Hermione Gingold (Hermione Ferdinanda Gingold)
Photos with Hermione Gingold
BiographyMaida Vale, London, England, UK
One of stage, screen, radio and TV's most delightful, inimitable eccentrics, Hermione Ferdinanda Gingold was born the daughter of an upscale Austrian financier and English homemaker. She made her stage debut in 1908, thus beginning a long, commanding presence in London playing everything from Jessica in "The Merchant of Venice" to Cassandra in "Troilus and Cressida." Her flair for quirky comedy was discovered in the 30s when she appeared to scene-stealing effect in a host of musical revues. She continued to perform in this venue for many years, sharpening her bawdy, razor-like wit for even better things to come. Read more... WWII and then tested the extent of her popularity by going to the US where she became a celebrated hit, not only with her revues but in such legit Broadway plays as "Oh Dad, Poor Dad...Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad" (1963) and "A Little Night Music" (1973). Never one to be overlooked for long, she was invited to Hollywood and made a decent niche for herself in comedies and musical films. She usually was asked to play her charming and haughty self, most notably as the aging courtesan in Gigi (1958), which won her a Golden Globe award, The Music Man (1962) and as the reminiscing grandmother in a rather pallid film version of her stage hit A Little Night Music (1977). Gingold was a gifted raconteur and became a very popular TV talk-show guest, particularly on Jack Paar's show. She was finishing up the last touches on her autobiography when she passed away of pneumonia and other heart problems in 1987. "How to Grow Old Disgracefully" was published posthumously the next year. A one-of-a-kind entertainer if there ever was one.