Gertrude Astor

Gertrude Astor (born Gertrude Irene Eyster; November 9, 1887 – November 9, 1977)[1] was an American motion picture character actress, who began her career playing trombone on a riverboat.

Gertrude Astor
Gertrude Irene Eyster

(1887-11-09)November 9, 1887
DiedNovember 9, 1977(1977-11-09) (aged 90)
Years active1915–1966


Astor was born in Lakewood, Ohio, to a working-class family. She is no relation to the Astor family. Of German descent, Astor joined a woman's band as a trombone player and toured the states. In New York she left the band to obtain film work and got a job as an extra before her career took off. Astor was a prolific performer, between 1915 and 1962 she appeared in over 250 movies. Her first known credit is in a Biograph short in 1915. She then became a contract player at Universal. A tall, angular and beautiful woman, Astor frequently towered over the leading men of the era; thus, she was frequently utilized in comedy roles as aristocrats, gold-diggers, and "heroine's best pal".[2]

Her best-known silent appearances were as the visiting stage star in Stage Struck (1925) with Gloria Swanson, as the vamp who plants stolen money on Harry Langdon in The Strong Man (1926), and as (Aunt Susan's) Flora Finch's niece, and traveling companion in The Cat and the Canary (1927).

Astor worked prolifically at Hal Roach studios with such headliners as Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, and especially Charley Chase. She was also kept busy at Columbia Pictures' short subjects unit.

She continued to play bits in feature films throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. She was briefly glimpsed as the first murder victim in the Sherlock Holmes adventure The Scarlet Claw and was among the ranks of dress extras in 1956's Around the World in Eighty Days. Her last appearance was in John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

In her later years, Astor was a welcome guest at several gatherings of the Laurel and Hardy fan club, The Sons of the Desert, and became an honorary member of the Way Out West tent.

She died on her 90th birthday in Woodland Hills, California, from a stroke. She is interred in the Abbey of Psalms at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[3]

Selected filmography


  1. Silent Film Necrology, 2nd Edition c.2001 by Eugene M. Vazzana ISBN 0-7864-1059-0
  2. Gertrude Astor bio by Bruce Elder;
  3. Gertrude Astor; memorial
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