Norma Varden - Rotten Tomatoes

Norma Varden

Highest Rated:   100% Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Lowest Rated:   14% Forever Amber (1947)
Birthday:  
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

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
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
86% 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
63% 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
No Score Yet Hollow Triumph (The Scar)
  • Mrs. Gerry
1948
14% 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
No Score Yet 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 Where There's a Will
  • Margaret Wimpleton
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

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Batman
1966-1968
  • Mrs. Monteagle
  • 1966
No Score Yet I Love Lucy
1951-1957
  • Mrs. Benson
  • 1953

Quotes from Norma Varden's Characters