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.