Beulah Bondi (Beulah Bondi)

Beulah Bondi

Beulah Bondi was born as Beulah Bondy in Valparaiso, Indiana, the daughter of Eva Suzanna (née Marble), an author, and Abraham O. Bondy, who worked in real estate. Bondi began her acting career on the stage at age seven, playing Cedric Errol in the play Little Lord Fauntleroy in a production at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, Indiana. She graduated from the Frances Shimer Academy (later Shimer College) in 1907, and gained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in oratory at Valparaiso University in 1916 and 1918. She made her Broadway debut in Kenneth S. Webb’s One of the Family at the 49th Street Theatre on December 21, 1925. She next appeared in another hit, Maxwell Anderson’s Saturday’s Children in 1926. It was Bondi’s performance in Elmer Rice’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Street Scene, which opened at the Playhouse Theatre on January 10, 1929, that brought Bondi to the movies at the age of 43. Her debut movie role was as “Emma Jones” in Street Scene (1931), which starred Sylvia Sidney, and in which Bondi reprised her stage role, followed by “Mrs. Davidson” in Rain (1932), which starred Joan Crawford and Walter Huston.

Beulah Bondi was one of the first five women to be nominated for an Academy Award in the newly created category of “Best Supporting Actress” for her work in The Gorgeous Hussy, although she lost the award to Gale Sondergaard. Two years later, she was nominated again for Of Human Hearts, and lost again, but her reputation as a character actress kept her employed. She would most often be seen in the role of the mother of the star of the film for the rest of her career, with the exception of Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) as the abandoned Depression-era ‘Ma’ Cooper. She often played mature roles in her early film career even though she was only in her early 40s. Bondi played James Stewart’s mother in four films: It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Human Hearts and Vivacious Lady. In 1940 Bondi played Mrs. Webb in Our Town. Despite the fact that she was known for playing mother figures, Beulah Bondi never married in real life. She died from pulmonary complications caused by broken ribs suffered when she tripped over her cat in her home on January 11, 1981, at age 91.

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Born

  • May, 03, 1889
  • USA
  • Valparaiso, Indiana

Died

  • January, 01, 1981
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • Pulmonary Complications due to injuries sustained in a fall at home.

Other

  • Cremated

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