Alice Brady

For the character in The Brady Bunch seen in the middle of the 9 intro subscreens, see Alice Nelson.
Alice Brady

In 1916
Born Mary Rose Brady
(1892-11-02)November 2, 1892
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died October 28, 1939(1939-10-28) (aged 46)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Resting place Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Occupation Actress
Years active 1914–1939
Spouse(s) James L. Crane (1919–1922; divorced); 1 son
Children Donald Crane[1]

Alice Brady (born Mary Rose Brady, November 2, 1892 – October 28, 1939) was an American actress who began her career in the silent film era and survived the transition into talkies. She worked until six months before her death from cancer in 1939. Her films include My Man Godfrey (1936), in which she played the flighty mother of Carole Lombard's character, and In Old Chicago (1937) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1960, Brady was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6201 Hollywood Blvd. for her contribution to motion pictures,[2] making her one of fewer than a hundred Oscar-winning female actors in Hollywood history to receive a star.


Mary Rose Brady was born in New York City. Her father, William A. Brady, was an important theatrical producer.[3] Her mother, Rose Marie Rene, died in 1896.

She was interested at an early age in becoming an actress. She first went on the stage when she was 14 and got her first job on Broadway in 1911 at the age of 18, in a show with which her father was associated.[4] In 1913 she appeared with John Barrymore in A Thief for a Night (adapted by P. G. Wodehouse and playwright John Stapleton from Wodehouse's novel, A Gentleman of Leisure) at McVicker's Theatre in Chicago.[5] She continued to perform on Broadway (often in shows her father produced) consistently for the next 22 years. In 1931 she appeared in the premiere of Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra.[6] Her step-mother was actress Grace George (1879–1961), whom her father married when Alice was a child. Her half-brother was William A. Brady Jr, the son of her father and Grace George.

Brady's father moved into movie production and presentation in 1913,[7] with his World Film Corporation, and Brady soon followed along after him, making her first silent feature appearance in As Ye Sow in 1914. She appeared in 53 films in the next 10 years, all while continuing to perform on stage, the film industry at the time being centered in New York.[8]

In 1923, she stopped appearing in films to concentrate on stage acting, and did not appear on the screen again until 1933, when she made the move to Hollywood and M-G-M's When Ladies Meet become her first talking picture. From then on she worked frequently until her death, making another 25 films in seven years. Her final film was Young Mr. Lincoln (1939).

Personal life

Brady was married to actor James Crane from 1919 to 1922, when they divorced. They co-starred in three silent films together: His Bridal Night (1919), Sinners (1920) and A Dark Lantern (1920). The couple had one child, Donald.


Alice Brady died from cancer on October 28, 1939, five days before her 47th birthday.[8]


For her portrayal of Mrs. Molly O'Leary — a fictionalized version of Catherine O'Leary – in 1937's In Old Chicago, Brady won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[9] She had been nominated for the same award the year before as well, for her work in My Man Godfrey.

At the Academy Award presentation dinner, Brady's Oscar Award, a plaque (statuettes were not awarded for the Supporting categories until 1943) was stolen by a man who came onstage to accept the award on the absent actress's behalf. It was never recovered, and the impostor was never tracked down. The Academy issued a replacement plaque which was later presented to Brady.[10]


A sample of her more than 80 films includes:


Tangled Fates (1916)
  • The Boss (1915 World Film) Lost
  • A Cup of Chance (1915 General Film)
  • The Lure of Woman (1915 World) (Incomplete; Library of Congress)
  • The Rack (1915 World) Lost
  • The Ballet Girl (1916 World) Lost
  • The Woman in 47 (1916 World) (Extant; BFI National Film & TV, London)
  • Then I'll Come Back to You (1916 World) Lost
  • Tangled Fates (1916 World) Lost
  • La Bohème (1916 World) La vie de Bohème (*short) (Extant; Geo. Eastman House)
  • Miss Petticoats (1916 World) (Extant; Geo. Eastman House)
  • The Gilded Cage (1916 World) (*Extant; Library of Congress, Geo. Eastman, BFI, London)
  • Bought and Paid For (1916 World) Lost
  • A Woman Alone (1917) Lost
  • A Hungry Heart (1917) Lost
  • The Dancer's Peril (1917) (*Extant; DVD Grapevine video, Geo. Eastman, Cineteca Del Friuli)
  • Darkest Russia (1917) (Incomplete; Library of Congress)
  • Maternity (1917) Lost
  • The Divorce Game (1917) Lost
  • A Self-Made Widow (1917) Lost
  • Betsy Ross (1917) (*extant; online, Grapevine DVD)
  • A Maid of Belgium (1917)
  • Her Silent Sacrifice (1917) (*extant; Library of Congress)
  • Woman and Wife (1918)
  • The Knife (1918)
  • The Spurs of Sybil (1918)
  • The Trap (1918 World)
  • At the Mercy of Men (1918 Select)
  • The Ordeal of Rosetta (1918 Select)
  • The Whirlpool (1918 Select)
  • The Death Dance (1918 Select)
  • The Better Half (1918 Select)
  • Her Great Chance (1918 Select)
  • In the Hollow of Her Hand (1918 Select)
  • The Indestructible Wife (1919 Select)
  • The End of the Road (1919 Public Health Films)
  • The World to Live In (1919 Select)
  • Marie Ltd. (1919 Select)
  • The Redhead (1919 Select)
  • His Bridal Night (1919 Select)
  • The Fear Market (1920 Realart)
  • Sinners (1920 Realart)
  • A Dark Lantern (1920 Realart)
  • The New York Idea (1920 Realart) (*extant; George Eastman House)
  • Out of the Chorus (1921 Realart)
  • The Land of Hope (1921 Realart) Lost
  • Little Italy (1921 Realart) Lost
  • Dawn of the East (1921 Paramount-Realart ) Lost
  • Hush Money (1921 Paramount) Lost
  • A Trip to Paramountown (1922) (*short)
  • Missing Millions (1922 Paramount) Lost
  • Anna Ascends (1922 Paramount) (*6 min. fragment)
  • The Leopardess (1923 Paramount) Lost
  • The Snow Bride (1923 Paramount) Lost


Clip from My Man Godfrey (1936), with Brady as Angelica Bullock


External links

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