May 27, 2016

#SOTM - TCM's Star of the Month June 2016 - Marie Dressler

Marie Dressler Fast Facts

Born: Leila Marie von Koerber on November 9, 1868 in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Died: July 28, 1934 (age 65) in Santa Barbara, California (cancer)
Father: Alexander Rudolph von Koerber
Mother: Anne (Henderson) von Koerber
Sister: Bonita von Koerber
Spouses: George Hoppert (1900 - 1906) (1 daughter - died in infancy)
James H. Dalton (1908 - November 29, 1921) (his death) (common law marriage)
Height: 5 feet, 7 inches (1.7 m)

The Life Story of an Ugly Duckling (1924)
by Marie Dressler

Marie Dressler: My Own Story (1934)
as told to Mildred Harrington
Forward by Will Rogers


Academy Awards

1931 - Won - Best Actress in a Leading Role for Min and Bill (1930)
1932 - Nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Emma (1932)

Walk of Fame

February 8, 1960 - Star on the Walk of Fame - Motion Picture - At 1731 Vine Street.

Did You Know?

There is some dispute to her actual birth year. According to most sources and the document as to the history of the house, she was born in 1868. Other sources say 1869. At least one scientist says that her baptismal records give 1863, and to further confuse the issue, 1871 is given on her grave.

To save her family from possible embarrassment, Leila Marie von Koerber changed her name to Marie Dressler after an aunt.

Her home at 212 King Street West, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada is now a historical site and museum.

She suffered from stage fright throughout her career.

Was seriously contemplating suicide before screenwriter Frances Marion, knowing that Dressler was down on her luck, insisted that MGM cast her in The Callahans and the Murphys (1927), which turned out to be a hit and revived her career.

She was named the top box-office star of 1932 and 1933 based on an annual poll of exhibitors as to the drawing power of movie stars at the box-office conducted by Quigley Publications.

She was the third of three consecutive Canadian actresses to win the Best Actress Oscar. The others were Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer.

Trade paper articles in November 1933 stated that Marie Dressler's next film would be Mrs. Van Kleek, a South Seas story. The movie was never made.

She appears as a character in the musical play In Hell with Harlow by Paul L. Williams.

She was commemorated on a 2008 Canadian postage stamp, one of four stamps honoring the achievements of Canadians in Hollywood. The other stamps depicted Norma Shearer, Chief Dan George, and Raymond Burr.

Quotes Attributed to Marie Dressler

TCM Star of the Month - June 2016

8:00 p.m.
Chasing Rainbows (1930)
BW - 1h 40m

With manager Eddie (Jack Benny) booking their shows, Terry Fay (Charles King) and Carlie Semour (Bessie Love) have long been a successful vaudeville act. While Carlie is a consummate professional, Terry is having trouble with his wife, Daphne (Nita Martan), and his mindset is threatening the show's success. As Terry's personal problems deepen after another unpleasant revelation about Daphne, Eddie, aiming to give audiences their money's worth, tries to coax a better effort out of Terry.

The movie introduced the song "Happy Days Are Here Again."

Dir: Charles Reisner
Cast: Bessie Love, Charles King, Jack Benny, George K. Arthur as Lester
Polly Moran, Gwen Lee, Nita Martan, Eddie Phillips, Marie Dressler, Youcca Troubetzkov.

9:30 p.m.
Divine Lady, The (1929)
BW - 1h 39m

In this dialogue-free film, Emma Hart (Corinne Griffith), a young woman of lowly birth, is courted by rich Charles Greville (Ian Keith). But, after he grows tired of Hart, he sends her to live in Naples, Italy, with his uncle, Lord Hamilton (H.B. Warner), whom she marries. Despite living peaceably with her new husband, Hart is drawn to Capt. Horatio Nelson (Victor Varconi), who she meets while serving as confidante to the queen of Naples. The two begin an affair with risky social consequences.

The film won the Academy Award for Directing and was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Corinne Griffith) and Best Cinematography. This is also the only film to ever win Best Director without a Best Picture nomination.

Dir: Frank Lloyd
Cast: Corinne Griffith, Victor Varconi, H. B. Warner, Ian Keith, Marie Dressler, Montagu Love, William Conklin, Dorothy Cumming.

11:15 p.m.
Patsy, The (1928)
BW - 1h 18m

Jealous that her older sister, Grace (Jane Winton), has landed handsome and successful Tony Anderson (Orville Caldwell), Patricia Harrington (Marion Davies) launches an elaborate charm offensive to win his heart. Patricia shrugs off her diffidence and, in the hope that Tony will be drawn to her new persona, tries to carry herself with the self-confidence of the era's silent film stars. When this doesn't have the desired effect, Patricia takes things a step further.

Dir: King Vidor
Cast: Marion Davies, Orville Caldwell, Marie Dressler, Lawrence Gray, Dell Henderson, Jane Winton.

12:45 a.m.
Tillie's Punctured Romance (1914)
BW - 1h 26m

Tillie Banks (Marie Dressler), a beautiful heiress, falls prey to a charming crook named Charlie (Charles Chaplin) who lures her to the city and then promptly swindles her. But when Charlie returns to apologize, asking for her hand in marriage, a surprised Tillie cautiously accepts his proposal. As wedding preparations begin, Tillie wonders about Charlie's intentions -- particularly after she receives news that her rich uncle Donald (Charles Bennett) has died mysteriously.

The picture was the first feature-length motion picture produced by the Keystone Film Company, and is the only one featuring Chaplin.

Dir: Mack Sennett
Cast: Marie Dressler, Mabel Normand, Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Charles Bennett, Chester Conklin, The Keystone Cops, Charley Chase.

2:15 a.m.
Hollywood Revue of 1929, The (1929)
BW - 1h 56m

The top performers of the 1920s strut their stuff in this star-studded variety show. Actress Joan Crawford displays her singing talents with "Got a Feeling for You." Comedy duo Laurel and Hardy bring on the laughs with their magic act, and Conrad Nagel turns on the romance by singing "You Were Meant For Me." In the revue's second act, silent star Buster Keaton performs an under-the-sea dance, and Norma Shearer and John Gilbert hilariously lampoon "Romeo and Juliet."

Features the first filmed performance of "Singin' in the Rain."

Dir: Charles Reisner
Cast: Conrad Nagel, Jack Benny, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, John Gilbert, Norma Shearer, Anita Page, Marie Dressler, William Haines, Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel. Oliver Hardy, Gus Edwards.

8:00 p.m.
Anna Christie (1930)
BW - 1h 29m

As a child, Anna Christie (Greta Garbo) was sent away by her father, Chris Christofferson (George F. Marion), to live with unkind relatives in Minnesota. Although she escaped her family, Anna fell into prostitution, and she still resents her father's decision. When Anna travels to New York to reunite with her father, she tries to keep her past a secret. It is only when she falls in love with a sailor named Matt Burke (Charles Bickford) that Anna realizes she must reveal the truth.

Anna Christie was the highest-grossing film of 1930 and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress (Greta Garbo), Best Cinematography, and Best Director.

Marie Dressler deservedly won recognition for her downtrodden old sod of a waterfront floozy.

Dir: Clarence Brown
Cast: Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, George F. Marion, Marie Dressler, James T. Mack, Lee Phelps.

9:45 p.m.
Let Us Be Gay (1930)
BW - 1h 19m

A frumpy housewife, Katherine "Kitty" Brown (Norma Shearer) waits hand and foot on her narcissistic husband, Bob (Rod LaRocque). When Kitty finds out about her spouse's infidelity, however, she leaves him and begins a new life as a much more glamorous and carefree woman. Eventually, she enters the social scene of the wealthy Mrs. Bouccicault (Marie Dressler), which leads Kitty to a surprising reunion with her ex-husband, who now finds her very intriguing.

Dir: Robert Z. Leonard
Cast: Norma Shearer, Marie Dressler, Rod La Rocque, Gilbert Emery, Hedda Hopper, Raymond Hackett, Sally Eilers, Tyrell Davis, Wilfred Noy, Sybil Grove, Mary Gordon, Dickie Moore.

11:15 p.m.
Girl Said No, The (1930)
BW - 1h 32m

After graduating from college, Tom Ward (William Haines) returns home ready for success. The brazen young upstart sets his romantic sights on Mary Howe (Leila Hyams), a secretary for a man named McAndrews (Ralph Bushman). Although Mary seems uninterested at first, Tom persists in his pursuit. Meanwhile, he tries to make money by selling bonds to confused women like Hettie Brown (Marie Dressler). As Mary is set to marry McAndrews, Tom becomes desperate to stop the ceremony.

Dir: Sam Wood
Cast: William Haines, Leila Hyams, Polly Moran, Marie Dressler, Ralph Bushman, Clara Blandick, William Janney, William V. Mong, Frank Coghlan, Phyllis Crane.

1:00 a.m.
Vagabond Lover, The (1929)
BW - 1h 5m

Small-town bandleader Rudy Bronson (Rudy Vallee) attempts to make a big impression on a music promoter. When the man instead rebuffs Rudy's clumsy attempts to meet with and audition for him, Rudy and his bandmates attempt to break into the promoter's Long Island, N.Y. home. The burglary attracts the attention of wealthy neighbor Mrs. Whitehall (Marie Dressler) and her pretty niece Jean (Sally Blane), ultimately leading to Rudy's big break when he pretends to be the promoter.

Delight Evans wrote in her review for Screenland, "Marie Dressler romps away with a personal hit in hilarious comedy scenes."

Dir: Marshall Neilan
Cast: Rudy Vallee, Sally Blane, Marie Dressler, Charles Sellon, Norman Peck, Danny O'Shea, Edward J. Nugent, Nella Walker, Malcolm Waite, Alan Roscoe, The Connecticut Yankees.

8:00 p.m.
Min and Bill (1930)
BW - 1h 9m

Min (Marie Dressler) runs a rundown hotel on the waterfront. With the help of her boyfriend, Bill (Wallace Beery), Min brings up Nancy, who was abandoned by her mother, Bella (Marjorie Rambeau), as a baby. The couple contend with city officials who proclaim Min unfit for mothering. Over the years, Min saves diligently to send Nancy to boarding school -- and when Nancy meets a wealthy young man who proposes, Bella abruptly returns, threatening Nancy in an attempt to benefit from her good fortune.

Marie Dressler won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1931 for her performance in this film. At the ceremony, nine-year-old Jackie Cooper, nominated for Best Actor in Skippy, fell asleep on the shoulder of Best Actress nominee Marie Dressler. When Dressler was announced as the winner, Cooper had to be eased onto his mother's lap.

Dir: George W. Hill
Cast: Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery, Dorothy Jordan, Marjorie Rambeau, Donald Dillaway, DeWitt Jennings, Russell Hopton, Frank McGlynn, Sr.

9:15 p.m.
Reducing (1931)
BW - 1h 17m

New York City beauty-spa operator Polly Rochay (Polly Moran) graciously opens her home to her penniless sister, Marie (Marie Dressler), and her family from back home in South Bend, Ind. Polly's snooty, social-climbing daughter, Joyce (Sally Eilers), is horrified by her poor relations, especially Marie's pretty and kindhearted daughter, Vivian (Anita Page). When Joyce's wealthy boyfriend, Johnnie (Buster Collier Jr.), takes a liking to Vivian, Joyce's jealousy sparks a family-wide rift.

Dir: Charles Riesner
Cast: Marie Dressler, Polly Moran, Anita Page, Lucien Littlefield, William Collier, Jr., Sally Eilers, William Bakewell, Billy Naylor, Jay Ward.

10:45 p.m.
Politics (1931)
BW - 1h 13m

Disgusted with the influence of racketeer Jim Curango (John Miljan) in their small town, music teacher Ivy Higgins (Polly Moran) decides to run for mayor. After the death of a young woman, Myrtle (Karen Morley), Ivy discovers that the killer intended to murder Myrtle's boyfriend. Ivy then enlists Myrtle's mother, Hattie (Marie Dressler), in her cause. When Hattie proves a better speaker at rallies, Ivy realizes she should be the candidate instead -- but Curango means to challenge their plans.

Dir: Charles Riesner
Cast: Marie Dressler, Polly Moran, Roscoe Ates, Karen Morley, William Bakewell, John Miljan, Joan Marsh, Tom McGuire, Kane Richmond, Mary Alden.

12:15 a.m.
One Romantic Night (1930)
BW - 1h 13m

Princess Alexandra (Lillian Gish) is expected to marry Prince Albert (Rod La Rocque), but the closer the wedding gets, the less enthusiastic she is about devoting herself to the man who's been chosen for her. Alexandra's uncertainty increases when she meets Dr. Nicholas Haller (Conrad Nagel), a young intellectual who's been helping her brother with his studies. Torn between her infatuation with Nicholas and her commitment to Albert, Alexandra faces the biggest decision of her life.

It is the first sound film version of Ferenc Molnár's play The Swan, and marked silent screen star Lillian Gish's talkie debut.

Dir: Paul L. Stein
Cast: Lillian Gish, Rod La Rocque, Conrad Nagel, Marie Dressler, O.P. Heggie, Albert Conti, Edgar Norton, Billie Bennett, Philippe De Lacy, Byron Sage, Barbara Leonard.

8:00 p.m.
Dinner at Eight (1933)
BW - 1h 53m

In this comedic drama, an ambitious New York socialite plans an extravagant dinner party as her businessman husband, Oliver (Lionel Barrymore), contends with financial woes, causing a lot of tension between the couple. Meanwhile, their high-society friends and associates, including the gruff Dan Packard (Wallace Beery) and his sultry spouse, Kitty (Jean Harlow), contend with their own entanglements, leading to revelations at the much-anticipated dinner.

Adapted to the screen by Frances Marion and Herman J. Mankiewicz from George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's play of the same name, it features an ensemble cast.

Dir: George Cukor
Cast: Marie Dressler, Lionel Barrymore, Billie Burke, Madge Evans, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, John Barrymore, Lee Tracy, Edmund Lowe, Karen Morley, Jean Hersholt, Phillips Holmes, Louise Closser Hale, Grant Mitchell.

10:00 p.m.
Tugboat Annie (1933)
BW - 1h 26m

Annie Brennan (Marie Dressler) is one of the Pacific Northwest's best skippers, though her drunk husband, Terry (Wallace Beery), is no help. Annie's son, Alec (Robert Young), an industrious student, becomes the youngest ship's master on the Pacific Coast and gets engaged to his boss' daughter. Terry continues to drink heavily, causing an accident in his stupor that makes Alice lose her boat. Angry with his father, Alec refuses to talk to his parents until, in trouble at sea, he needs their help.

The boisterous Tugboat Annie character first appeared in a series of stories in the Saturday Evening Post written by the author Norman Reilly Raine which were based on the life of Thea Foss of Tacoma, Washington.

Dir: Mervyn LeRoy
Cast: Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery, Robert Young, Maureen O'Sullivan, Willard Robertson, Tammany Young, Frankie Darro, Jack Pennick, Paul Hurst.

11:45 p.m.
Emma (1932)
BW - 1h 12m

Middle-aged housekeeper Emma (Marie Dressler) helps a lonely widower, Frederick Smith (Jean Hersholt) raising his spoiled and over-entitled children. When Smith takes Emma on a vacation, he makes his feelings for her known by proposing marriage. Emma happily accepts, but tragedy strikes when Smith dies of a heart attack shortly after. Emma is devastated, but then must face Smith's children, who suspect she may have been involved in the death of their father.

Marie Dressler was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Emma. Helen Hayes won for The Sin of Madelon Claudet. Dressler had won the award the year before for Min and Bill.

Dir: Clarence Brown
Cast: Marie Dressler, Richard Cromwell, Jean Hersholt, Myrna Loy, John Miljan, Purnell Pratt, Leila Bennett, Barbara Kent, Kathryn Crawford, George Meeker, Dale Fuller, Wilfred Noy, André Cheron.

1:15 a.m.
Prosperity (1932)
BW - 1h 27m

Maggie Warren (Marie Dressler) retires as head of the family bank, ceding her long-held position to her son, John (Norman Foster). John marries Helen (Anita Page), and, despite the antipathy between their mothers, the two live together happily. But when Helen's mother, Lizzie (Polly Moran), accidentally prompts a run on the bank, Maggie learns that John blew their emergency bonds on a get-rich-quick scam. Hoping to save the bank, Maggie sets out on a search for the con men who duped her son.

Dir: Sam Wood
Cast: Marie Dressler, Polly Moran, Anita Page, Norman Foster, Jacquie Lyn, Jerry Tucker, Charles Giblyn, Frank Darien, Henry Holland.

Various Video Clips of Marie Dressler

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