Peggy Wood (1892 - 1978)

A photo of Peggy Wood
Peggy Wood
1892 - 1978
February 9, 1892
Kings County, New York United States
March 18, 1978
Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut United States
Peggy Wood was born on February 9, 1892 in New York United States. She died on March 18, 1978 in Stamford, Connecticut United States at 86 years of age.
Updated: February 9, 2021
I Remember Mama - Television Star
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Peggy Wood
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Peggy Wood was born on in Kings County, New York United States
Peggy Wood died on in Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut United States
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Peggy Wood was born in Brooklyn NY and did most of her theater work in New York and London.


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Peggy Wood Born February 9, 1892 in Brooklyn, New York, USA Died March 18, 1978 in Stamford, Connecticut, USA (stroke) Height 5' 6" (1.68 m) Above all else, singer/actress Peggy Wood has endeared herself to both TV and film audiences with one single role in each medium. She made warm, lasting impressions as the benevolent, strong-willed Scandinanvian matriarch Marta Hansen in the series drama Mama (1949), and as the knowing Mother Abbess who gently but firmly steers Julie Andrews' novice away from the nunnery and into the arms of love and a certain Austrian captain with her stirring rendition of "Climb Every Mountain" in, what is arguably considered the most popular musical film ever made, The Sound of Music (1965). But Peggy was so much more than those two undeniable treasures. Encompassing a stage career that lasted six decades, Peggy was unequivocally one of the grand dames of Broadway and London theatre, heightened by the fact that writer Noël Coward wrote some of his strongest pieces with her in mind. Brooklyn-born Peggy was christened Margaret Wood on February 9, 1892, the daughter of a popular newspaperman and humorist. The lovely blonde soprano began taking singing lessons at age 8 and made her debut as a teenager in the chorus of "Naughty Marietta" (1910). Within a year, she took her first her Broadway bow in "The Three Romeos" (1911) and grew in status after drawing strong applause for her lead ingenue debut in "Maytime" in 1917 while introducing the song "Will You Remember?" The blossoming performer went on to excel prominently in musicals/operettas, including "Buddies" (1919), "Marjolaine" (1922), and "The Clinging Vine" (1922), before making equally respectable ventures into witty comedy (the title role in George Bernard Shaw's "Candida" (1925) and "A Lady in Love" (1927)) and Shakespeare (Portia in "The Merchant of Venice" (1928)). A quiet beauty who projected little sex appeal, she was naturally not a strong contender for Hollywood stardom but made her feature film debut anyway in the silent movie Almost a Husband (1919) opposite humorist Will Rogers. She never made another silent picture. Along with her first husband, poet, and literary editor John V.A. Weaver, she was a member of the New York "intellectual" circuit and the well-chronicled Algonquin (restaurant) Round Table. Noël Coward wrote Peggy's "Bitter Sweet" role specifically for her. She originated the part in London's West End in 1929 and introduced the song "I'll See You Again." While in London, she also appeared in Jerome Kern's "The Cat and the Fiddle" (1932) with Francis Lederer, wherein she sang the popular "Try to Forget," and complemented Coward once again in the musical "Operette" (1938) with her renditions of "Where Are the Songs We Sung" and "Dearest Love." In 1941, Peggy again inspired Coward, this time playing the role of second wife Ruth Condomine in the New York premiere of "Blithe Spirit" with Clifton Webb, and then took the show to the Piccadilly Theatre in London. During World War II, she also lent her singing talent patriotically with several USO tours. She returned to films in mid-career and co-starred without much fanfare in Handy Andy (1934) playing Will Rogers' nagging wife, The Right to Live (1935), Jalna (1935) and Call It a Day (1937). Following her supporting work in The Bride Wore Boots (1946), Magnificent Doll (1946) and Dream Girl (1948), she was ignored in films until handed the roles of Naomi in the biblical drama The Story of Ruth (1960) and her Oscar-nominated Mother Abbess. A master dialectician who handled many ethnic roles during her long career, she became one of early TV's critically-acclaimed "Golden Age" stars with the Norwegian family drama Mama (1949) and was Emmy-nominated twice for her efforts. She also continued on the 50s and 60s stage with roles in "Charley's Aunt", "The Girls in 508" with Imogene Coca, "The Rape of the Belt", "Pictures in the Hallway" and "The Madwoman of Chaillot", which would be one of her last stage shows in 1970. From 1959 to 1966, she served as President of ANTA (American National Theatre and Academy). Peggy married and was widowed twice. Her first husband died of tuberculosis at age 44 and her second, William Walling, an executive in the printing business, died in 1973 after 32 years. Peggy herself, at age 86, died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Stanford, Connecticut, on March 18, 1978, and was survived by her son, David Weaver, who once assistant stage managed one of her Broadway plays "The Happiest Years". - IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / [contact link] Spouse (2) William Henry Walling (1 October 1946 - 5 February 1973) ( his death) ( 1 child) John V.A. Weaver (14 February 1924 - 14 June 1938) ( his death) ( 1 child) Trivia (6) Member of the Algonquin Round Table. Peggy's role in the operetta "Bitter Sweet" (1929) was written for her by Noël Coward. Known for her philanthropic work, she also wrote newspaper and magazine articles on theater and acting. Her singing voice in The Sound of Music (1965) was dubbed by Margery MacKay. Before Wood was cast as Naomi in The Story of Ruth (1960), Irene Dunne was offered the role. One of Wood's biggest career successes was her title role in Mama (1949), the television adaptation of one of Dunne's most popular films, I Remember Mama (1948). Is one of 26 actresses to have received an Academy Award nomination for their performance in a musical; hers being The Sound of Music (1965). Personal Quotes (1) As to why she never achieved the success in films that she had on stage and in early TV: "I was not attractive in the way one was supposed to be out there, and I think that, and the fact that I could act, confused them terribly."

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Peggy Wood died on March 18, 1978 in Stamford, Connecticut at 86 years of age. She was born on February 9, 1892 in New York. Peggy Wood Photograph of Wood in c. 1917 Born Mary Margaret Wood February 9, 1892 Brooklyn, New York, U.S. Died March 18, 1978 (aged 86) Stamford, Connecticut, U.S. Occupation Actress, singer Years active 1910–1969 Spouse(s) John Weaver ​(m. 1924; died 1938)​ William Walling ​​(m. 1946; died 1973)​ Children 1 Mary Margaret Wood (February 9, 1892 – March 18, 1978) was an American actress of stage, film, and television. She is best remembered for her performance as the title character in the CBS television series Mama (1949–1957), for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series; her starring role as Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, in The Story of Ruth (1960); and her final screen appearance as Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music (1965), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Peggy Wood and Charles Purcell in the original Broadway production of Maytime (1917) Mary Margaret Wood was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Eugene Wood, a journalist, and Mary Gardner, a telegraph operator. Wood studied voice in France with soprano Emma Calvé. Wood was an early member of the Actors' Equity Association, spending nearly 50 years onstage, beginning in the chorus and becoming known as a Broadway singer and star.[citation needed] Wood made her stage debut in 1910, as part of the chorus for Naughty Marietta. In 1917, she starred in Maytime, in which she introduced the song "Will You Remember".[1] She starred in several other musicals before playing the role of Portia in a 1928 production of The Merchant of Venice. From the late 1920s until the late 1930s, Wood had lead roles in musicals staged in London and New York. She was selected by Noël Coward to star in the original London production of his wildly successful operetta Bitter Sweet. Other According to a 1920 profile, Wood also wrote plays "in collaboration with her father and with Samuel Merwin." She was a member of the Algonquin Round Table. In 1941, she starred in the New York premiere of Blithe Spirit as Ruth Condomine, whose husband is tormented by the ghost of his deceased first wife. Wood did not star in many films. Her few film appearances include roles in Jalna, A Star is Born, Call It a Day, The Housekeeper's Daughter, The Bride Wore Boots, Magnificent Doll, and Dream Girl. From 1949 to 1957, she played matriarch Marta Hansen in the popular CBS-TV series Mama, based on the 1943 Broadway play and 1948 film I Remember Mama. When General Foods cancelled the program, there was so much protest that CBS brought it back on Sunday afternoon, this time as a filmed series. As the network did not have all the affiliate station clearances that were needed, the show was put into syndication, where it was a huge success. 26 episodes were filmed. Following "Mama", Wood was also seen in episodes of Zane Grey Theatre and The Nurses. She co-starred with comedian Imogene Coca on Broadway in The Girls in 509. In October 1963, she and Ruth Gates appeared in a one-act play, Opening Night, which played in off-Broadway. Wood portrayed Fanny Ellis, a once famous star who prepares for a performance; the play lasted 47 performances. Gates played "Aunt Jenny" on Mama, which starred Wood. Wood returned to movies in the 1960 CinemaScope production The Story of Ruth in a co-starring role as the mother-in-law, Naomi, of the title character, although she pointed out the lack of verisimilitude in her own casting as a biblical matriarch, i.e. a "blonde, blue-eyed Jewess". Her final screen appearance was as the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music (1965), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture. She was thrilled to be in the movie although she knew she could no longer sing "Climb Ev'ry Mountain". She was dubbed (for singing) by Margery McKay. In her autobiography, Marni Nixon, who appeared in the film as Sister Sophia, said Peggy especially liked McKay's singing voice because she sounded as Peggy did in her younger days. In 1969, Wood joined the cast of One Life to Live as Dr. Kate Nolan, and had a recurring role until the end of the year. Her first autobiography, How Young You Look, was published by Farrar and Rinehart in 1941. An update, Arts and Flowers, appeared in 1963. She also wrote a biography of actor John Drew, Jr., as well as a novel called The Star Wagon and was a co-author of a play, Miss Quis. Wood received numerous awards for her theatrical work and for a while was president of the American National Theater and Academy (ANTA). Wood was married and widowed twice. Her first husband (poet/writer John Van Alstyne Weaver) died at the age of 44. She gave birth to their son (David Weaver) in 1927 at the age of 35. Her second husband (William H. Walling, whom she wed in 1946) was an executive in the printing business who died in 1973. They were married for 27 years.[4] She was a devout Episcopalian and a member of the Episcopal Actors Guild.[citation needed] Death Wood died on March 18, 1978, in Stamford, Connecticut, following a stroke. She was 86 years old.[5] Filmography Film Year Title Role Notes 1919 Almost a Husband Eva McElwyn 1929 Wonder of Women Brigitte 1934 Handy Andy Ernestine Yates 1935 The Right to Live Nurse Wayland Jalna Meg Whiteoaks 1937 Call It a Day Ethel Francis A Star Is Born Miss Phillips (clerk in Central Casting) 1939 The Housekeeper's Daughter Olga 1946 The Bride Wore Boots Grace Apley Magnificent Doll Mrs. Payne 1948 Dream Girl Lucy Allerton 1960 The Story of Ruth Naomi 1965 The Sound of Music The Reverend Mother Abbess Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Television Year Title Role Notes 1948 The Philco Television Playhouse Mrs. Oliver Jordan episode: Dinner at Eight 1949 The Philco Television Playhouse Florence McDavid episode: Dark Hammock 1951 Pulitzer Prize Playhouse Gladys episode: The Skin of Our Teeth 1949–1957 Mama Mama Marta Hansen 10 episodes Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actress (1953) Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing Performance by an Actress in a Dramatic Series (1957) 1957 Zane Grey Theatre Sarah Jolland episode: The Bitter Land 1959 The United States Steel Hour Lillian Granet episode: Seed of Guilt 1962 Dr. Kildare Katie Harris episode: An Ancient Office 1963 The Doctors and the Nurses Marcella Higgins episode: The Saturday Evening of Time 1965 For the People Mrs. Murray episode: The Killing of One Human Being 1969 One Life to Live Dr. Kate Nolan Unknown episodes Stage (partial list of appearances) Peggy Wood in Buddies (1919) Love O' Mike (1917) Maytime (1917) Buddies (1919) Bitter Sweet (1929) Old Acquaintance (1940) Blithe Spirit (1941)

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

In 1892, in the year that Peggy Wood was born, on January 1st, Ellis Island opened to process immigrants. 700 passed through on the first day - in the first year, 450,000 were processed. The processing center was originally a 3 story wooden building - with outbuildings - that burned down a few years later.

In 1906, Peggy was merely 14 years old when the great San Francisco earthquake hit, estimated at 7.8 on the Richter scale. The earthquake caused fires that raged for days and between the earthquake and the fire, about 3,000 people were killed and 80% of the City was destroyed.

In 1934, by the time she was 42 years old, on November 11th 1933, an extremely strong dust storm hit South Dakota, stripping topsoil. Other strong dust storms had occurred during 1933. Severe droughts continued to hit the Great Plains and the dust storms devastated agricultural production as well as people's' lives for several years. The Roosevelt administration and scientists eventually determined that farming practices had caused the conditions that led to the dust storms and the changes they implemented in farming stopped the Dust Bowl.

In 1959, when she was 67 years old, on August 8th, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States. The US flag was changed to show 50 stars.

In 1978, in the year of Peggy Wood's passing, on November 18th, Jim Jones's Peoples Temple followers committed mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana - where they had moved, from San Francisco, as a group. Jones was the leader of the cult and ordered his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch, which they did. Whole families (women and children included) died - more than 900 people in all.

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