Hermione Baddeley (1906-1986) b. Broseley, Shropshire, England, UK
Hermione Baddeley was born Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley on 13 November 1906 in Broseley, Shropshire. She trained at the Margaret Morris School of Dancing in Chelsea, London. After graduating, Baddeley was taken under the wing of Basil Dean and made her professional stage debut in 1923 in Charles McEvoy’s The Likes of Her at the St Martin’s Theatre. She subsequently appeared in a number of undistinguished stage comedies, farces, musical revues and cabaret.
Her film career started in uncertain fashion in silent quota-quickies, the most notable of which was Michael Powell’s Caste (1928) and Carol Reed’s Kipps (1941). Baddeley’s screen career took off proper after WWII when cast in a minor role in Ealing’s East End drama It Always Rains on Sunday (1947). That year she produced a memorable supporting performance as the investigative Ida in the Boulting Brothers adaptation of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock (1947), a role she had earlier performed on stage. Subsequently she appeared in support roles in many popular British films including Passport to Pimlico (1949), Scrooge (1951) and Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1951).
She was nominated for an Oscar in for her role as Simone Signoret’s devoted friend in Room at the Top (1958). Baddeley subsequently became a familiar face on television and achieved Hollywood success as the housekeeper, Ellen, in Mary Poppins (1964). For the last twenty years she lived mainly in Los Angeles.