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Jessie Ralph Chambers
November 5, 1864
|Died||May 30, 1944 (aged 79)|
Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||William Patton (his death)|
Jessie Ralph Patton (born Chambers, November 5, 1864 – May 30, 1944), known as Jessie Ralph, was an American stage and screen actress, best known for her matronly roles in many classic movies.
She was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1864 and made her acting debut in stock theater in 1880 at age 16. On Broadway, George M. Cohan cast her in many of his musicals, but she also appeared in dramatic roles. Her Broadway debut came in The Kreutzer Sonata (1906), and her final appearance on Broadway came in The Good Earth (1932).
Ralph debuted in two-reel films in New York in 1915 and went to Hollywood in 1933. in a motion picture career that eventually spanned 25 years, she became a permanent Hollywood actress in 1933. She was nearly 70 at this time, so her parts were limited to matronly roles, but her expertise at stealing scenes captured the imagination of cinema-goers of the time. Her best-known roles are as Greta Garbo's maid in Camille, as W.C. Fields' battle-axe of a mother-in-law in The Bank Dick, as Myrna Loy's supercilious Aunt Katherine in After the Thin Man, and as Nurse Peggotty in David Copperfield. She starred in 55 movies altogether, 52 between 1933 and 1941.
She was married to actor William Patton.
Ralph retired from Hollywood in 1941 after her leg was amputated. She was a diabetic. She died four years later in her home town of Gloucester at the age of 79 of a heart attack. Her gravesite is in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
- A Ringer for Max (1915, short)
- The Galloper (1915) - Sybil
- Mary's Lamb (1915) - Mary Lamb
- New York (1916) - Mrs. Macey
- The Madonna of the Slums (1919, short)
- Such a Little Queen (1921) - Mary
- Child of Manhattan (1933) - Aunt Minnie
- Elmer, the Great (1933) - Sarah Crosby (uncredited)
- Cocktail Hour (1933) - Princess de Longville
- Ann Carver's Profession (1933) - Terry - Graham's Maid
- Nana (1934) - Zoe
- Coming Out Party (1934) - Nora
- Murder at the Vanities (1934) - Mrs. Helene Smith
- The Affairs of Cellini (1934) - Beatrice
- One Night of Love (1934) - Angelina
- We Live Again (1934) - Matrona Pavlovna
- Evelyn Prentice (1934) - Mrs. Blake
- David Copperfield (1935) - Nurse Peggotty
- Enchanted April (1935) - Mrs. Phoebe Fisher
- Vanessa: Her Love Story (1935) - Lady Mullion
- Les Misérables (1935) - Madame Magloire
- Mark of the Vampire (1935) - Midwife
- Paris in Spring (1935) - Countess de Charelle
- Jalna (1935) - Gran Whiteoak
- I Live My Life (1935) - Mrs. O.H.B. Gage, Kay's Grandmother
- Metropolitan (1935) - Charwoman
- I Found Stella Parish (1935) - Nana
- Captain Blood (1935) - Mrs. Barlow
- The Garden Murder Case (1936) - Mrs. Hammle
- Yellow Dust (1936) - Mrs. Bryan
- Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) - The Applewoman
- The Unguarded Hour (1936) - Lady Hathaway
- Bunker Bean (1936) - Grandmother
- San Francisco (1936) - Mrs. Maisie Burley
- Walking on Air (1936) - Evelyn Bennett
- Camille (1936) - Nanine
- After the Thin Man (1936) - Aunt Katherine Forrest
- The Good Earth (1937) - Cuckoo
- The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937) - Duchess
- Double Wedding (1937) - Mrs. Kensington-Bly
- Love Is a Headache (1938) - Sheriff Janet Winfield
- Hold That Kiss (1938) - Aunt Lucy
- Port of Seven Seas (1938) - Honorine
- Four Girls in White (1939) - Miss Tobias
- St. Louis Blues (1939) - Aunt Tibbie
- Cafe Society (1939) - Mrs. De Witt
- The Kid from Texas (1939) - Aunt Minetta
- Mickey the Kid (1939) - Veronica M. Hudson
- Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) - Mrs. Weaver
- The Blue Bird (1940) - Fairy Berylune
- Star Dust (1940) - Aunt Martha Parker
- I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby (1940) - Mama McGann
- Girl from Avenue A (1940) - Mrs. Van Dyne
- I Want a Divorce (1940) - Grandma Brokaw
- The Bank Dick (1940) - Mrs. Hermisillo Brunch
- The Lady from Cheyenne (1941) - Mrs. McGuinness
- They Met in Bombay (1941) - Duchess of Beltravers (final film role)
- Gordon, Dr Roger L. (2018). Supporting Actors in Motion Pictures. Dorrance Publishing. pp. 32–33. ISBN 9781480944992. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
- "Jessie Ralph". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on September 14, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
- "Jessie Ralph". Billboard. June 10, 1944. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
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