A versatile actress who excelled equally in polite drawing room comedy, Shakespearean revivals, and tragedy, Mary Boland emerged as a leading lady in the 1908 season and worked as John Drew's female co-star for several Broadway seasons, replacing Billie Burke in his company. Born in Philadelphia, educated in Detroit, her first stage experiences occured as a stock company juvenile there in the first decade of the 20th century. Her Broadway debut occurred in 1907 opposite Dustin Farnum in the unsuccessful Augustus Thomas' western, "Ranger." Her greatest stage role was as Mrs. Wheeler in the 1921 hit, "Clarence." 1925's "Cradle Snatchers" also enjoyed critical esteem and popularity.
Boland's motion picture career had two phases--an early stint from 1915-1920 playing wives in second rank productions, and a very successful series of films working as a character actress in the 1930s playing ditzy mothers. David S. Shields/ALS