Aline MacMahon

Actor
Tall, melancholy-looking character lead of exceptional versatility. MacMahon was moving in dramatic roles and, as a deft comedienne, excelled at playing wisecracking secretaries in "Five Star Final" (1931) and "The ... Read more »
Born: 05/02/1899 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, USA

Filmography

Actor (27)

God Rest Ye Merry 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Narrator

All the Way Home 1963 (Movie)

Aunt Hannah (Actor)

I Could Go on Singing 1963 (Movie)

Ida (Actor)

Diamond Head 1962 (Movie)

Kapiolani Kahana (Actor)

The Young Doctors 1961 (Movie)

Dr Lucy Grainger (Actor)

Cimarron 1960 (Movie)

Mavis Pegler (Actor)

The Man From Laramie 1955 (Movie)

Kate Canaday (Actor)

The Flame and the Arrow 1950 (Movie)

(Actor)

Dragon Seed 1944 (Movie)

(Actor)

Ah, Wilderness! (Movie)

Lily Davis (Actor)

Babbitt (Movie)

Myra Babbitt (Actor)

Back Door to Heaven (Movie)

Miss Williams (Actor)

Big Hearted Herbert (Movie)

Elizabeth Kainess (Actor)

Five Star Final (Movie)

Miss Taylor (Actor)

Guest in the House (Movie)

Aunt Martha (Actor)

Heroes for Sale (Movie)

Mary Dennis (Actor)

I Live My Life (Movie)

Betty (Actor)

Kind Lady (Movie)

Mary Herries (Actor)

One Way Passage (Movie)

Countess Barilhaus/Barrel House Betty (Actor)

Out of the Fog (Movie)

Florence Goodwin (Actor)

Roseanna McCoy (Movie)

Sarie McCoy (Actor)

Silver Dollar (Movie)

Sarah Martin (Actor)

The Lady Is Willing (Movie)

Buddy (Actor)

The Mouthpiece (Movie)

Miss Hickey (Actor)

The Search (Movie)

Mrs. Murray (Actor)

The Sign of the Cross (Movie)

(Actor)

The World Changes (Movie)

Anna Nordholm (Actor)

Biography

Tall, melancholy-looking character lead of exceptional versatility. MacMahon was moving in dramatic roles and, as a deft comedienne, excelled at playing wisecracking secretaries in "Five Star Final" (1931) and "The Mouthpiece" (1932). Immediately after graduating from Barnard College in 1920, she made her New York stage debut in "The Madras House" and her performance in the 1926 revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Beyond the Horizon", was acclaimed by Noel Coward as "astonishing, moving and beautiful". Although MacMahon gave memorable performances as the forgotten first wife in "Silver Dollar" (1932) and won an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn's Chinese mother in "Dragon Seed" (1944), she is best remembered for playing sassy, snappy working women such as the fraudulent "voice-culture" teacher in George S. Kaufman's and Moss Hart's Hollywood spoof "Once in a Lifetime" (1932) and as the sarcastic, unemployed comedienne in "Gold Diggers of 1933".

After reprising her stage role as the grandmother in "All the Way Home", the 1964 film version of James Agee's memoir "A Death in the Family", MacMahon retired from film and returned to the stage, joining the Lincoln Center Repertory company in the 1960s and 70s.

Relationships

William MacMahon

Father
editor-in-chief of Munsey's Magazine

Jennie MacMahon

Mother
became a stage actor at the age of 53 died in 1984, three weeks before her 107 birthday

Clarence Stein

Husband
married in 1928 died in 1975 helped design Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, Temple Emmanuel in NYC, and helped plan Radburn, New Jersey

EDUCATION

Barnard College

New York , New York 1920
graduated

Milestones

1975

Final stage role in New York Shakespeare Festival production of "Trelawny of the Wells"

1952

TV debut, "The Town" on "Pulitzer Prize Playhouse"

1931

Film debut, "Five Star Final"

1926

First stage success in revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Beyond the Horizon"

1921

Stage debut in "The Madras House" at the Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC

1921

Broadway debut in "The Mirage"

Moved to Brooklyn with her family

Bonus Trivia

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"Aline MacMahon had a face like a tragic mask--heavy-lidded eyes under arched, thick brows, full lips. Perhaps that was why she was so unexpected as a comedienne, and why she was so good at it."--John Springer ("They Had Faces Then" 1974)

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She is chairwoman, Equity Library Theater (1950), organized productions for community theaters.

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