Image of Helen Broderick

Helen Broderick

Helen Broderick was a wonderfully funny character comedienne with vaudeville and stage experience, a close friend of Jeanne Eagels. The story goes, that at the age of 14 she ran away from home, because her mother, who appeared in operatic comedy, was totally obsessed by the theatre. Paradoxically, all the people she met turned out to be performers, and Helen (who needed to make a living, after all) ended up where she hadn't wanted to end up - on the stage. She started out as a chorus girl in the first Ziegfeld Follies in 1907. Her talent for comedy was discovered quite by accident. In 1911, she was understudy to the actress Ina Claire in the Broadway play 'Jumping Jupiter'. One night, Claire was unable to perform and Helen Broderick stood in as the romantic lead. She soon had the audience in stitches, trampling about the stage like an elephant, rolling her big saucer eyes and attempting to croon 'Cuddle Near Me All Day Long' in her rather unique voice. The romance was no more and instead turned into a popular farce with Helen now permanently installed in the lead role. For a while, Helen partnered her husband, Lester Crawford, in vaudeville. In the 1920's, she enjoyed success on Broadway, most notably in 'Fifty Million Frenchmen' ( a role she took to Hollywood in 1931). Her best parts in the movies were as the perennial friend or chaperone of the heroine (an earlier Eve Arden), delivering acidic wisecracks in her inimitable dead-pan manner. She was particularly amusing in Top Hat (1935) and Swing Time (1936) with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers; and in The Rage of Paris (1938) with Danielle Darrieux.

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Aug 11, 1891 In Philadelphia, PA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie 50 Million Frenchmen 1931-02-14
Latest Project:
Movie Because of Him 1946-01-18
Known For
Poster of She's Got Everything
Poster of Meet the Missus
Poster of Top Hat
Poster of 50 Million Frenchmen
Movie Because of Him Nora 1946-01-18
Movie Love, Honor and Goodbye Mary Riley 1945-09-15
Movie Chip Off the Old Block Glory Marlow Sr. 1944-02-01
Movie 3 Is a Family Irma 1944-11-23
Movie Her Primitive Man Mrs. Winthrop 1944-05-29
Movie Stage Door Canteen Helen Broderick 1943-06-24
Movie Virginia Theo Clairmont 1941-01-28
Movie Father Takes a Wife Aunt Julie 1941-10-03
Movie The Captain Is a Lady Nancy Crocker 1940-06-21
Movie No, No, Nanette Mrs. Susan Smith 1940-12-19
Movie Stand Up and Fight Amanda Griffith 1939-01-06
Movie Honeymoon in Bali Lorna "Smitty" Smith 1939-09-29
Movie Naughty But Nice Aunt Martha Hogan 1939-06-23
Movie The Rage of Paris Gloria Patterson 1938-06-09
Movie Radio City Revels Gertie 1938-02-11
Movie The Road to Reno Aunt Minerva 1938-08-01
Movie Service de Luxe Pearl 1938-10-12
Movie We're on the Jury Agnes Dean 1937-02-12
Movie Meet the Missus Emma Foster 1937-06-04
Movie She's Got Everything Aunt Jane 1937-12-31
Movie The Life of the Party Pauline 1937-09-03
Movie Murder on a Bridle Path Hildegarde Withers 1936-04-17
Movie Love on a Bet Aunt Charlotte 1936-03-06
Movie Swing Time Mabel Anderson 1936-08-27
Movie The Bride Walks Out Mattie Dodson 1936-07-10
Movie Smartest Girl in Town Gwen 1936-11-27
Movie Top Hat Madge Hardwick 1935-08-29
Movie To Beat the Band Mrs. Freeda McCrary 1935-11-23
Movie 50 Million Frenchmen Violet 1931-02-14
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