May Robson

May Robson (19 April 1858 – 20 October 1942) was an actress and playwright. A major stage actress of the late 19th and early 20th century, Robson is best known today for the dozens of 1930s motion pictures she appeared in when she was well into her seventies, usually playing cross old ladies with hearts of gold. Born Mary Jeanette Robison in Melbourne, Australia, she moved to the United States in her late teens. In 1884, after being widowed, she became an actress simply to support her children. Over the next several decades, she flourished on the stage. She starred in the 1916 silent film A Night Out, an adaptation of the play she co-wrote, The Three Lights. She made several other silent films, then successfully transitioned to talkies. She made 45 films during the 1930s. Among her starring roles was 1931's The She-Wolf, in which she was cast as a miserly millionaire businesswoman based on Hetty Green. She also starred in the final segment of the anthology film If I Had a Million (1932) as a rest home resident who gets a new lease on life when she is given a $1,000,000 check by a dying business tycoon.


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