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Hermione Baddeley

Hermione Baddeley in Brighton Rock (1947)
Born Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley
13 November 1906(1906-11-13)
Broseley, Shropshire, England
Died 19 August 1986 (aged 79)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1927–1985
Spouse(s) Major J.H. Willis (1940-?) (his death)
Hon. David Pax Tennant (1928-1937) (divorced) 2 children

Hermione Baddeley (13 November 1906 – 19 August 1986) was an English character actress of theatre, film and television. She was nominated for an Academy Award.



Originally Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley, she was born in Broseley, Shropshire, England. A descendant of British Revolutionary War general Sir Henry Clinton, she and her older sister (the actress Angela Baddeley of Upstairs, Downstairs fame) moved in elevated social circles, Hermione's first husband being the Hon. David Pax Tennant, a descendant of William the Conqueror and elder brother of Stephen Tennant. Hermione was known for standout supporting performances in such films as Mary Poppins (as Ellen, the maidservant), The Belles of St. Trinian's, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Passport to Pimlico, The Pickwick Papers, Tom Brown's Schooldays and A Christmas Carol, although she first began making films back in the 1920s. She was a principal character in Brighton Rock (1947).

Hermione Baddeley received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Simone Signoret's best friend, music teacher Elspeth, in Jack Clayton's Room at the Top (1959). With under three minutes of screen time, hers is the shortest role to be nominated for an Academy Award. In 1963, she was nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actress (Dramatic) for The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore.

Her television roles brought her increased visibility; besides many guest appearances she became known to American TV audiences for her roles in Little House on the Prairie and Maude. Like fellow Mary Poppins maid Reta Shaw, she appeared on the show Bewitched, as Samantha's beloved childhood nanny. Toward the end of her career, Baddeley was also a sought-after voice-over actress (The Aristocats, The Secret of NIMH).


Hermione Baddeley continued to work sporadically on episodic television and feature films, until shortly before her death at 79, after complications from strokes, on Tuesday, August 19, 1986, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles, California. Twice married, she was survived by her two children, Pauline & Anthony. Hermione Baddeley was interred in Amesbury Churchyard in Amesbury, Wiltshire, England.


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