire (1939)
- How Green Was My Valley (1941)
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
- Lydia (1941)
- That Hamilton Woman (1941)
- This Above All (1942)
- It Happened in Flatbush (1942)
- The Light of Heart (1942)
- Roxie Hart (1942)
- The War Against Mrs. Hadley (1942)
- Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (1942)
- City Without Men (1943)
- Jane Eyre (1943)
- The Lodger (1944)
- Between Two Worlds (1944)
- The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)
- Uncle Harry (1945)
- Kitty (1945)
- The Spiral Staircase (1946)
- Cluny Brown (1946)
- The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)
- Ivy (1947)
- Mother Wore Tights (1947)
- Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)
- My Wild Irish Rose (1947)
- Man from Texas (1948)
- The Girl from Manhattan (1948)
- One Touch of Venus (1948)
- The Accused (1949)
- Challenge to Lassie (1949)
- Sierra (1950)
- Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)
- Year of birth 1879 per gravestone, findagrave.com; accessed October 26, 2015.
- Boylan, Henry (1998). A dictionary of Irish biography (3. ed.). Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 0717125076.
- Certificate of Naturalization #6636140, Petition #126765 (with slightly reduced age), dated November 23, 1945.
- Ruane, Medb (1991). Ten Dublin Women. pp. 15–20.
- Who Was Who in the Theatre: 1912-1976 volume 1 A-C page 36; compiled from editions originally published annually by John Parker, this 1976 version by Gale Research Company
- E H Mikhail, ed. (1988). The Abbey Theater: interviews and recollections. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0-389-20616-4.
- Hunt, Hugh (1979). The Abbey, Ireland's National Theatre, 1904-1978. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231049061.
- Sara Allgood at the Internet Movie Database
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sara Allgood.|
- Sara Allgood at the Internet Movie Database
- Sara Allgood at the Internet Broadway Database
- NY Public Library, Billy Rose collection; accessed October 26, 2015.
- Portrait gallery (University of Washington, Sayre Collection); accessed October 26, 2015.
- Profile, findagrave.com; accessed October 26, 2015.