May Boley

May Blossom Boley[1] (May 29, 1881 – January 7, 1963) was an American actress known for her role as Whale Oil Rosie in Moby Dick (1930).[2]

May Boley
May Blossom Boley

(1881-05-29)May 29, 1881
DiedJanuary 7, 1963(1963-01-07) (aged 81)
Spouse(s)Lt. Frederick Lindsley Nicholson (1901–?)


Besides being an actress, Boley was a dancer. An article in an 1898 issue of a newspaper commented on "the grace with which she accomplished a difficult solo dance".[3] In 1900, she was a member of the Alice Nielsen Opera Company.[4] Her last stage appearance in New York was in the musical Jubilee.[5] As a singer in the musical Hit the Deck (1927), Boley introduced the popular song "Hallelujah".[6]


Boley starred in The Great Pie Mystery (1931) with Harry Gribbon, Alma Bennett, Harry Myers, Dick Stewart, George Gray and Julia Griffith;[7] Hail, the Princess (1930) with Monte Collins and Alma Bennett;[7] Beneath the Law (1929) with Bobby Clark and Paul McCullough;[8] and Richard Carle in "The Warrior" (1928) with James Sullivan.[9] She also starred in The Women (1939),[10] and Dangerous Curves (1929) as Mrs Spinelli.[11]

Ethan Mordden, in his book Sing for Your Supper: The Broadway Musical in the 1930s, wrote that Boley resembled Elsa Maxwell.[12]

Personal life

On August 2, 1901, in New York City, Boley married Lieutenant Frederick Lindsley Nicholson, a British Army officer from Putney Hill, London, England.[1]


On January 7, 1963, Boley died in Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital following a long illness. She was 81.[13]



  1. "English Army Officer Weds Pretty May Boley". The Evening World. New York, New York City. August 3, 1901. p. 3. Retrieved August 2, 2018 via
  2. Ellenberger, Allan R. (1 May 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland Publishing. p. 37. ISBN 9780786450190.
  3. "Friends of Last Week". The Washington Times. D.C., Washington. November 27, 1898. p. 16. Retrieved August 2, 2018 via
  4. "Aside". Evening Star. District of Columbia, Washington. February 3, 1900. p. 21. Retrieved August 2, 2018 via
  5. "May Boley Dies". The Bridgeport Telegram. Connecticut, Bridgeport. Associated Press. January 9, 1963. p. 29.
  6. "Ex-Musical, Film Star May Boley Dies at 81". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. January 8, 1963. p. 27. Retrieved August 3, 2018 via
  7. Bradley 2009, p. 163.
  8. Bradley 2009, p. 191.
  9. Bradley 2009, p. 427.
  10. Reid, John (2005). Movies Magnificent: 150 Must-See Cinema Classics. p. 238. ISBN 9781411650671.
  11. Reid, John Howard (1 August 2011). Silent Movies & Early Sound Films on DVD: New Expanded Edition. p. 397. ISBN 9780557433353.
  12. Mordden, Ethan (7 April 2015). Sing for Your Supper: The Broadway Musical in the 1930s. St. Martin's Press. p. 85. ISBN 9781466893474.
  13. "Ex-Actress Dies". The Daily Chronicle. Washington, Centralia. Associated Press. January 10, 1963. p. 3. Retrieved August 2, 2018 via


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