Cecil Cunningham

Cecil Cunningham

Highest Rated: 100% Wonder Man (1945)

Lowest Rated: 33% Blossoms in the Dust (1941)

Birthday: Aug 2, 1888

Birthplace: Not Available

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.

Highest Rated Movies



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 The Hidden Hand Lorinda Channing 1942
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
33% Blossoms in the Dust Mrs. Gilworth 1941
80% 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
No Score Yet Wives Under Suspicion Sharpy 1938
86% You and Me Mrs. Morris 1938
50% Four Men and a Prayer Piper 1938
No Score Yet College Swing Dean Sleet 1938
No Score Yet Kentucky Moonshine Landlady 1938
No Score Yet Daughter of Shanghai Mrs. Mary Hunt 1937
93% 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
91% Come and Get It Josie 1936
90% 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 The Life of Vergie Winters Pearl Turner 1934
80% 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
53% 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 The Wet Parade Mrs. Twombey 1932
No Score Yet Impatient Maiden Mrs. Rosy 1932
No Score Yet If I Had a Million Agnes 1932
No Score Yet Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise Mme. Panoramia 1931
100% Safe in Hell Angie 1931
No Score Yet Paramount on Parade Guest Star 1930
No Score Yet Their Own Desire Aunt Caroline 1929


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