Natwick, Mildred (1908–1994)

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Natwick, Mildred (1908–1994)

American actress . Born on June 19, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland; died on October 25, 1994, in NewYork City; daughter of Joseph Natwick and Mildred Marion (Dawes) Natwick; attended Bryn Mawr School, Baltimore, and Bennett Junior College, Millbrook, New York; never married; no children.

Selected theater:

made New York debut as Mrs. Noble in Carry Nation (1932); made London debut as Aunt Mabel in The Day I Forgot (1933); appeared as Drusilla Thorpe in Amourette (1933), Pura in Spring in Autumn (1933), Mrs. McFie in The Wind and the Rain (1934), Mrs. Venables in The Distaff Side (1934), May Beringer in Night in the House (1935), Mrs. Wyler in End of Summer (1936), Ethel in Love from a Stranger (1936), Miss Proserpine Garnett in Candida (1937), the Widow Weeks in Missouri Legend (1938), Bess in Stars in Your Eyes (1939), Mother McGlory in Christmas Eve (1939), Milly in The Lady Who Came to Stay (1941), Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit (1941), Dolly Talbo in The Grass Harp (1952), Volumnia in Coriolanus (1954), Madame St. Pe in Waltz of the Toreadors (1957), Kathie Morrow in The Day the Money Stopped (1958), Miriam in The Firstborn (1958), the Mother of Marie-Paule, Angele, and Armand's Mother in The Good Soup (1960), Charlotte Orr in Critic's Choice (1960), Mrs. Banks in Barefoot in the Park (1963), Ida in 70 Girls 70 (1971).

Selected filmography:

The Long Voyage Home (1940); The Enchanted Cottage (1945); Yolanda and the Thief (1945); The Late George Apley (1947); A Woman's Vengeance (1948); The Kissing Bandit (1948); Three Godfathers (1949); She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949); Cheaper by the Dozen (1950); The Quiet Man (1952); Against All Flags (1952); The Trouble with Harry (1955); The Court Jester (1956); Teenage Rebel (1956); Tammy and the Bachelor (1957); Barefoot in the Park (1967); If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium (1969); The Maltese Bippy (1969); Trilogy (1969); Daisy Miller (1974); At Long Last Love (1975); Kiss Me Goodbye (1982); Dangerous Liaisons (1988).

The gifted supporting player Mildred Natwick graced the stage, screen, and television for almost five decades, bringing to life a dazzling array of eccentric and endearing characters. Reviewing her role as the mother in Neil Simon's Broadway comedy Barefoot in the Park (1963), Walter Kerr called the actress "the most hilarious woman in the Western Hemisphere." Although Natwick never won an Oscar or a Tony (she was nominated several times), she was awarded an Emmy for her 1973–74 television series "The Snoop Sisters," in which she and Helen Hayes played mystery writers turned amateur sleuths.

Born in 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland, Natwick began acting after college and made her first stage appearance as Widow Quin in The Playboy of the Western World at the Vagabond Theater in her hometown. In 1932, following a stint with the National Junior Theater Company in Washington, D.C., Natwick made her Broadway debut as Mrs. Noble in Carry Nation . Small of stature and rather sharp-featured, she was pegged for character roles early in her career, and even as a young woman was able to play characters much older than herself. A veteran of over 40 stage productions, Natwick was memorable as the idiosyncratic secretary in G.B. Shaw's Candida, and as the zany medium in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, for which she received a Tony nomination. As the shrewish wife in Jean Anouilh's play Waltz of the Toreadors (1957), Natwick won the praise of critic Brooks Atkinson, who characterized her performance as "protean," one that "rides the whirlwind with a great sweep of venomous extravagance."

Appearing in films from 1940 on, Natwick made four movies with director John Ford: The Long Voyage Home (1940), The Three Godfathers (1949), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), and The Quiet Man (1952). The actress repeated her Broadway role as the mother in the 1967 film version of Barefoot in the Park, for which she received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress.

Mildred Natwick was never known to shy away from a challenge, and in 1971, age 63, she made her singing debut in the John Kander-Fred Ebb musical 70 Girls 70, playing the leader of a circle of elderly fur thieves and winning a second Tony nomination. (The show, however, had only a brief run.) Natwick was approaching retirement age when she went into the successful television series "The Snoop Sisters." She made her last film appearance in Dangerous Liaisons, in 1988. Natwick, who never married, made her home in New York City, where she died at the age of 89.


Huzinec, Mary. "Passages," in People Weekly. November 7, 1994.

Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. NY: Harper-Collins, 1994.

McGill, Raymond D., ed. Notable Names in the American Theater. Clifton, NJ: James T. White, 1976.

"Obituary," in Boston Globe. October 27, 1994.

"Obituary," in The Day [New London, CT]. October 26, 1994.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Natwick, Mildred (1908–1994)

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