Jessie Ralph was born during the American Civil War and died during World War II. She appeared on Broadway in many of George M. Cohan’s shows, and came to Hollywood as an elderly woman. During the 1930s, when her most famous work was done, she was in her 70s.
Ms. Ralph plays the feisty Mrs. Burley in “San Francisco,” and W. C. Fields unbearable mother-in-law in “The Bank Dick” (1940), Greta Garbo’s maid in “Camille” (1936), and Aunt Katherine in “After the Thin Man” (1936). She was adept at comedy and drama, and was one of those charismatic actors who seem to draw all the attention when the camera was on her. She appeared in some 52 movies in a just seven-year span between 1933 and 1940, when she retired. I keep wondering if there’s some secret to longevity in these character actors. Maybe it’s just to keep working.
Jessie Ralph Movies