Oscar Actors: Carroll, Nancy (Nominee)–Social Background, Career, Awards

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Nancy Carroll (born Ann Veronica Lahiff; November 19, 1903 – August 6, 1965) was an American actress.

Of Irish parentage, the daughter of Thomas and Ann Lahiff, Carroll was born in New York City. Her education came at Holy Trinity School in New York, but she left there at age 16 to work as a stenographer in an office of a lace manufacturer.

Carroll and her sister Elsie once performed a dancing act in a local contest of amateur talent. This led her to a stage career and then on to screen stardom. She began her acting career in Broadway musicals. She became a successful actress in sound films because her musical background enabled her to play in movie musicals of the 1930s. Her film debut was in Ladies Must Dress in 1927.

In 1928 she made eight films. Easy Come, Easy Go, co-starring Richard Dix, made her a movie star.

In 1929 she starred in The Dance of Life with Hal Skelly, and The Wolf of Wall Street along with George Bancroft and Olga Baclanova. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1930 for The Devil’s Holiday.

Among her other films are Laughter (1930), Paramount on Parade (1930), Hot Saturday (1932) with Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933) directed by James Whale, and Broken Lullaby aka The Man I Killed (1932) directed by Ernst Lubitsch.

Under contract to Paramount Pictures, Carroll often rejected the roles offered her, and she earned a reputation as a recalcitrant and uncooperative actress.

In spite of her ability to successfully tackle light comedies, melodramas, and even musicals, and as well as garnering considerable praise by the critics and public – she received the most fan mail of any star in the early 1930s – she was released from her contract by the studio.

In the mid-1930s under a contract with Columbia Pictures, she made four rather insignificant films and was no longer an A-list actress.

Carroll retired from films in 1938, returned to the stage, and starred as the mother in the early television series The Aldrich Family in 1950.

In the following year, she guest-starred in the TV version of The Egg and I, starring her daughter, Patricia Kirkland.

On August 6, 1965, Carroll was found dead after failing to arrive at the theater for a performance.

The cause of her death was an aneurysm. She was 61 years old.


1927 Ladies Must Dress Mazie
1928 Abie’s Irish Rose Rosemary Murphy Incomplete
Easy Come, Easy Go Barbara Quayle Lost film
Chicken a La King Maisie Devoe Lost film
The Water Hole Judith Endicott Lost film
Manhattan Cocktail Babs Clark Lost film except for one-minute montage sequence by Slavko Vorkapich
The Shopworn Angel Daisy Heath (*incomplete; Library of Congress)
1929 The Wolf of Wall Street Gert
Sin Sister Pearl Lost film
Close Harmony Marjorie Merwin
The Dance of Life Bonny Lee King
Illusion Claire Jernigan
Sweetie Barbara Pell
1930 Dangerous Paradise Alma Alternate title: Two Against Death
Honey Olivia Dangerfield
The Devil’s Holiday Hallie Hobart Nominated for Best Actress Academy Award
Laughter Peggy Gibson
Paramount on Parade Herself cameo appearance
Follow Thru Lora Moore
1931 Stolen Heaven Mary
The Night Angel Yula Martini
Personal Maid Nora Ryan
1932 Broken Lullaby Fraulein Elsa Alternate title: The Man I Killed
Wayward Daisy Frost
Hot Saturday Ruth Brock
Scarlet Dawn Tanyusha Krasnoff
Under-Cover Man Lora Madigan
1933 Child of Manhattan Madeleine McGonegle
The Woman Accused Glenda O’Brien
The Kiss Before the Mirror Maria Held
I Love That Man Grace Clark
1934 Springtime for Henry Julia Jelliwell
Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round Sally Marsh Alternate title: Keep ‘Em Laughing
Jealousy Josephine “Jo” Douglas O’Roarke
1935 I’ll Love You Always Nora Clegg
After the Dance Anne Taylor
Atlantic Adventure Helen Murdock
1938 That Certain Age Grace Bristow
There Goes My Heart Dorothy Moore


1950–1951 The Aldrich Family Alice Aldrich #2 Unknown episodes
1951 Faith Baldwin Romance Theatre 1 episode
The Egg and I Betty’s mother Unknown episodes
1959 The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen Fanny Wilson 1 episode
1961 Naked City Bernice Hacker 1 episode
1962 The United States Steel Hour 2 episodes
1963 Rockabye the Infantry Hortense Tyler Television movie
1963 Going My Way Nora Callahan “Cornelius Come Home” (her final screen role on ABC-TV)