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May Robson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (10)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Moama, New South Wales, Australia
Died in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (undisclosed causes)
Birth NameMary Jeannette Robison
Nickname The Grand Old Lady of the American Stage
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Born Mary Jeanette Robison. She was the youngest daughter of Henry Robison of Penrith, Cumberland, England and Julia Schelesinger of Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Her father died in 1860 and her mother remarried. In 1866/67 they were living in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and moved back to London, England in 1871. She ran away from home to marry Charles Leveson Gore in 1875 and in 1877 the young couple went to Fort Worth, Texas, USA to establish a cattle ranch. They survived for two years before moving to New York where her husband died about 1881.

In 1884 she took up acting to support her three children (only her son Edward Gore survived childhood). She played both leads and supporting roles on the road and on Broadway, and over several decades she became highly respected as a character actress. She appeared in a few silent films, then returned to the screen for good in 1926 and flourished in the subsequent sound era. She was usually cast as crusty, gruff, domineering society matron or grandmother. For her portrayal of Damon Runyon's Apple Annie in Frank Capra's Lady for a Day (1933), one of her rare starring roles, she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Ultimately she appeared in more than 60 films, the last of which was released the year of her death.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tomm Wells

May Robson was born Mary Jeanette Robison on April 19, 1858 in New South Wales, Australia. Her father died when she was a child. May's mother remarried and the family moved to London, England. When she was seventeen May eloped with Charles Leveson Gore. Their first child, Edward, was born in 1876. The following year May and her family moved to Ft. Worth, Texas and worked on a cattle ranch. May would have two more children but sadly they both died when they were toddlers from scarlet fever. When life in Texas became too rough they moved to New York City. May designed cards and taught painting to support her family. Tragically her husband Charles died in 1883. That same year May began acting in the theatre. She quickly became a successful comedian and starred in many hit shows. May married Dr. Augustus Homer Brown, a police surgeon, in 1889. Her closest friend was actress Marie Dressler. May started her own theatre company and co-wrote the play A Night Out. When A Night Out was made into a film in 1916 May had the leading role.

She was widowed for a second time when her husband passed away in 1920. May continued to act in the theatre and starred in several silent films. May was now known as "The Grand Old Lady of the American Stage". In 1927 she decided to move to Holllywood. Although she was in her seventies May was able to become a popular character actress. She had supporting roles in dozens of films including Red-Headed Woman and Strange Interlude. May was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the 1933 film Lady For A Day. At the time she was the oldest woman ever nominated for an Oscar. May bought a small bungalow in Hollywood where she lived with her longtime female companion Lillian Harmer. In 1936 she signed a lucrative contract with MGM. She played Janet's Gaynor's grandmother in A Star Is Born and had the leading role in the 1940 comedy Granny Get Your Gun. May said "I want to keep working right up until the final curtain. I've got to work - I can't be happy unless I'm working. She died on October 20, 1942 from a combination of ailments including neuritis. May was eighty-four years old. She was buried with her second husband in Flushing Cemetery in New York.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Elizabeth Ann

Spouse (2)

Dr. Augustus Homer Brown (29 May 1889 - 2 April 1920) ( his death)
Charles Leveson Gore (1 November 1875 - 1883) ( his death) ( 3 children)

Trivia (10)

Gave birth to her 1st child at age 18, a son Edward Gore on December 2, 1876. Child's father was her 1st husband, Charles Gore/.
The earliest-born actress to receive an Oscar nomination.
Biography in "Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties" by Axel Nissen.
Although she was a prolific actress who appeared in many major movies and was once nominated for an Oscar, she does not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
She was known as "The Grand Old Lady of the American Stage".
Her son Edward died on September 23, 1954 in Los Angeles, California at age 77.
Appeared in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: Lady for a Day (1933), A Star Is Born (1937) and Four Daughters (1938).
Gave birth to her 3rd child at age 22, a daughter Nellie Candler Gore on April 28, 1880. She died on May 1, 1882. Child's father was her husband, Charles Gore.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 21, a son James Beryl Gore in 1879. He died at age 3 on April 26, 1882. Child's father was her husband, Charles Gore.
May moved to Hollywood in 1927 at the age of sixty-nine. She shared her home with her dog and her longtime female partner Lillian Harmer.

Personal Quotes (1)

"Both professions are so irregular that each always would feel sorry for the other, and then there would be perfect harmony." [1935, explaining her advice that actresses should marry doctors]

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