Beryl Mercer (Beryl Mercer)

Beryl Mercer

Actress.  She is best known for playing gentle,  long-suffering mothers in Hollywood films.  Born to British parents in Seville,  Spain,  she appeared on the London stage from childhood and moved to the United States in 1916.  She settled in Hollywood in 1929,  after a decade of Broadway experience.  The small,  sad-eyed Mercer was immediately pegged to play maternal roles,  memorably as Lew Ayres’ mother in “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930) and as James Cagney’s mother in “The Public Enemy” (1931).  When she wasn’t fretting over her offspring onscreen,  Mercer was usually seen as a maid,  cook,  or landlady.  Her other films include “Mother’s Boy” (1929),  “Smilin’ Through” (1932),  “Cavalcade” (1933),  “Jane Eyre” (1934),  “The Little Minister” (1934),  “Magnificent Obsession” (1935),  and “Night Must Fall” (1937).  Towards the end of her career Mercer was allowed to stretch her talents a bit and was cast as Queen Victoria in “The Little Princess” (1939) and “The Story of Alexander Graham Bell” (1939),  and as a feisty medium in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1939).  She died soon after at 56,  from a hospital infection following surgery.  Her husband was actor  Holmes Herbert. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)  Family links:  Spouse:  Holmes Edward Herbert (1882 – 1956)


  • August, 13, 1882
  • Spain


  • July, 07, 1939
  • USA


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
  • California
  • USA

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