Hermione Baddeley's main career was on stage, and her revue performances have become the stuff of legend thanks to the dazzling array of characters she presented to the delight of audiences. Film work restricted her and she tended to be typecast as blousy mothers and maids, though within the limits of what she was offered there are some magnificent roles beautifully played.
Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley was born in Shropshire. She went to stage school at an early age and was treading the boards at the age of twelve. She scored her first successes in drama, but was soon in demand for comedy and she joined The Co-optimists revue troop in 1924. The 20s and 30s were the great decades for revue and Baddeley was a major attraction. In 1941 she teamed with Hermione Gingold for Rise Above It.
She still went dramatic occasionally and she was sought as a marquee "name" for an adaptation of Brighton Rock in 1943 to support newcomers Richard Attenborough and Dulcie Gray. Though author Graham Greene hated her performance, the play was a big hit and brought her back to film.
Baddeley had filmed several times before but had made little impression. Her avenging Ida in Brighton Rock made her a name for cinema audiences as well as West End ones. The 50s were full of leading support roles in both comedy and drama culminating in her Oscar-nominated role in Room at the Top.
This role helped establish her in the US and she took A Taste of Honey to Broadway in 1961. After that, she worked mainly in America, guesting on many television shows from Batman to Little House on the Prairie. She was particularly popular on the sitcom Maude in which she appeared over 40 times.
Baddeley married twice and had a long-term relationship with Laurence Harvey. She died in Los Angeles. Her sister Angela became a household name in the role of cook Mrs Bridges in Upstairs Downstairs, and her daughter Pauline Tennant also appeared on stage and in film.
|1927||A Daughter in Revolt|
|1928||The Guns of Loos|
|1947||It Always Rains on Sunday|
|1948||No Room at the Inn|
|1949||Passport to Pimlico|
|1949||Dear Mr Prohack|
|1950||The Woman in Question|
|1951||Hell is Sold Out|
|1951||There is Another Sun|
|1951||Tom Brown's Schooldays|
|1952||Song of Paris|
|1952||Time, Gentlemen, Please!|
|1952||The Pickwick Papers|
|1954||The Belles of St Trinian's|
|1956||Women Without Men|
|1959||Room at the Top|
|1960||Let's Get Married|
|1961||Young, Willing and Eager|
|1964||The Unsinkable Molly Brown|
|1965||Marriage on the Rocks|
|1965||Do Not Disturb|
|1967||The Adventure of Bullwhip Griffin|
|1967||The Happiest Millionaire|
|1972||Up the Front|
|1974||The Black Windmill|
|1980||There Goes the Bride|
|1982||The Secret of NIMH|
Hermione Baddeley at Amazon UK
Hermione Baddeley at Amazon US