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Edna May Oliver

Edna May Oliver - Born November 9, 1883 - November 9, 1942

With her non-standard movie star looks, Edna May Oliver was often cast as a supporting character who was a spinster, or nanny, or older companion in various films. But she also was the lead in several b-movies, for example the Hildegard Withers films The Penguin Pool Murder 1932, Murder On The Blackboard 1934 and Murder On A Honeymoon 1935, and was called upon to be an anti-stereotype in those films and others (usually in the case of simply being smarter than everyone else onscreen). Though played for laughs, her characters would physically attack bad guys/women in some films (Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield) , or she would be the sole dissenting opinion about some other persons character (and would then later be proved right, for example in Ladies of the Jury, 1932.)

She appeared as the protective Miss Pross in the 1935 Tale of Two Cities, and the equally protective (but zanier) Aunt Betsy in David Copperfield, also from 1935.

Original page Feb 2014 | Updated Dec 2017

Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946, 2d ed.

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