A leading lady and character actress of silent films and early talkies who frequently portrayed fallen or tragic women, Brockwell began her career as a child in stock companies. She made her film debu...
Portrayed a boxer's pugalistic wife in "Twinkletoes"
Appeared as the amoral sister in "Seventh Heaven"
Signed with Warner Brothers
Final film, "The Drake Case"
Died of peritonitis resulting from internal injuries sustained when her car went over a 75-foot embankment on the Ventura highway
Acted on stage in stock companies from childhood
Cast as Nancy Sykes in "Oliver Twist"
A leading lady and character actress of silent films and early talkies who frequently portrayed fallen or tragic women, Brockwell began her career as a child in stock companies. She made her film debut in 1913 at the age of 20. Through the early 1910s, Brockwell freelanced for such companies as Biograph, Mutual, Fine Arts and Majestic, before signing with Fox in 1916.
Brockwell made dozens of films in the late 1910s, for Fox and other studios, generally heavy dramas like "Her One Mistake" and "The Devil's Wheel" (both 1918) and "Pitfalls of a Big City" (1919). Through the 20s, she was given meaty character roles in big-budgeted films and starred in several of her own vehicles as well. Perhaps her best known roles were Nancy Sykes in "Oliver Twist" (1922), the insane mother in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1923) and Janet Gaynor's evil sister in "Seventh Heaven" (1927). Among Brockwell's other hits were "So Big" (1924), "Twinkletoes" (1926) and supporting John Gilbert and Jeanne Eagels in "Man, Woman, and Sin" (1928).
As a stage-trained character actress, Brockwell had nothing to fear from talking pictures. Signed by Warner Brothers, she appeared as a gun moll in the first all-talking feature-length picture, "Lights of New York" (1928) and went on to make four other talkies before her death in mid-1929 as the result of a car accident.
H R Lindeman
was dating at the time of her death
briefly married in 1918; ex-husband of actor Louise Glaum
Some sources give 1894 as Miss Brockwell's birth year.
"If I am feeling too hilarious and must buckle down to play a very serious or sad role, I have to make myself feel badly. This isn't so very hard to do, when you go about the matter in downright earnest. It is ever so much more difficult to laugh when you are not in the mood for it, than to cry when you feel like laughing."--Gladys Brockwell, quoted in a 1920 interview in Photo-Play Journal.