Genevieve Tobin (Genevieve Tobin)

Genevieve Tobin

Actress. Contrary to a popular belief that Genevieve Tobin was born in Dublin, Ireland, her New York City birth is conclusively proven by her legal birth certificate – Number 46157 – of November 29, 1899. Furthermore, in the 1905 New York State Census and 1910 United States Census, only her father, Thomas Tobin, a bank clerk who later was a race track bookmaker, was declared to have been foreign born (Nova Scotia, Dominion of Canada); her mother, Genevieve, was born in Washington, D.C., and she and her sister, Vivian, and brother George, in New York City. Hence, despite the claim, her parents were not from Lancashire, England, or from Ireland. And further, New York City Birth Certificates were never issued to persons not born in New York City; and certainly not to foreigners on their arrival for immigrant inspection at Ellis Island or any other U.S. port or border-crossing. The daughter of a vaudeville performer, Tobin made her film debut in 1910 in Uncle Tom’s Cabin as Eva. She appeared in a few films as child, and formed a double act with her sister Vivian. Their brother, George, also had a brief acting career. Following her education in Paris and New York, Tobin concentrated on a stage career in New York. Although she was seen most often in comedies, she also played the role of Cordelia in a Broadway production of King Lear in 1923. Popular with audiences, she was often praised by critics for her appearance and style rather than for her talent, however in 1929 she achieved a significant success in the play Fifty Million Frenchmen. She introduced and popularized the Cole Porter song “You Do Something to Me” and the success of the role led her back to Hollywood, where she performed regularly in comedy films from the early 1930s. She played prominent supporting roles opposite such performers as Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, Claudette Colbert, Joan Blondell and Kay Francis, but occasionally played starring roles, in films such as Golden Harvest (1933) and Easy to Love (1934). She played secretary Della Street to Warren William’s Perry Mason in The Case of the Lucky Legs (1935). One of her most successful performances was as a bored housewife in the drama The Petrified Forest (1936) opposite Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart. She married the director William Keighley in 1938 and made only a couple more films; her final film before her retirement was No Time for Comedy (1940) with James Stewart and Rosalind Russell. (bio courtesy of: Wikipedia)  Family links:  Spouse:  William Keighley (1889 – 1984)


  • November, 29, 1899
  • USA


  • July, 07, 1995
  • USA


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

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