Beulah Bondi

Actor
Chicago-born Beulah Bondi spent many years appearing in theatrical stock companies throughout the USA before making her Broadway debut in 1925 as a 70-year old servant in "One of the Family" (while still in her ... Read more »
Born: 05/03/1889 in Valparaiso, Indiana, USA

Filmography

Actor (27)

Tammy and the Doctor 1962 (Movie)

Mrs Call (Actor)

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm 1962 (Movie)

The Gypsy (Actor)

Tammy Tell Me True 1960 (Movie)

Mrs Call (Actor)

A Summer Place 1958 (Movie)

Mrs Hamble (Actor)

The Big Fisherman 1958 (Movie)

Hannah (Actor)

The Unholy Wife 1957 (Movie)

Emma Hochen (Actor)

Track of the Cat 1954 (Movie)

Ma Bridges (Actor)

Latin Lovers 1953 (Movie)

Woman Analyst (Actor)

The Doctor 1951 - 1953 (TV Show)

Actor

The Baron of Arizona 1949 (Movie)

Loma (Actor)

The Snake Pit 1948 (Movie)

(Actor)

It's a Wonderful Life 1946 (Movie)

Mrs Bailey (Actor)

Back to Bataan 1945 (Movie)

Bertha Barnes (Actor)

Penny Serenade 1940 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Shepherd of the Hills 1940 (Movie)

Aunt Mollie Matthews (Actor)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939 (Movie)

Ma Smith (Actor)

Remember the Night 1939 (Movie)

(Actor)

Of Human Hearts 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Buccaneer 1937 (Movie)

Aunt Charlotte (Actor)

Vivacious Lady 1937 (Movie)

Mrs. Morgan (Actor)

The Gorgeous Hussy 1935 (Movie)

Rachel Jackson (Actor)

The Moon's Our Home 1935 (Movie)

Mrs. Boyce Medford (Actor)

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Good Fairy 1934 (Movie)

(Actor)

Arrowsmith 1930 (Movie)

Mrs Tozer (Actor)

Sandburg's Lincoln (TV Show)

Actor

She Waits (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Chicago-born Beulah Bondi spent many years appearing in theatrical stock companies throughout the USA before making her Broadway debut in 1925 as a 70-year old servant in "One of the Family" (while still in her mid-30s!). After creating the role of the slovenly, gossipy neighbor in the stage play "Street Scene," Bondi earned kudos reprising it in the 1931 film version. With her plain, undistinguished but malleable features, the actress was often cast in older parts: At age 45, she offered a heartbreaking performance as an elderly woman in a nursing home in "Make Way for Tomorrow" (1937). One of Hollywood's truly priceless character players, Bondi was twice Oscar-nominated for her supporting performances in "The Gorgeous Hussy" (1936, as the backwards wife of President Andrew Jackson) and in "Of Human Hearts" (1938, as the doormat wife of stern minister Walter Huston). In the latter, Bondi played mother to James Stewart, which she would later do in the classics "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), and "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), both for director Frank Capra. Whether as the Puritan mother of troublemaking Bonita Granville in "Maid of Salem" (1937), or the mother of the ill-fated Emily Webb in the 1940 screen adaptation of "Our Town," Bondi personified not just the American maternal ideal as the backbone of the culture, but also the common woman of dignity and great strength.

Relationships

Eva Bondy

Mother
lived with Bondi from 1935 until her death in 1941 Bondi managed to get a volume of her mother's poems published in the early 1960s under the title "Worldkins"

EDUCATION

Convent of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary

Montreal , Quebec

Valparaiso University

Valparaiso , Indiana

Francis Shimmer Academy

Mount Carroll , Illinois

Hyde Park High School

Chicago , Illinois

Milestones

1974

Acted in "Sandburg's Lincoln" (NBC)

1972

TV-movie debut, "She Waits" (CBS)

1963

Made final screen appearance in "Tammy and the Doctor"

1959

Cast as Dorothy McGuire's aunt in "A Summer Place"

1957

Reprised role of Granny in the NBC "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production of "On Borrowed Time"

1954

Portrayed a bigot in "Track of the Cat"

1953

Made TV debut in episode of "Medallion Theatre" (CBS)

1953

Played Granny in Broadway revival of "On Borrowed Time"

1948

Was featured in "The Snake Pit"

1946

Again cast as James Stewart's mother in "It's a Wonderful Life"

1942

Appeared in "Watch on the Rhine"

1940

Cast as Mrs. Webb in the film version of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town"

1939

Played Granny in the film version of "On Borrowed Time"

1939

Portrayed James Stewart's mom in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

1938

Received second Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod as James Stewart's mother in "Of Human Hearts"; also played Stewart's mom in "Vivacious Lady"

1937

Offered a rich, beautifully nuanced performance as an elderly woman ignored by her children in "Make Way for Tomorrow"

1936

Earned first Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for "Gorgeous Hussy", playing the wife of US President Andrew Jackson

1931

Feature film debut, recreating stage role of the slovenly, gossipy tenament resident in "Street Scene"

1925

New York stage debut in "Wild Birds"

1925

Broadway debut in "One of the Family", playing a 70-year old servant

1919

Professional stage debut as member of Stuart Walker's stock company in Indianapolis, Indiana; remained with company until 1921

1895

Moved to Valparaiso, Indiana

Played occasional guest role of Martha Corrine Walton in episodes of the CBS family drama "The Waltons"; won 1997 Emmy for episode "The Pony Cart"

Acted in stock companies in Cincinnati, Toledo, and Dayton, Ohio, Baltimore, Maryland and Denver, Colorado; during this time altered spelling of last name

Returned to Broadway to appear in "The Late Christopher Bean"; recreated role for the 1933 film

Made stage acting debut as a child in the title role of local production of "Little Lord Fauntleroy"

Made a series of TV commercials for Oxydol detergent

Bonus Trivia

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Bondi tested for the role of Ma Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940) and was led to believe she had the part. The actress donned appropriate garb and went to live in a migrant camp in Bakersfield, California as research only to return to discover that the role had gone to Jane Darwell.

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Bondi also did a couple of days shooting as Aunt Polly replacing an ill May Robson in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (1938) but Robson recovered and resumed the part.

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