Lucile Gleason

Lucile Webster Gleason (February 6, 1888 May 18, 1947) was an American stage and screen actress. Gleason was also a civic worker who was active in film colony projects.

Lucile Gleason
Lucile Webster in the Broadway production
of George S. Kaufman's
The Butter and Egg Man (1925)
Lucile Webster

February 6, 1888
DiedMay 18, 1947 (1947-05-19) (aged 59)
Brentwood, California, U.S.
James Gleason
(m. 1905)
ChildrenRussell Gleason

Early life

Lucile Webster was born on February 6, 1888, in Pasadena, California.


Lucile Webster went on stage as a teen working with her father's stock company. After she married actor James Gleason, she realized stage success in New York City in a production of The Shannons of Broadway (1927), written by her husband. The play was adapted for a 1929 film of the same name, and was later made into the film Goodbye Broadway (1938).


Gleason's motion picture career started with several movies in 1929 and continued until 1945. The Gleasons continued to perform together in Hollywood. In 1929 they co-starred in The Shannons of Broadway.[1] In 1945, they made The Clock, with Lucile playing the role of Mrs. Al Henry, the wife of her husband's character.

Higgins Family films

Their son, Russell, was paired with his parents in the farcical family comedy, The Higgins Family, in 1938. The story centers around Lucile's performance in two radio programs which threaten to derail her husband's advertising business. The trio was also featured in Grandpa Goes to Town, another Higgins saga, in 1940.[2]


She was a vice-president of the Screen Actors Guild[3] and was a member of the Hollywood U.S.O. and the Veterans' Service Council. In 1947 she was named Mother of 1947 in a Mother's Day observance conducted by the U.S.O. In the 1930s Gleason served on the advisory board of the Federal Theater Project. On several occasions she was an unsuccessful candidate for political office. In 1944 Gleason ran for the Assembly from the 59th District in California. In 1946 she was defeated by then incumbent Secretary of State Frank Jordan.

Personal life

Gleason became the wife of actor James Gleason in 1905, when the couple married in Oakland, California. She took his surname as her professional and legal surname.

Her only child was actor Russell Gleason (1908-1945), whose most prominent role came in the Academy Award-winning version of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), in which he played the role of Private Mueller.

On December 26, 1945, Russell Gleason was in New York City when he fell to his death out of a fourth story window in the Hotel Sutton. He had been awaiting deployment to Europe with his regiment in the hotel, which the army had commandeered to house the troops. Reports varied, some saying the fall was accidental, while others stating it was a suicide.[4]


Gleason died in her sleep, apparently of heart disease in 1947,[5] aged 59, at her home in Brentwood, California.


Year Title Role Notes
1929The Shannons of BroadwayEmma Shannon
1931The Pagan LadyNellie
1931Girls About TownMrs. Benjamin Thomas
1931Nice WomenMrs. Girard
1932Girl of the RioMatron
1933Don't Bet on LoveMrs. Gilbert
1933The Solitaire ManMrs. Arthur Peabody
1933Love, Honor, and Oh Baby!Flo Bowen
1934BelovedThe Duchess
1934Woman UnafraidAugusta Winthrop
1934I Like It That WayMrs. Anderson
1934A Successful FailureMrs. Cushing
1936Klondike AnnieBig Tess
1936The Ex-Mrs. BradfordMrs. Hutchins
1936Rhythm on the RangePenelope 'Penny' Ryland
1936Red Lights AheadMolly 'Ma' Wallace
1937Navy BluesAunt Beulah
1937First LadyMrs. Ives
1938The Higgins FamilyLillian Higgins
1938The Nurse from Brooklyn'Ma' Hutchins
1938The Beloved BratMiss Brewster
1939My Wife's RelativesLil Higgins
1939Should Husbands Work?
1939The Covered Trailer
1939Money to Burn
1940Grandpa Goes to Town
1940Lucky PartnersEthel's Mother
1940Earl of PuddlestoneLil Higgins
1941The Gay FalconVera Gardner
1942She's in the ArmySgt. Hannah Walters
1943Stage Door CanteenHerself
1944Take It BigSophie
1945The ClockMrs. Al Henry
1945Don't Fence Me InMrs. Prentiss(final film role)


  1. "(movie theater advertisements)". Indiana, Indianapolis. The Indianapolis News. February 3, 1930. p. 3. Retrieved January 17, 2016 via
  2. Walker, Paul (April 26, 1940). "'Grandpa' at the Rio: 'Black Friday,' Senate". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. p. 17. Retrieved January 17, 2016 via
  3. "Film Actors' Guild Headed by Arnold". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. September 16, 1940. p. 9. Retrieved January 17, 2016 via
  4. "Russell Gleason". Find a Grave. Archived from the original on January 11, 2002. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  5. "Lucile Gleason Dies". Texas, Waco. The Waco News-Tribune. May 19, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved January 18, 2016 via


  • Fresno Bee, "Actress Lucile Gleason Dies In Hollywood", May 19, 1947, p. 3
  • Los Angeles Times, "Lucile Gleason, Film Actress, Dies in Sleep", May 19, 1947, p. A1
  • Oakland Tribune, "Gleasons Score At Grand Lake", October 28, 1938, p. 37
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