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Margalo Gillmore

Biography: 

(1897-1986)

For years the actress most associated with the productions of the Theater Guild, Margalo Gillmore came to be regarded as the mainstay of the legitimate stage. Daughter of actor Frank Gillmore, she was born in London and came to New York as a girl. Her father there co-founded Actors Equity. Her Broadway debut occurred in "The Scrap of Paper" in 1917. Her scope of characterization was broad, enabling her to play tragedy, experimental theater, comedy, and musicals.

Of the many notable roles Gillmore created, several are of historical importance: Helen Pettigrew in "Berkeley Square," Mary Haines in "The Women," and Kay Thorndyke in "State of the Union." Her final stage role was in 1962's "Sail Away." Gillmore's film career was less stellar than her stage, yet she graced several worthy movies, "High Society" and "Perfect Strangers." Her self-possession enabled her to share the stage with other powerful leading women (Katherine Cornell for instance in "The Green Hat") without anxiety, and her commitment to the craft of acting made her a role model to young actresses.

Her rise to stardom is told winsomely in a brief theatrical autobiography published in 1964 entitled Four Flights Up. David S. Shields/ALS