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Josephine Hutchinson
Born November 10, 1903(1903-11-10)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Died June 4, 1998 (aged 94)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Years active 1917–1974
Spouse(s) Robert W. Bell (divorced 1930); James F. Townsend (divorced); Staats Cotsworth (his death)

Josephine Hutchinson (November 10, 1903 – June 4, 1998) was an American actress.

She was born in Seattle, Washington. Her mother was Leona Roberts, also an actress, best-known for her role as "Mrs. Meade" in Gone with the Wind. Through her mother's connections, Hutchinson made her film debut at the age of thirteen in The Little Princess, starring Mary Pickford. She later attended the Cornish School of Music and Drama in Seattle, and then moved to New York City where she began acting in theater. By the late 1920s she was one of the actors able to make the transition from silent movies to talkies.

Hutchinson married Robert W. Bell, a stage director and the son of Alexander Graham Bell in 1924. In 1926, she met the actress Eva Le Gallienne and became a member of Le Gallienne's Civic Repertory Theatre company. By 1927, the two women were involved in a lesbian affair, and Hutchinson and Bell, who separated in 1928, were divorced in 1930.[1] The press quickly dubbed her Le Gallienne's shadow, a term which at the time meant lesbian.[2][3] Both actresses survived the scandal and carried on with their respective careers.

Under contract with Warner Bros., Hutchinson went to Hollywood in 1934, debuting in Happiness Ahead. She was featured on the cover of Film Weekly on August 23, 1935[4] and appeared in The Story of Louis Pasteur in 1936. At Universal she played Elsa von Frankenstein in one of her most memorable roles alongside actor Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff in Son of Frankenstein (1939).[5][6] She later played "Mrs Townsend" in North by Northwest (1959)[7] and Love is Better Than Ever, starring Elizabeth Taylor.[8]

Hutchinson continued to work steadily through the 1970s in film, radio, and television, establishing a solid career in supporting roles.[9] She appeared in four episodes of Perry Mason, and on such shows as Gunsmoke, Rawhide and The Twilight Zone.[3]


Personal life

Hutchinson and Le Gallienne were involved with one another for a number of years, although Hutchinson married twice more. She married James F. Townsend in 1935; they later divorced. She also was married to actor Staats Cotsworth from 1972 until his death in 1979.[3]


She died, aged 94, on June 4, 1998 at the Florence Nightingale Nursing Home in Manhattan.[5]

Select filmography


External links

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