Birthday: November 13, 1906
Nationality: American, British
Died At Age: 79
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley
Born Country: England
Born in: Broseley, Shropshire, England
Famous as: Actress
Spouse/Ex-: David Pax Tennant (m. 1928 – div. 1937), J. H. Willis (m. 1940 – div. 1946)
children: Pauline Tennant
Died on: August 19, 1986
place of death: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death: Stroke
Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley was an English character actress known for playing vulgar and brash characters, often referred to as "blowsy" or "brassy". She earned an Academy Award nomination for playing a supporting role in the 1959 film ‘Room at the Top’. She also won a Tony Award for her performance in the 1963 play ‘The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore’. On television, the actress was known for her portrayal of Nell Naugatuck in the drama ‘Maude’ for which she received a Golden Globe Award. Baddeley was extremely devoted to animals and dedicated her autobiography to her pet dog. However, unlike her professional life, her private life wasn’t that glorious. After two failed marriages, she had a brief relationship with Laurence Harvey, an actor who was 22 years her junior. Baddeley died after a series of strokes in August 1986 in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 79.
Childhood & Early Life
Hermione Baddeley was born on 13 November 1906 in Broseley, Shropshire, England, to W.H. Clinton-Baddeley and Louise Bourdin. Her older sister, Angela, was also an actress. They had a half-brother named William Baddeley, who was a Church of England priest.
Baddeley was a descendent of Sir Henry Clinton, an English-American Revolutionary War General.
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Hermione Baddeley made her acting debut on stage in 1918 and eventually became famous in London stage revues and comedies prior to the World War II. During this time, she performed numerous times with Hermione Gingold.
She made her big screen debut in 1927 when she appeared in the silent comedy ‘A Daughter in Revolt’. This was followed by her roles in the drama films ‘Caste’ and ‘Royal Cavalcade’.
After appearing in the anthology flick ‘Quartet’ in 1948, the actress starred as Edie Randall in ‘Passport to Pimlico’, a British comedy also featuring Stanley Holloway and Margaret Rutherford. The film was successful and earned the British Academy Film Award nomination for Best British Film.
Baddeley featured in the mystery film ‘The Woman in Question’ in 1950. Directed by Anthony Asquith, it was loosely adapted into the 1954 Bollywood film ‘Andha Naal.’
She was cast in Michael Anderson's 'Hell Is Sold Out', Lewis Gilbert’s ‘There Is Another Sun’ and Gordon Parry's ‘Tom Brown's Schooldays’, all of which were released in 1951.
She acted in ‘The Belles of St Trinian's’, a comedy film starring Alastair Sim in a double role, as the headmistress Miss Fritton and her identical twin brother Clarence.
In the year 1959, Baddeley earned an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Simone Signoret's friend in the flick ‘Room at the Top’. With just less than three minutes of screen time, hers was the shortest role to earn an Academy Award nomination.
The actress played the role of Mrs. O'Grady in the comedy drama ‘Let's Get Married’ in 1960. Starring Anne Aubrey and Anthony Newley, the film follows a medical student, who after been expelled from college, rebuilds his confidence through his relationship with a fashion model.
In 1964, she appeared in the musical film ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’ as well as in the musical fantasy ‘Mary Poppins,’ which earned a total of thirteen Academy Awards nominations.
In 1965, Baddeley had a role in the romantic comedy ‘Do Not Disturb’. Directed by Ralph Levy, the story follows a married couple who move to English after the husband gets transferred there by his company.
She lent her voice to the character of Madame Adelaide Bonfamille in the animated romantic adventure comedy ‘The Aristocats’ in 1970.
The actress then featured in the television adaption of Winifred Holtby’s novel ‘South Riding’ as Mrs. Beddows. The show premiered in 1974. After this, she had a voice role in ‘The Secret of NIMH’ in 1982.
One of Hermione Baddeley’s significant movie roles was in the 1947 gangster film ‘Brighton Rock’ in which she portrayed the character of Ida, whose private investigation into the departure of an acquaintance threatens the anti-hero Pinkie.
Family & Personal Life
In 1928, Hermione Baddeley married socialite and aristocrat David Tennant, the son of Edward Tennant, 1st Baron Glenconner. The couple had two children, daughter Pauline Laetitia Tennant and son David Edward Wyndham Tennant, before divorcing in 1937.
Baddeley married J. H. "Dozey" Willis in 1940 and divorced him six years later. She then had a brief relationship with British actor Laurence Harvey, who was 22 years her junior. Although he proposed marriage to her, she thought their age difference was too much.
An avid animal lover, the English actress dedicated her autobiography titled ‘The Unsinkable Hermione Baddeley’ to her dog.
On 19 August 1986, she died after a series of strokes in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 79.