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Hermione Gingold Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (7) | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 9 December 1897Maida Vale, London, England, UK
Date of Death 24 May 1987New York City, New York, USA  (cardiac problems & pneumonia)
Birth NameHermione Ferdinanda Gingold

Mini Bio (1)

One of stage, screen, radio and TV's most delightful, inimitable eccentrics, Hermione Ferdinanda Gingold was born the daughter of an upscale Austrian financier and English homemaker. She made her stage debut in 1908, thus beginning a long, commanding presence in London playing everything from Jessica in "The Merchant of Venice" to Cassandra in "Troilus and Cressida." Her flair for quirky comedy was discovered in the 30s when she appeared to scene-stealing effect in a host of musical revues. She continued to perform in this venue for many years, sharpening her bawdy, razor-like wit for even better things to come. She entertained throughout WWII and then tested the extent of her popularity by going to the US where she became a celebrated hit, not only with her revues but in such legit Broadway plays as "Oh Dad, Poor Dad...Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad" (1963) and "A Little Night Music" (1973). Never one to be overlooked for long, she was invited to Hollywood and made a decent niche for herself in comedies and musical films. She usually was asked to play her charming and haughty self, most notably as the aging courtesan in Gigi (1958), which won her a Golden Globe award, The Music Man (1962) and as the reminiscing grandmother in a rather pallid film version of her stage hit A Little Night Music (1977). Gingold was a gifted raconteur and became a very popular TV talk-show guest, particularly on Jack Paar's show. She was finishing up the last touches on her autobiography when she passed away of pneumonia and other heart problems in 1987. "How to Grow Old Disgracefully" was published posthumously the next year. A one-of-a-kind entertainer if there ever was one.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Eric Maschwitz (1926 - 1940) (divorced)
Michael Joseph (1918 - 1926) (divorced) (2 sons)

Trade Mark (2)

Sharp nose and chin
Deepening voice

Trivia (7)

Perhaps best remembered as the retired courtesan in "Gigi" in which she dueted "I Remember it Well" with Maurice Chevalier. She won theatre's Donaldson Award for "John Murray Anderson's Almanac" in 1954.
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Great Mausoleum.
Originally a dramatic actress with a coloratura soprano singing voice, her throaty purr developed and deepened as a result of vocal nodules, which her mother insisted she not remove.
Children from first marriage: sons Leslie and Stephen.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1973 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Musical) for "A Little Night Music," a role she recreated in the film version of the same name, _Little Night Music, A (1977)_.
In her appearance on Merv Griffins late night show circa 1971, she came on after Zsa Zsa Gabor and Charro. These two had been cat-fighting for most of the show. Hermione strode out carrying her toy terrier and said in stentorian tones, "You don't mind if I bring out another b---h, do you?".
One of the many celebrities who feuded with controversial gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen. In fact, one night Gingold appeared on The Jack Paar Tonight Show (1957) to be interviewed by Paar, who also was feuding with Kilgallen. When she walked out on stage she was carrying a picture of Kilgallen with a toilet seat as a frame.

Personal Quotes (6)

(humorously comparing - in a stage revue - Sir Donald Wolfit's old-fashioned and somewhat stereotypical performance as Richard III with Laurence Olivier's): "Olivier is a tour-de-force, and Wolfit is forced to tour".
Really, sex and laughter do go very well together, and I wondered - and I still do - which is more important.
Fighting is essentially a masculine idea; a woman's weapon is her tongue.
"The nearest my mother ever got to telling me the facts of life was the day she called me to her room and said she had something important to tell me. After a good deal of embarassed coughing she spluttered, 'Don't ever sit down on a strange lavatory seat'".
[on auditioning for "A Little Night Music"] "I'd played for royalty, but Steve Sondheim and Hal Prince were too much for me. The only one who frightened me more was Noël Coward."
I had all the schooling any actress needs. I learned enough to sign contracts.

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