Mary Clare

Mary Clare was a versatile British character actress of redoubtable presence. On the London stage from 1910 (some sources say 1912), she later alternated her theatrical appearances with acting on screen. During the 1920’s and 30’s, she specialised in stately characters and villainesses in period dramas. On stage, she was best served as star of Noël Coward’s “Cavalcade”, or in John Galsworthy’s “The Skin Game” (a role she later reprised for the screen). Cinema gave her fewer opportunities to shine, but she made the most of her often small parts, moving easily between widely diverse characterisations: from the shady Baroness of The Lady Vanishes (1938) to snooty Lady Hingston in Portrait of Clare (1950); from the matronly Nazi spy, minder of would-be Mata Hari Phyllis Stanley, in The Next of Kin (1942), to that “poor desolate creature” Mrs. Corney in Oliver Twist (1948). Among her many dominant performances in support, there was also a solitary, but noteworthy, leading role in the mystery Mrs. Pym of Scotland Yard (1940).

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