Family & Companions
This legendary stage star won renown for her performances on Broadway, in productions by the repertory theater she founded, including "Liliom" (1921) and "The Swan" (1923). In the 1930s, she played the lead in "Peter Pan," the White Queen in "Alice in Wonderland," Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet," and the lead in a summer production of "Hamlet" (1937) which she also staged.
In 1926, Le Gallienne founded a national repertory theater, the Civic Repertory Theater in New York, similar to England's Old Vic, which presented the classics at popular prices ($1.50 top ticket price). She not only starred in the majority of productions, until the company folded in 1933 as a consequence of the Depression, but she also staged, translated and produced most of the plays.
Le Gallienne then lectured at colleges and toured the country, returning to Broadway in "Uncle Harry" and "The Cherry Orchard." In 1946, she organized the short-lived American Repertory Theater with Margaret Webster and Cheryl Crawford. Later stage triumphs included "Mary Stuart" in which she toured from 1957 to 1962 and "The Royal Family" (1976). Le Gallienne reprised her role (the matriarch of a theatrical family modeled on the Barrymores) in an acclaimed television production which earned her an Emmy. She also produced and starred in an acclaimed TV version of "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" (1958). Le Gallienne appeared in a handful of films, perhaps most memorably as Ellen Burstyn's grandmother in "Resurrection" (1980), for which she received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress.
Stage debut (walk-on role) in Maeterlinck's "Monna Vanna" in London at age 15
Left London during WWI with mother for New York
New York stage debut, "Mrs. Boltay's Daughter"
First stage success opposite Sidney Blackmer in "Not So Long Ago"
Abandoned career as Broadway star to found the Civic Repertory Theater and stage classics at popular prices (top ticket price $1.50)
Burned her hands in explosion of gasoline stove; use of hands restored after a series of operations
Founded the American Repertory Theater with Margaret Webster and Cheryl Crawford
Film acting debut, "Prince of Players"
Produced and starred in TV production of "The Bridge of San Luis Rey"
Translated, directed and starred in Chekhov's "Seagull"
Starred in acclaimed revival of "The Royal Family" on tour and on Broadway
Earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as Ellen Burstyn's grandmother in "Resurrection"
Returned to Broadway in "To Grandmother's House We Go" (ran 61 performances)
Co-directed and starred as the White Queen in revival of "Alice in Wonderland" (closed after 21 regular performances)