Alison Skipworth

Alison Skipworth (born Alison Mary Elliott Margaret Groom; 25 July 1863 – 5 July 1952) was an English stage and screen actress.

Alison Skipworth
from the trailer for
The Casino Murder Case (1935)
Alison Mary Elliott Margaret Groom

(1863-07-25)25 July 1863
London, England
Died5 July 1952(1952-07-05) (aged 88)
New York City, New York, US
Years active18941938
Spouse(s)Frank Markham Skipworth (18821929)

Early years

Skipworth was born in London. She was the daughter of Dr. Richard Ebenezer Groom and Elizabeth Rodgers, and she had a private education.[1]


Alison Skipworth made her first stage appearance at Daly's Theatre in London in 1894, in A Gaiety Girl. Her first American performance came the following year at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. She sang in light opera in An Artist's Model.[1] In this production she served as understudy to Marie Tempest. After performing in two London plays, Skipworth returned to the United States, and made it her home. She joined the company of Daniel Frohman at the Lyceum. There she made her debut as Mrs. Ware in The Princess and the Butterfly in 1897.

In 1905 and 1906 Skipworth toured with Viola Allen in three productions of Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It. In the following years she played with James K. Hackett and John Drew, Jr., among other theatre celebrities. Productions in which she was featured are The Swan, The Enchanted April, The Grand Duchess and the Waiter, Mrs. Dane's Defence and Marseilles.


Skipworth appeared in her first film in 1912, A Mardi Gras Mix-Up. The same year she performed in The Pilgrimage, Into the Jungle, and A Political Kidnapping. She excelled in the new sound medium in films which arrived at the close of the 1920s. In 1930 she made her first talkie, Strictly Unconventional. Skipworth appeared opposite W. C. Fields as his foil in four films: If I Had a Million (1932), Tillie and Gus (1933), Alice in Wonderland (1933), and Six of a Kind (1934). Her film career continued until 1938 with many major supporting roles. Her later screen credits include The Casino Murder Case, The Girl from 10th Avenue, King of the Newsboys, Wide Open Faces, and Ladies in Distress.

Personal life

In 1882, Skipworth married Frank Markham Skipworth, an artist for whom she modeled;[2] they later divorced.[1] Nicknamed "Skippy", Skipworth resided in an ordinary Hollywood flat, drove a Ford, and drank tea daily in her own garden each afternoon when she was not working.


Skipworth died of natural causes in 1952 at her home in New York City, three weeks short of her 89th birthday.


See also


  1. Aaker, Everett (2013). George Raft: The Films. McFarland. p. 31. ISBN 9780786493135. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  2. Nissen, Axel (2007). Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties. McFarland. pp. 189–196. ISBN 9780786427468. Retrieved 16 May 2018.


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