Oscar Actors: Bondi, Beulah (Nominee for Gorgeous Hussy and Of Human Hearts)

Career Summary:

Two Best Supporting Actress nominations; one Emmy Award

Beulah Bondi was born in Chicago, May 3, 1889.

Bondi made her first stage appearance at the age of 7 in a small-town production of “Little Lord Fauntleroy.”

After 24 years in a stock and repertory, she made her Broadway debut in “One of the Family” (1925).

Six years and several Broadway productions later, Bondi appeared in the film “Street Scene,” then stayed in Hollywood to play supporting roles in a wide variety of mature characterizations.

Oscar Nominations

A superlative character actress, she was nominated for Oscars for her performances in the Gorgeous Hussy (1936) and Of Human Hearts (1938).

She most often played the role of the star’s mother, with the exception of Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), in which she played the lead, the abandoned Depression-era ‘Ma’ Cooper.

She tended to play mature roles even when she was young in age.  She played Jimmy Stewart’s mother in no les than four films: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Human Hearts, Vivacious Lady, and It’s a Wonderful Life.

In 1940 Bondi played Mrs. Webb, the mother of two children, in the film version of Thornton Wilder classic play, Our Town.

She retired from films in the early 1960s, but could still be seen on the stage and TV in the early 1970s.

Emmy Award

She won an Emmy Award in 1977 for her role in “The Waltons” TV series.

Bondi never got married. She died on January 11, 1981, at age 91.

Oscar Nominations: 2

1936: Supporting Actress, The Gorgeous Hussy
1938: Supporting Actress, Of Human Hearts

Oscar Context

In 1936, Bondi lost the Oscar to Gale Sondergaard in “Anthony Adverse,” and in 1938 to Fay Bainter in “Jezebel.”