Norma Varden

Lowest Rated: 11% Forever Amber (1947)
Birthday: Jan 20, 1898
Birthplace: Not Available
The daughter of a retired sea captain, British actress Norma Varden was a piano prodigy. After study in Paris, she played concerts into her teens, but at last decided that this was be an uncertain method of making a living--so she went to the "security" of acting. In her first stage appearance in Peter Pan, Varden, not yet twenty, portrayed the adult role of Mrs. Darling, setting the standard for her subsequent stage and film work; too tall and mature-looking for ingenues, she would enjoy a long career in character roles. Bored with dramatic assignments, Varden gave comedy a try at the famous Aldwych Theatre, where from 1929 through 1933 she was resident character comedienne in the theatre's well-received marital farces. After her talkie debut in the Aldwych comedy A Night Like This (1930), she remained busy on the British film scene for over a decade. Moving to Hollywood in 1941, she found that the typecasting system frequently precluded large roles: Though she was well served as Robert Benchley's wife in The Major and the Minor (1942), for example, her next assignment was the unbilled role of a pickpocket victim's wife in Casablanca (1942). Her work encompassed radio as well as films for the rest of the decade; in nearly all her assignments Norma played a haughty British or New York aristocrat who looked down with disdain at the "commoners." By the '50s, she was enjoying such sizeable parts as the society lady who is nearly strangled by Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train (1951), the bejeweled wife of "sugar daddy" Charles Coburn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), and George Sanders' dragonlike mother in Jupiter's Darling (1955). Norma Varden's greatest film role might have been as the mother superior in The Sound of Music (1965), but the producers decided to go with Peggy Wood, consigning Varden to the small but showy part of Frau Schmidt, the Von Trapps' housekeeper. After countless television and film assignments, Norma Varden retired in 1972, spending most of her time thereafter as a spokesperson for the Screen Actors Guild, battling for better medical benefits for older actors.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet The Sound Of Music Sing-Along Edition Actor 2007
86% Road to Zanzibar Clara Kimble 2001
32% Doctor Dolittle Lady Petherington 1967
No Score Yet A Very Special Favor Mother Plum 1965
85% The Sound of Music Frau Schmidt 1965
No Score Yet 13 Frightened Girls (The Candy Web) Miss Pittford 1963
No Score Yet Island of Love Wife in Nightclub 1963
No Score Yet Door-to-Door Maniac Priscilla 1961
No Score Yet The Buccaneer Mme. Hilaire 1958
100% Witness for the Prosecution Mrs. French 1957
No Score Yet Jupiter's Darling Fabia 1955
67% Three Coins in the Fountain Woman 1954
60% Elephant Walk Mrs. Beezely 1954
98% Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Lady Beekman 1953
No Score Yet Young Bess Lady Tyrwhitt 1953
No Score Yet Something for the Birds Congresswoman Bates 1952
No Score Yet Les Miserables Mme. Courbet 1952
No Score Yet Thunder on the Hill Pierce 1951
98% Strangers on a Train Mrs. Cunningham 1951
No Score Yet Fancy Pants Lady Maude 1950
No Score Yet The Secret Garden Nurse 1949
No Score Yet Let's Live a Little Nurse Brady 1948
11% Forever Amber Mrs. Abbott 1947
No Score Yet Ivy Joan Rodney 1947
No Score Yet The Senator Was Indiscreet Woman at Banquet 1947
No Score Yet Where There's Life Mrs. Herbert Jones 1947
No Score Yet The Green Years Mrs. Bosomley 1946
No Score Yet The Cheaters (The Castaways) Mattie 1945
100% National Velvet Miss Sims 1944
No Score Yet The White Cliffs of Dover Mrs. Bland 1944
60% Mademoiselle Fifi his Wife 1944
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes Faces Death Grace 1943
No Score Yet Slightly Dangerous Opera Singer 1943
89% Random Harvest Julia 1942
97% Casablanca Englishwoman 1942
86% The Glass Key Dowager 1942
100% The Major and the Minor Mrs. Osborne 1942
No Score Yet We Were Dancing Mrs. Bryce-Carew 1942
80% Waterloo Bridge Hostess 1940
No Score Yet The Earl of Chicago Maureen Kilmount 1940
No Score Yet Fools for Scandal Cicely 1938
No Score Yet Windbag the Sailor Olivia Potter-Porter 1936
No Score Yet Where There's a Will Margaret Wimpleton 1936
No Score Yet East Meets West Lady Mallory 1936
No Score Yet Boys Will Be Boys (Narkover) Lady Dorking 1935
No Score Yet Music Hath Charms Actor 1935
No Score Yet The Iron Duke Duchess of Richmond 1934


No Score Yet The Beverly Hillbillies
Mrs. Van Ransonhoff
  • 1969
93% Batman
Mrs. Monteagle
  • 1966
No Score Yet Bonanza
Ma Nutley
  • 1962
No Score Yet I Love Lucy
Mrs. Benson
  • 1953
No Score Yet The Adventures of Superman
Mabel McCredy
  • 1953