Mildred Natwick

(1905 - 1994)

A photo of Mildred Natwick
Mildred Natwick
1905 - 1994
Born
June 19, 1905
Death
October 25, 1994
Last Known Residence
New York, New York County, New York 10022
Summary
Mildred Natwick was born on June 19, 1905. She died on October 25, 1994 at 89 years old. We know that Mildred Natwick had been residing in New York, New York County, New York 10022.
Updated: August 06, 2019
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Mildred Natwick
Born June 19, 1905 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Died October 25, 1994 in New York City. US(cancer)
Nickname Milly
A disarming character lady quite capable of scene-stealing, Mildred Natwick was a well-rounded talent with distinctively dowdy features and idiosyncratic tendencies who, over a six-decade period, assembled together a number of unforgettable matrons on stage and (eventually) film and TV. Whimsical, feisty, loony, stern, impish, shrewish, quizzical, scheming -- she greatly enhanced both comedies and dramas and, thankfully, her off-centered greatness was captured perfectly on occasion by such film directors as John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock and Neil Simon.

A short, plumpish, oval-eyed figure with a unique flowery, honey-glazed voice, Natwick was born on June 19, 1905 (some sources list 1908) to Joseph (a businessman) and and Mildred Marion Dawes Natwick. The Baltimore native graduated from both the Bryn Mawr School (in Baltimore) and also from Bennett College in Dutchess County, N.Y., where she majored in drama. Breaking into the professional field touring on stage, Miss Natwick joined the Vagabonds in the late 1920s, a non-professional group from Baltimore. She later became part of the renowned University Players at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, whose rising performers at the time included Henry Fonda, Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart.

Natwick made her Broadway bow in the 1932 melodrama "Carry Nation," directed by Blanche Yurka with Esther Dale in the title role. In the cast was Joshua Logan, whom she befriended and later corroborated with when he turned director. She then continued her momentum on 1930s Broadway with "Amourette" (1933), "Spring in Autumn" (1933), "The Wind and the Rain" (1934), "The Distaff Side" (1934) "End of Summer" (1936), "Love from a Stranger" (1936), "The Star-Wagon" (1937), "Missouri Legend" (1938), "Stars in Your Eyes" (1939) (directed by Logan), and "Christmas Eve" (1939).

Natwick did not come to films until middle age (35) with the John Ford classic The Long Voyage Home (1940), in which she played a Cockney floozie. Despite her fine work in this minor part, she did not make another film until her landlady role five years later in The Enchanted Cottage (1945) supporting Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young. Not a great beauty by Hollywood standards, Natwick learned quickly in Hollywood that if she were to succeed, it would be as a character performer. Ford himself picked up on her versatility and used her repeatedly in several of his post-war classics -- 3 Godfathers (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), and The Quiet Man (1952).

Never abandoning the theater for long, Natwick excelled as Miss Garnett in George Bernard Shaw's "Candida" and as the buoyant medium in Noël Coward's "Blithe Spirit". As for the big screen, she was sporadically seen in such films as Yolanda and the Thief (1945), The Late George Apley (1947), A Woman's Vengeance (1948), The Kissing Bandit (1948), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950) and Against All Flags (1952). Making use of even the tiniest of roles, none of them did much to improve her stature in Hollywood. With her delicious turn, however, in Hitchcock's eccentric black comedy The Trouble with Harry (1955), which starred Shirley MacLaine (in her film debut), John Forsythe, Kris Kringle's Edmund Gwenn, little Jerry Mathers (of "Leave It to Beaver"), and another famous Mildred, Mildred Dunnock, Natwick enjoyed one of her best roles ever on film. This was followed by her scheming and furtive sorceress in the Danny Kaye vehicle The Court Jester (1955) in which she, Kaye and Glynis Johns participate in the memorable tongue-twisting "The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle..." comedy routine. This, in turn, led to a couple of more, albeit lesser, films, including Teenage Rebel (1956) and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957).

Preferring the theatre to movies, MIldred received her first Tony nomination for her sharp, astute work in Jean Anouilh's "Waltz of the Toredors" in 1957 and recreated her character in a TV special. She seemed to move effortlessly from the classics ("Medea," "Coriolanus") to chic comedy ("Ladies in Retirement," "The Importance of Being Earnest"). Receiving great applause as the beleaguered, overly-winded mother in Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park" on Broadway in 1963, she transferred the role to film four years later. The cinematic Barefoot in the Park (1967) earned Mildred a well-deserved Oscar nomination for "best supporting actress". She switched things up again with Harold Pinter's theatrical "Landscape," and then again in 1971 when she made her debut in a singing role in the John Kander-Fred Ebb musical, "70, Girls, 70" (1971) in which she earned a second Tony nomination. Her last Broadway show came as a replacement in "Bedroom Farce" in 1979.

With only the slightest of gesture, look or tone of voice, Mildred's characters could speak volumes and she became an essential character player during the 1970s as an offbeat friend, relative or elderly on TV and film. She was awarded the Emmy for her playing of one of The Snoop Sisters (1972)_ alongside the equally delightful Helen Hayes in the short-lived TV series. Both played impish Jessica Fletcher-type mystery writers who solve real crimes on the sly. She also played Rock Hudson's quirky mother in McMillan & Wife (1971) and a notable dying grandmother in a guest appearance of the critically-lauded TV series drama Family (1976). Her final film came with a small regal role as Madame de Rosemonde in Dangerous Liaisons (1988) with Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Never married, Mildred was called "Milly" by close friends and family and was the first cousin of Myron 'Grim' Natwick, the creator of Betty Boop for the Max Fleischer cartoon studio and prime animator for Disney's Snow White character. She died of cancer at age 89 in New York City.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / [contact link]

Trivia (9)
She is interred next to the remains of her sister on the exterior portion of the main mausoleum located at Lorraine Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.
A devout Christian Scientist who lived in splendor first on Park Avenue and later on Sutton Place South, she turned down a role in the musical "On The Twentieth Century" because she found the role -- of a dotty woman impersonating an evangelist -- to be too tawdry. The role went to Imogene Coca.
First appeared on Broadway under the direction of Joshua Logan, who considered her one of America's finest character actresses. Natwick inspired great devotion among many: John Ford, who directed her in The Long Voyage Home (1940), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and The Quiet Man (1952) adored her, as did both Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. Katharine Cornell and her husband, director Guthrie McClintic, cast her in many of their plays.
She and Angela Lansbury, both in The Court Jester (1955)--she did the famous "Vessel with the Pestle" routine with Danny Kaye--were reunited on Lansbury's series, Murder, She Wrote (1984), in the episode, Murder, She Wrote: Murder in the Electric Cathedral (1986)), 30 years later.
Was nominated for two Tony Awards: in 1957 as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for "The Waltz of the Toreadors" and in 1972 as Best Actress (Musical) for "70 Girls 70".
Cousin of animator Grim Natwick.
In Italy, she was often dubbed by Tina Lattanzi and Renata Marini. Rina Morelli, Giovanna Scotto, Lydia Simoneschi and Wanda Tettoni also lent their voice to Natwick at some point.
Biography in "Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties" by Axel Nissen.
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Biography
Mildred Natwick
Most commonly known name
Mildred Natwick
Full name
Nickname(s) or aliases
New York, New York County, New York 10022
Last known residence
Female
Gender
Mildred Natwick was born on
Birth
Mildred Natwick died on
Death
Mildred Natwick was born on
Mildred Natwick died on
Birth
Death
Heritage
Childhood
Adulthood

Professions

ACTRESS
Never abandoning the theater for long, Natwick excelled as Miss Garnett in George Bernard Shaw's "Candida" and as the buoyant medium in Noël Coward's "Blithe Spirit". As for the big screen, she was sporadically seen in such films as Yolanda and the Thief (1945), The Late George Apley (1947), A Woman's Vengeance (1948), The Kissing Bandit (1948), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950) and Against All Flags (1952). Making use of even the tiniest of roles, none of them did much to improve her stature in Hollywood. With her delicious turn, however, in Hitchcock's eccentric black comedy The Trouble with Harry (1955), which starred Shirley MacLaine (in her film debut), John Forsythe, Kris Kringle's Edmund Gwenn, little Jerry Mathers (of "Leave It to Beaver"), and another famous Mildred, Mildred Dunnock, Natwick enjoyed one of her best roles ever on film. This was followed by her scheming and furtive sorceress in the Danny Kaye vehicle The Court Jester (1955) in which she, Kaye and Glynis Johns participate in the memorable tongue-twisting "The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle..." comedy routine. This, in turn, led to a couple of more, albeit lesser, films, including Teenage Rebel (1956) and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957).
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Mildred Natwick passed away on October 25, 1994 at 89 years of age. She was born on June 19, 1905. We are unaware of information about Mildred's family. We know that Mildred Natwick had been residing in New York, New York County, New York 10022.

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Mildred's lifetime.

In 1905, in the year that Mildred Natwick was born, acclaimed dancer Isadora Duncan established the first school of modern dance in Berlin Germany. Isadora Duncan, born in San Francisco California, dedicated herself to the creation of beauty - through dance. Her focus on the movement of the human body rather than formal kinds of dance helped to give rise to the modern dance movement.

In 1930, Mildred was 25 years old when on August 6th, N.Y. Supreme Court Judge Joseph Crater went through papers in his office, destroyed some of them, withdrew all his money from the bank - $5,150, sold his stock, met friends at a restaurant for dinner and disappeared after getting into a taxi (or walking down the street - his friends' testimony later changed). His disappearance was reported to the police on September 3rd - almost a month later. His wife didn't know what happened, his fellow Justices had no idea, and his mistresses (he had several) said that they didn't know. While his disappearance was front page news, his fate was never discovered and after 40 years the case was closed, still without knowing if Crater was dead or alive.

In 1971, at the age of 66 years old, Mildred was alive when on May 3rd, 10,000 federal troops, 5,100 officers of the D.C. Metropolitan Police, 2,000 members of the D.C. National Guard, and federal agents assembled in Washington DC to prevent an estimated 10,000 Vietnam War protesters from marching. President Nixon (who was in California) refused to give federal employees the day off and they had to navigate the police and protesters, adding to the confusion. By the end of a few days of protest, 12,614 people had been arrested - making it the largest mass arrest in US history.

In 1987, she was 82 years old when on October 19th, stock exchanges around the world crashed. Beginning in Hong Kong then spreading to Europe, the crash then hit the United States. It was called Black Monday. The Dow Jones fell 508 points to 1,738.74 (22.61%).

In 1994, in the year of Mildred Natwick's passing, on May 6th, the Channel Tunnel or "Chunnel" was officially opened. The Chunnel is a railway tunnel beneath the English Channel that connects Great Britain to mainland France. Original plans for such a tunnel were developed in 1802 and approved by Napoleon Bonaparte but the British rejected the plan fearing that Napoleon would use the railway to invade.

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