Aline MacMahon

Aline MacMahon

from the trailer for The Search (1948)
Born Aline Laveen MacMahon
(1899-05-03)May 3, 1899
McKeesport, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died October 12, 1991(1991-10-12) (aged 92)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Years active 1921–1975
Spouse(s) Clarence Stein (1928–1975; his death)

Aline Laveen MacMahon[1](May 3, 1899 – October 12, 1991)[2] was an American actress. Her career began on stage in 1921. She worked extensively in film and television until her retirement in 1975. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Dragon Seed (1944).[3][4]

Early life

MacMahon was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania to William Marcus MacMahon (died September 6, 1931) and Jennie (née Simon; died December 31, 1984).[5] Her father was an editor with the Associated Press and the editor of Munsey's Magazine.[6]

Her parents married on July 14, 1898 in Columbus, Ohio. Her father died on September 6, 1931.[6] Her mother Jennie was born in Russia of Jewish descent, and died in 1984, aged 106.[7]

MacMahon was entertaining as early as 1908, when a newspaper article reported "a series of songs and dances by Aline MacMahon" at St. Jude's Church in Brooklyn.[8]


MacMahon was raised in Brooklyn[1] in New York City and educated at Public School 103,[9] Erasmus Hall High School (Brooklyn) and Barnard College.[10]


MacMahon made her professional debut in 1914.[11]

She began appearing on Broadway in 1921 in The Madras House.[12] (Another source says that her first Broadway performance was in The Mirage in 1921.)[2] Her Broadway credits include 24 shows.[12] Her first film role was the Pre-Code Five Star Final (1931);[13] she alternated between Broadway and Hollywood throughout her career.[4]

Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors says of MacMahon (in part) "She proved to be a fine, sympathetic actress with a quick wit and tart tongue who then moved into character roles with ease as she became plumper and more motherly looking."[2]

Personal life

On March 28, 1928, MacMahon married Clarence Stein,[10] an architect and city planner, who founded the Regional Planning Association. He died in 1975. They had no children. MacMahom was chairwoman of the Equity Library Theater in 1950. She organized productions for community theaters and was active in relief charities.[14]


MacMahon died in 1991, aged 92, of pneumonia in New York City,[13] seven years after the death of her mother, Jennie, who died at age 106.


The New York Public Library has a collection of MacMahon's papers that document various aspects of her life. They are housed in the library's Billy Rose Theatre Division.[15]


Dorothy McGuire and Aline MacMahon in Reward Unlimited (1944)


  1. 1 2 "Glad Mr. Pease Resigned". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. April 20, 1911. p. 3. Retrieved August 11, 2016 via
  2. 1 2 3 Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 454. ISBN 9781557835512. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  3. "(Aline MacMahon search)". The Official Academy Awards Database. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  4. 1 2 Aline MacMahon at the Internet Movie Database
  5. Profile,; accessed August 12, 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Former Editor of Munsey's Expires". Montana Butte Standard. Montana, Butte. Associated Press. September 8, 1931. p. 1. Retrieved August 11, 2016 via
  7. "Aline L. MacMahon, 92, Actress Over 50 Years and in 43 Movies". The New York Times. October 13, 1991.
  8. "For St. Jude's Church". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. July 31, 1908. p. 8. Retrieved August 11, 2016 via
  9. "These Schools Are to Follow". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. May 19, 1912. p. 61. Retrieved August 11, 2016 via
  10. 1 2 "Weds Housing Chairman". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. March 29, 1928. p. 3. Retrieved August 11, 2016 via
  11. "Miss Aline MacMahon Makes Her Professional Debut". Brooklyn Life. Brooklyn, NY. April 25, 1914. p. 6. Retrieved August 11, 2016 via
  12. 1 2 "(Aline MacMahon search)". Playbill Vault. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  13. 1 2 "Deaths Elsewhere: Aline MacMahon". Toledo Blade. Associated Press. October 15, 1991. p. 10. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  14. University of Wisconsin Library, Women's Studies archives,; accessed August 12, 2015.
  15. "Aline MacMahon papers 1899-1989". The New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

Census and other data

External links

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