Zeffie Tilbury

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Zeffie Tilbury
Zeffie Tilbury.jpg
Zeffie Tilbury
Born Zeffie Agnes Lydia Tilbury
(1863-11-20)November 20, 1863
Paddington, Middlesex, England
Died July 24, 1950(1950-07-24) (aged 86)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1917–1942
Spouse(s) L. E. Woodthorpe (?–1915) (his death)
Arthur Frederick Lewis (1887–?)

Zeffie Agnes Lydia Tilbury (November 20, 1863 – July 24, 1950) was an English actress.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

Zeffie Tilbury was the only child of the variety performer Lydia Thompson and John Christian Tilbury, a riding-master, who died in a steeplechasing accident in 1864, when he was rolled on by his horse.[3]

Tilbury was married twice. First to Arthur Frederick Lewis in June, 1887, and later to L. E. Woodthorpe, who died on April 8, 1915. She died in Los Angeles, California in 1950 at the age of 86.[4]


Born in Paddington, Middlesex, England, Tilbury was known first on the London stage and on Broadway in New York City.[5] She is today best known for playing wise or evil older characters in films, such as the distinguished lady gambler at dinner with Garbo in The Single Standard, as the pitiful Grandma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath and Grandma Lester in Tobacco Road.

She appeared in over 70 films.[4] Her earliest surviving silent film is the Valentino/Nazimova 1921 production of Camille. Tilbury is probably best remembered as the old lady who is befriended by Spanky and his friends on her birthday and, as a result, is transformed from a lonely, disagreeable recluse to a happy and loving carefree soul in the 1936 Hal Roach Our Gang comedy Second Childhood. In the same year she also portrayed the Gypsy Queen in the Laurel and Hardy film The Bohemian Girl.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Zeffie Tilbury profile at Probert Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Zeffie Tilbury profile at Cinemorgue
  3. ^ Gänzl, Kurt. Lydia Thompson in Encyclopaedia of the Musical Theatre, Blackwell/Schirmer (1994)
  4. ^ a b Zeffie Tilbury, The Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ "Classical Plays: Souvenirs and Portraits", Rob Wilton Theatricalia

External links[edit]