Monday, April 18, 2016

Beryl Mercer

Beryl Mercer was born to British parents in Seville on 13 August 1882. Her father was Edward Sheppard Mercer, said to be Spanish despite his name, and her mother was the actress Beryl Montague.  She became a child actor, making her debut on 14 August 1886 at the Theatre Royal, Yarmouth, when she was four. She returned to the stage when she was ten. 

In London she appeared in The Darling of the Gods and the production by Oscar Asche of A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 1906 she appeared as a Kaffir slave in the West End play The Shulamite. She traveled with this play to the USA, where she received good reviews.

Mercer was best known as a film actress for her motherly roles. She regularly appeared as a grandmother or cook or maid in some high profile films. She appeared in more than fifty films between 1916 and 1939 but her career was at a peak in the 1930s when she regularly appeared in between five and ten films a year.[citation needed] Mercer appeared in Cavalcade (1933) as a cook, and in Jane EyreThe Little Minister, and The Richest Girl in the World (all 1934). She was in two talkie versions of Three Live Ghosts (1929 and 1935) and The Little Princess (1939) as Queen Victoria.

Marriages, Death

Mercer was married to one Maitland Paisley early in her life. Her only other marriage was much later in the late 1920s briefly to actor Holmes Herbert. She had one child, Joan Mercer, later Bitting, born on September 16, 1917.
Date of Birth13 August 1876Surrey, England, UK
Date of Death28 July 1939Santa Monica, California, USA  (following surgery)
Height4' 11" (1.5 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Too short to be a leading lady, Beryl Mercer had a very active and productive career playing motherly characters. She had played opposite of great leading men like Colin CliveRobert MontgomeryJames CagneyGary CooperLeslie HowardSpencer Tracy, and Randolph Scott. Beryl played Queen Victoria in The Little Princess (1939) and The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939).

She and Holmes Herbert had a daughter, Joan.

Spouse (2)

Maitland Stewart Sabine Pasley(1896 - ?) (divorced) (1 child)
Holmes Herbert(? - ?) (1 child)

Trivia (6)

She appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and Cavalcade (1933).
She played Queen Victoria in two unrelated films released in 1939: The Little Princess(1939) and The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939).
Received a medal for entertaining British troops during World War I.
Her father, Sheppard Mercer, was a diplomat and her mother, Beryl Montague, was an English concert singer.
Early in her career, played boys in several stage productions.
Made her first stage appearance when she was four years old.
Mercer died in Santa Monica, California in 1939 aged either 56 or 62, following surgery for an undisclosed ailment.

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