Hilda Plowright

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Hilda Plowright
Hilda Plowright in the movie Philadelphia Story 1940
Plowright in The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Born(1890-11-29)November 29, 1890
Swaffham, Norfolk, UK
DiedOctober 9, 1973(1973-10-09) (aged 82)
Years active1908–1965
Known forCharacter actor
Notable work
The Philadelphia Story, Wilson

Hilda Plowright (29 November 1890 – 9 October 1973) was an actress born in Swaffham, Norfolk, England. Following a career on the stage in Britain she came to the United States and obtained work and a Social Security number in New York, she died in San Diego[1] following a career in film, theatre and television, primarily playing older women in assorted small roles. She had over 50 film and television appearances between 1938 and 1965,[2] she also appeared in at least 13 theatre productions on Broadway between 1925 and 1940.[3]

Theatrical work in Britain[edit]

Plowright had an extensive theatrical career in Britain from 1908 to 1921; the 17 August 1916 review from The Cornishman of her in the title role, Ann Annington, of Lechmere Worrall's play "Ann" (later made into the film Her Winning Way) was favourable:

In the title role of "Ann," Miss Hilda Plowright pleased the audience immensely; the eccentricity, daring, winsomeness, and vivacity of Ann's character was most skilfully evolved, and the mastery obtained over the American accent and mannerism was most noticeable.[4]


Plowright had a starring role in her first film, the 1938 Hopalong Cassidy B-movie Partners of the Plains where Gwen Gaze was the leading lady.[5][6]

Plowright's role as a Quaker librarian in The Philadelphia Story has been noted as one of the first examples on film of a librarian saying "shush" to patrons, giving rise to and popularising a "new dimension to the stereotype" of stern, straightlaced librarians in film,[7] she also was cast in Wilson as Jeannette Rankin. She auditioned for, but was not given, the role of Frau Schmidt in The Sound of Music.[8]

Her last film was My Fair Lady in 1964 in which she had a minor role.[9]


Plowright appeared in mostly small character roles[2] often uncredited, in dozens of films throughout her career, including the following:


Plowright's television credits included two appearances in Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1957 and 1959.[10] Other television credits included NBC Matinee Theater (1956)[19] and roles on The Gale Storm Show (1956), The Joseph Cotten Show (1956), and Schlitz Playhouse (1951).[2]

Broadway Theater credits[edit]

Broadway productions where Plowright appeared were:


  1. ^ "Hilda Plowright (1890–1973)". Mocavo: Social Security Death Index. Mocavo. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Hilda Plowright". Famous Fix. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Hilda Plowright Theatre Credits". broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  4. ^ ""Ann" at the Pavilion". The Cornishman. British Newspaper Archive. 17 August 1916. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Round the Local Cinemas". Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian. British Newspaper Archive. 26 November 1938. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Hilda Plowright". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  7. ^ Tevis, Ray; Tevis, Brenda (2005). The Image of Librarians in Cinema, 1917–1999. McFarland. p. 39. ISBN 9781476611457. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  8. ^ Eila Mell, Eila (2005). Casting Might-Have-Beens. McFarland. p. 223. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Movies – cast My Fair Lady (1964)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b c "Hilda Plowright". hitchcock.zone. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  11. ^ "Movies – cast -AThe Magnificent Ambersons (1942)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  12. ^ Reid, John Howard (2006). Movie mystery & suspense. [Morrisville, NC]: Lulu Press. pp. 79–80. ISBN 9781411676008. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Movies – cast -Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Movies – cast- Until They Sail (1957)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Movies – cast -Separate Tables (1958)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Hilda Plowright". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Movies – cast – Summer Magic (1963)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Movies – cast −36 Hours (1964)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  19. ^ "The Miami News – Google News Archive Search". Google. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  20. ^ "Leave Her To Heaven Original Broadway Cast – 1940 Broadway". broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 12 May 2015.

External links[edit]