Oscar Actors: Baddeley, Hermione (Nominee, Shortest Role Ever))–Background, Career, Awards (Cum Advantage, Tony Nom)

Updated Sep 13, 2021
Hermione Baddeley Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance:

Social Class:





Teacher/Inspirational Figure:

Radio Debut:

TV Debut:

Stage Debut: age 6; London debut, aged 12

Broadway Debut:

Film Debut:

Breakthrough Role:

Oscar Role: Room at the Top, 1959; aged

Other Noms:

Other Awards: Tony Nom. 1963 (after Oscar nom)

Frequent Collaborator: Hermione

Screen Image:

Last Film:

Career Output: 1927

Film Career Span:

Marriage: Lord; General


Death: 1986; aged 79


Born Hermione Clinton-Baddeley on November 13, 1906 in Broseley, England; died in 1986.

A stage actress from the age of six, Baddeley made her London debut at 12 and played her first film role at 22.

She appeared in numerous plays and many films, typically in ribald character roles. She was nominated for a Supporting Oscar for her performance in “Room at the Top” (1959), starring Simone Signoret.

In the early 1960s, Baddeley began appearing in British and American stage, TV, and film productions. She was memorable as Mrs. Naugatuck, the hard-drinking maid, in the TV series Maude.

Sister Actress

Her sister, Angela Baddeley (b. Madeleine Angela Clinton-Baddeley, July 4, 1904-1976, London), was also successful stage actress but appeared rarely in films. Angela became familiar to US TV audiences as Mrs. Bridges, the cook, in the “Upstairs Downstairs” TV series.

Oscar Alert

In 1959, Hermione Baddeley competed for the Supporting Actress Oscar with Shelley Winters (who won) in “The Diary of Anne Frank,” Susan Kohner in “Imitation of Life,” Juanita Moore in “Imitation of Love,” and Thelma Ritter in “Pillow Talk.”

Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley (November 13, 1906 – 19 August 1986) was an English actress of theatre, film and television.

She typically played brash, vulgar characters, often referred to as “brassy” or “blowsy.”

She found her milieu in revue, in which she played from the 1930s to the 1950s, co-starring with the English actress Hermione Gingold.

Baddeley was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Room at the Top (1959) and a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore in 1963.

She portrayed Ellen the maid in the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins. She voiced Madame Adelaide Bonfamille in the 1970 Disney animated film, The Aristocats.

In 1975 she won Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in TV for her portrayal of Nell Naugatuck on the TV series Maude.

Baddeley was born in Broseley, Shropshire, to W.H. Clinton-Baddeley; her mother, Louise Bourdin, was French. Baddeley was a descendant of British American War of Independence General Sir Henry Clinton. Her elder sister, Angela Baddeley, was also an actress. Her half-brother, William Baddeley, was a Church of England clergyman who became Dean of Brisbane and Rural Dean of Westminster.

An early stage appearance came in 1923 when she appeared in Charles McEvoy’s play The Likes of Her in London’s West End.[

Baddeley was known for supporting performances in such films as Passport to Pimlico (1949), Tom Brown’s Schooldays and Scrooge (both 1951), The Pickwick Papers (1952), The Belles of St Trinian’s (1954), Mary Poppins (as Ellen, the maidservant), and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (both 1964), although she first began making films back in the 1920s.

One of her more important roles was in Brighton Rock (1947), in which she played Ida, one of main characters, whose personal investigation into the disappearance of friend threatens the anti-hero Pinkie.

She also had a stage career. She had a long professional relationship with Noël Coward, appearing in many of his plays throughout the 1940s and 1950s. The most successful was her teaming with Hermione Gingold in Coward’s comedy Fallen Angels, though the two women were reportedly “no longer on speaking terms” by the end of the run.

Baddeley was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Simone Signoret’s best friend in Jack Clayton’s Room at the Top (1959).

With 2 minutes and 19 seconds of screen time, her role is the shortest ever to be nominated for an Oscar Award.

In 1960 she played prostitute Doll Tearsheet in the BBC’s series of Shakespeare history plays An Age of Kings, acting alongside her sister Angela as Mistress Quickly.

In 1963, she was nominated for Broadway’s Tony Award as Best Actress (Dramatic) for The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore.

She was known to American audiences for roles in Bewitched, The Cara Williams Show, Batman, Little House on the Prairie, Camp Runamuck and Maude (playing the title character’s second housekeeper, Nell Naugatuck). Toward the end of her career, Baddeley was also a voice-over actress, including roles in The Aristocats (1970) and The Secret of NIMH (1982).

In 1928 Baddeley married English aristocrat and socialite David Tennant (third son of Edward Tennant, 1st Baron Glenconner). She arrived an hour late for the wedding–misremembering the time booked for the ceremony.

They rented Teffont Evias Manor, which became known for their boisterous parties (including mixed naked bathing in the goldfish pond).

She had a daughter, Pauline Laetitia Tennant (born 6 February 1927 – died 6 December 2008); the couple divorced in 1937.

In 1940 Baddeley married Major John Henry (“Dozey”) Willis, of the 12th Lancers, son of Major-General Edward Willis, Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. They divorced in 1946.

She had brief relationship with actor Laurence Harvey, a man 22 years her junior. Although Harvey proposed marriage to her, Baddeley thought the age difference was too great.

Baddeley was known for her devotion to animals. She dedicated her autobiography, The Unsinkable Hermione Baddeley, to her pet dog. She continued to work in film and television until shortly before the end of her life.

She died following a series of strokes on August 19, 1986, aged 79, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

She was survived by two children, Pauline Tennant and David, from her first marriage.


A Daughter in Revolt (1927) as Calamity Kate
The Guns of Loos (1928) as Mavis
Caste (1930) as Polly Eccles
Royal Cavalcade (1935) as Barmaid
Kipps (1941) as Miss Mergle
It Always Rains on Sunday (1947) as Mrs. Spry
Brighton Rock (1947) as Ida Arnold
No Room at the Inn (1948) as Mrs. Waters
Quartet (1948) as Beatrice Sunbury (segment “The Kite”)
Passport to Pimlico (1949) as Edie Randall
Dear Mr. Prohack (1949) as Eve Prohack
The Woman in Question (1950) as Mrs. Finch
Hell Is Sold Out (1951) as Mme. Louise Menstrier
There Is Another Sun (1951) as Sarah
Scrooge (1951) as Mrs. Cratchit
Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1951) as Sally Harrowell
Song of Paris (1952) as Mrs. Ibbetson
Time Gentlemen, Please! (1952) as Emma Stebbins
The Pickwick Papers (1952) as Mrs. Bardell
Cosh Boy (1953) as Mrs. Collins
Counterspy (1953) as Madame Del Mar
The Belles of St. Trinian’s (1954) as Miss Drownder
Women Without Men (1956) as Grace
Room at the Top (1959) as Elspeth
Jet Storm (1959) as Mrs. Satterly
Expresso Bongo (1959) as Penelope
Let’s Get Married (1960) as Mrs. O’Grady
Midnight Lace (1960) as Dora Hammer
Rag Doll (1961) as Princess
Information Received (1961) as Maudie
The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) as Buttercup Grogan
Mary Poppins (1964) as Ellen, The Domestic
Harlow (1965) as Marie Dressler
Marriage on the Rocks (1965) as Jeannie MacPherson
Do Not Disturb (1965) as Vanessa Courtwright
Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967) as Miss Irene Chesney
The Happiest Millionaire (1967) as Mrs. Worth
The Aristocats (1970) as Madame Adelaide Bonfamille (voice)
Up the Front (1972) as Monique
The Black Windmill (1974) as Hetty
South Riding (TV adaptation) (1974) as Mrs. Beddows
C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979) as Mrs. Flower
There Goes the Bride (1980) as Daphne Drimond
The Secret of NIMH (1982) as Auntie Shrew