Cecil Cunningham - Rotten Tomatoes

Cecil Cunningham



Statuesque, foghorn-voiced comedienne Cecil Cunningham at one time pursued an operatic career. After extensive training, Cunningham made her stage debut in the chorus of a Fritzi Scheff musical. She played her first important role in the 1911 production Will o' the Wisp, then enjoyed her greatest success as a serious singer in the 1913 operetta Pink Lady. Alas, nervous tension robbed Cunningham of her glorious singing voice, whereupon she cut her losses and went into comedy. For many years she was a headliner in vaudeville, performing first-rate material written for her by her then-husband Jean Havez. When vaudeville went into decline in 1930, she headed to Hollywood. Signed by Paramount, she played roles of varying sizes, usually portraying a mannish society matron or show-business diva. Cunningham can be seen as a brutally frank party hostess in Paramount on Parade (1930), as supercilious opera star Madame Swempski in the Marx Brothers' Monkey Business (1932), as a outraged dowager whose beauty treatment has left her totally bald in Kiss and Make Up (1934) and as Jack Benny's dry-witted secretary in Artists and Models (1937). Comedy fans hold a special place in their hearts for two of Cunningham's 1930s appearances: in If I Had a Million, she plays the haughty ex-trapeze artist who is put down in short order by W.C. Fields; and in Leo McCarey's The Awful Truth, she enjoys one of her juiciest parts as Irene Dunne's waspish Aunt Patsy. Even in her briefest appearances, Cecil Cunningham managed to draw attention to herself, usually through such simple expedients as a firmly planted tongue in cheek and a withering, all-knowing glare.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet My Reputation
  • Mrs. Thompson
1946
100% Wonder Man
  • Barker
1945
No Score Yet In Old Oklahoma (War of the Wildcats)
  • Mrs. Ames
1943
No Score Yet Du Barry Was a Lady
  • Couple
1943
No Score Yet Above Suspicion
  • Countess
1943
No Score Yet Cairo
  • Mme. Laruga
1942
No Score Yet I Married an Angel
  • Mrs. Fairmind
1942
No Score Yet Cowboy Serenade
  • Priscilla Smythe
1942
No Score Yet Play Girl
  • Dowager
1941
25% Blossoms in the Dust
  • Mrs. Gilworth
1941
75% Kitty Foyle
  • Grandmother
1940
No Score Yet The Captain is a Lady
  • Mrs. Homans
1940
No Score Yet New Moon
  • Governor's Wife
1940
No Score Yet Lillian Russell
  • Mrs. Hobbs
1940
No Score Yet Lady of the Tropics
  • Countess Bericki
1939
No Score Yet It's a Wonderful World
  • Mme. Chambers
1939
No Score Yet Marie Antoinette
  • Mme. De Lerchenfeld
1938
100% You and Me
  • Mrs. Morris
1938
No Score Yet Wives Under Suspicion
  • Sharpy
1938
No Score Yet Four Men and a Prayer
  • Piper
1938
No Score Yet College Swing
  • Dean Sleet
1938
No Score Yet Daughter of Shanghai
  • Mrs. Mary Hunt
1937
91% The Awful Truth
  • Aunt Patsy
1937
No Score Yet This Way Please
  • Miss Eberhardt
1937
No Score Yet Swing High, Swing Low
  • Murphy
1937
No Score Yet Artists and Models
  • Stella
1937
90% Come and Get It
  • Josie
1936
89% Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  • Minor Supporting Role
1936
No Score Yet We Live Again
  • Theodosia
1934
No Score Yet Manhattan Love Song
  • Pancake Annie
1934
No Score Yet Dancing Lady
  • Miss Allen
1933
100% Baby Face
  • Bank Clerk, Paris
1933
No Score Yet From Hell to Heaven
  • Mrs. Chadman
1933
No Score Yet Ladies They Talk About
  • Mrs. Arlington
1933
57% Blonde Venus
  • Cabaret Owner
1932
100% Love Me Tonight
  • Laundress
1932
No Score Yet Is My Face Red
  • Millionaire's Blonde Wife
1932
57% Mata Hari
  • Gambler
1932
No Score Yet The Rich Are Always with Us
  • Admirer
1932
No Score Yet Impatient Maiden
  • Mrs. Rosy
1932
No Score Yet If I Had a Million
  • Agnes
1932
No Score Yet The Wet Parade
  • Mrs. Twombey
1932
No Score Yet Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise
  • Mme. Panoramia
1931
No Score Yet Safe in Hell
  • Angie
1931
No Score Yet Paramount on Parade
  • Guest Star
1930
No Score Yet Their Own Desire
  • Aunt Caroline
1929

Quotes from Cecil Cunningham's Characters

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