Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Minna Gombell

Minna Gombell, who we last saw as Oliver Hardy’s battleaxe wife in “Block-Heads” (1938), played a wide variety of roles, perhaps a greater range than many other character actors of her day. She was Mrs. Godfrey in the musical “Here Comes the Groom” (1951), and also played the kindly but careworn Mrs. Parrish whose son returns from the war with both his hands amputated in “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946).

She played in a number of westerns, and also played the raucous Queen of the Beggars in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939). She stands out in the small role of the combative, streetwise floozy Mimi Jorgensen in “The Thin Man” (1934). Miss Gombell could play the sympathetic and sedate matron, or the loud floozy. She did not specialize, and perhaps if she did she might have been known for one attribute or one shtick that she could milk as a character actress. Instead, she was less a typical character actress and more like a lead actress with very few lines.

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