Patricia Collinge

Patricia Collinge (born Eileen Cecilia Collinge; September 20, 1892 – April 10, 1974) was an Irish-American actress, dramatist, and writer, best known for her role as the tragic alcoholic Birdie Hubbard in The Little Foxes.

Patricia Collinge
Patricia Collinge (1941)
Eileen Cecilia Collinge

(1892-09-20)September 20, 1892
Dublin, Ireland
DiedApril 10, 1974(1974-04-10) (aged 81)
Years active1904-1967
Spouse(s)James Nichols Smith (1921-1974; her death)

Early life

Collinge was born in Dublin to F. Channon Collinge and Emmie (née Russell) Collinge. She was educated there first by a visiting governess and then at a girls' school. She took dance and piano lessons, which held no interest for her, and determined to be an actress.

Stage career

Gladys Cooper, Alexandra Carlisle and Patricia Collinge in the Drury Lane production of Everywoman (1912)
Douglas Fairbanks, William H. Crane, Amelia Bingham, and Patricia Collinge in the Broadway production of The New Henrietta (1913)

Collinge first appeared on the stage in 1904 in Little Black Sambo and Little White Barbara at the Garrick Theatre in London. She emigrated to the United States with her mother in 1907. Soon after, she appeared as a flower girl in The Queens of the Moulin Rouge (1908) [1] and as a supporting player in The Thunderbolt (1910) starring Louis Calvert, which was staged at the New Theatre (Century Theatre).[2]

In 1911, Collinge played Youth in the Broadway production of Everywoman, with Laura Nelson Hall in the title role.[3] She reprised the role in the 1912 London production starring Alexandra Carlisle.[4] She appeared as Agnes with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Amelia Bingham, and William H. Crane in The New Henrietta, a play based on a comedy by Bronson Howard, produced at the Knickerbocker Theatre on Broadway in December 1913. In 1914, she again appeared with Fairbanks in He Comes Up Smiling.[5]

Collinge toured in A Regular Businessman, was the original Pollyanna Whittier in Pollyanna, and toured with Tillie in 1919. In 1932, she appeared in Autumn Crocus. Her acting was acclaimed by a New York Times critic, who wrote, "Miss Collinge plays with the soft, pliant sincerity that makes her one of the most endearing actresses."

She was a member of the original Broadway cast of The Little Foxes with Tallulah Bankhead as the lead in 1939, playing the role of the tragic Birdie Hubbard. In 1941, she played the same part in the motion picture version, which starred Bette Davis. Other stage work included roles in productions of The Heiress, Just Suppose, The Dark Angel, The Importance of Being Earnest, To See Ourselves, and Lady with a Lamp. Her final stage appearance came in December 1952 in I've Got Sixpence[6] at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

Film career

Collinge's film debut in 1941's The Little Foxes earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination. Other films included Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Tender Comrade (1943), and The Nun's Story (1959).[7]

According to the featurette included with the DVD of Shadow of a Doubt, Collinge rewrote the scene that takes place in the garage between Teresa Wright and Macdonald Carey. Director Alfred Hitchcock and the actors were reportedly unhappy with the dialogue. Hitchcock was reportedly delighted with her work and used it in the film. She also reportedly worked with Alma Reville (Hitchcock's wife) and Ben Hecht on the screenplay for Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944), which also starred Tallulah Bankhead.[7]


Collinge appeared in four episodes of the popular series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In one episode, "The Cheney Vase", based on the play Kind Lady, she played a vulnerable, elderly, wealthy woman kept hostage in her own home by ruthless crooks (Darren McGavin and Ruta Lee) attempting to steal her valuable possessions.[7] She also appeared in such television dramas as Laramie (1961), The United States Steel Hour (1962), East Side/West Side (1963), and N.Y.P.D. (1967).[7]


Collinge wrote the play Dame Nature (1938), an adaptation of a French drama by André Birabeau. She wrote a series of short stories for The New Yorker, and contributed to the New York Times Book Review.[8] One of her stories, The Small Mosaics of Mr. and Mrs. Engel, a story of travel in Italy, earned her a gold medal from the Italian government. With Margalo Gillmore, she co-authored The B.O.W.S., a play about the American Theatre Wing unit which performed The Barretts of Wimpole Street for soldiers in Italy and France during World War II.[9]

Personal life

Collinge married James Nichols Smith, an investment counselor, on June 10, 1921. The marriage lasted many decades but produced no children. She died in 1974 in Manhattan, aged 81, following a heart attack.[7]


Year Title Role Notes
1941The Little FoxesBirdie Hubbard
1943Shadow of a DoubtEmma Newton
1943Tender ComradeHelen Stacey
1944Casanova BrownMrs. Drury
1951TeresaMrs. Clara Cass (Philip's mother)
1952Washington StoryMiss Galbreth
1951-1953Studio One3 episodes
1959The Nun's StorySister William (convent teacher)
1967N.Y.P.D.Mrs. Fernig[10]1 episode, (final appearance)


  • Collinge, Patricia (April 4, 1925). "Plots". The New Yorker. 1 (7): 22.


  1. Great Stars of the American Stage by Daniel Blum c. 1952 Profile #115
  2. "Patricia Collinge – Broadway Cast & Staff - IBDB".
  3. "Everywoman". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  4. Wearing, J.P. (2013). The London Stage 1910-1919: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. Scarecrow Press.
  5. Pictorial History of the American Theatre by Daniel Blum c. 1953 (1970 update), p. 147.
  6. Patricia Collinge at the Internet Broadway Database
  7. Patricia Collinge on IMDb
  8. EmanuelLevy. "Oscar Actors: Collinge, Patricia (Supporting Actress Nominee, The Little Foxes) - Emanuel Levy".
  9. "Patricia Collinge, 81, Actress In Many Leading Plays Dies". 11 April 1974 via
  10. "N.Y.P.D. Episode 'The Screaming Woman'". IMDB. Retrieved February 9, 2019.


  • "All About The Winsome Actress Seen In Tillie". Iowa Citizen. December 29, 1919. p. 6.
  • "Many New Plays Bid For Favor". New York Times. November 6, 1910. p. X1.
  • "News and Comment of the Stage". New York Times. March 12, 1911. p. X2.
  • "Crane at Knickerbocker December 22, 1913". New York Times. December 6, 1913. p. 11.
  • "Patricia Collinge, 81, Actress In Many Leading Plays, Dies". New York Times. April 11, 1974. p. 38.
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