Beryl Mercer

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Beryl Mercer (1918)

Beryl Mercer (born August 13, 1876 or 1882 in Seville , † July 28, 1939 in Santa Monica , California ) was a Spanish - British film and theater actress.


Beryl Mercer was born in Spain to British parents. Mercer's exact year of birth is controversial, the sources name both 1876 and 1882. Like her mother, the actress Beryl Montague, Mercer embarked on a theater career: in August 1886 she was already playing at the theater in Great Yarmouth . She also worked as an actress in adulthood, starring in Oscar Asche's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in London . In 1906, Mercer played a slave in the premiere of the successful play The Shulamite . With this piece she traveled to the United States on Broadway , where The Shulamite received good reviews. She returned to England, but traveled to the United States again in the mid-1910s. She settled there permanently and played 17 plays on Broadway between 1916 and 1927.

Beryl Mercer made her film debut in the mid-1910s, but her film appearances remained in short supply during the silent film era . It was not until the start of talkies in the late 1920s that she appeared regularly in films and was to work in over 50 films in the ten years up to her death. The plump character actress, only one and a half meters tall, mostly embodied matronly roles such as mothers, wives or housekeepers in supporting roles. In the early 1930s she played the main actor's mother in two film classics: From Lew Ayres ' soldier Paul Bäumer in the anti-war film Nothing New in the West (1930) and as the feeble mother of James Cagney in the gangster film The Public Enemy (1931). In 1933 she had a major supporting role as a cook in the drama Cavalcade , which won three Academy Awards. All of her appearances received a mention in the credits , an indication of her great success as a supporting actress. In the year she died, she could be seen as Queen Victoria both in the children's film The Little Princess and in the biography Love and Life of the telephone maker A. Bell .

She married Maitland Paisley, possibly at the age of 14, but the marriage ended in divorce. Her second marriage to British actor Holmes Herbert in the late 1920s also ended in divorce. Their only child Joan Mercer († 2009) was born in 1917. Beryl Mercer died at the age of 56 or 62 as a result of an operation for unknown reasons.

Filmography (selection)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Beryl Mercer at the Internet Broadway Database
  2. ^ Obituary for Joan Mercer ( Memento June 20, 2014 on WebCite )