Google Doodle celebrates the 152nd birthday of Oscar-winning Canadian-American actress and comedian Marie Dressler on November 9, 2020.
Who was Marie Dressler?
Born as Leila Marie Koerber on November 9, 1868, at a Canadian town on the shore of Lake Ontario, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. Marie Dressler was a Canadian-American stage and screen actress, comedian, and early silent film and Depression-era film star. In 1914, she was in the first full-length film comedy. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1931.
At the age of five, Marie Dressler’s first known acting appearance was as Cupid in a church theatrical performance in Lindsay, Ontario. Residents of the towns where the Koerbers lived reviewed Dressler acting in numerous amateur productions and Leila frequently bothered her parents with those performances.
Leaving home at 14 years old, Marie Dressler built a career on stage in traveling theatre troupes, where she figured out how to appreciate her ability in making individuals laugh. Throughout the next years, Dressler displayed her comedic chops in burlesque, vaudeville, and revue performances and rose from local theater right to Broadway musicals.
In 1892, Marie Dressler began a career on Broadway at the Fifth Avenue Theater in Waldemarat, the Robber of the Rhine, that lasted into the 1920s, performing comedic roles that permitted her to extemporize to get laughs.
Marie Dressler had would have liked to become an operatic diva or tragedienne, yet the writer of Waldemar, Maurice Barrymore, persuaded her to acknowledge that her best achievement was in comedy roles.
Marie Dressler landed her initially featuring role in 1896 as Flo in George Lederer’s production of The Lady Slavey at the Casino Theater on Broadway, co-featuring British dancer Dan Daly. It was an extraordinary achievement, playing for two years at the Casino.
Marie Dressler got known for her comical facial expressions, seriocomic reactions, and double-takes. With her enormous, strong body, she could extemporize routines in which she would carry Daly, to the pleasure of the audience.
From one of her successful Broadway roles, Marie Dressler played the titular role in the first full-length screen comedy, Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), opposite Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand. She made a few shorts yet generally worked in New York City on stage. During World War I, alongside different celebrities, she helped sell Liberty Bonds. In 1919, she coordinated the first union for stage chorus players.
Her career declined during the 1920s, and Marie Dressler was diminished to living on her savings while sharing an apartment with a companion. In 1927, she got back to films at 59 years old and encountered a surprising series of triumphs.
Marie Dressler’s rich stage voice demonstrated an ideal fit for the “talkie” films that went along in the late ’20s. She delivered a show-stealing performance in the 1930 dramatization “Anna Christie,” and the next year, her ability was perceived at the highest level when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her presentation in the comedy movie Min and Bill (1930).
Marie Dressler died of cancer in 1934 on July 28, 1934, at 65 years old in Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Marie Dressler’s birth home in Cobourg, Ontario, is known as Marie Dressler House and is available to the general population. The house was changed over to a restaurant in 1937 and worked as a restaurant until 1989 when it was damaged by fire.
Every year, the Marie Dressler Foundation Vintage Film Festival is held, with screenings in Cobourg and Port Hope, Ontario. For her contribution to the film industry, Dressler has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1731 Vine Street, which included 1960.
On November 9, 2020, Google observes Marie Dressler’s 152nd Birthday with Google Doodle.