Marie Dressler - Film & Theater Personalities, Career and Childhood

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Marie Dressler's Personal Details

Marie Dressler was a talented Canadian American actress of the late 1800s and the early 1900s

InformationDetail
BirthdayNovember 9, 1868
Died onJuly 28, 1934
NationalityCanadian, American
FamousFilm & Theater Personalities, Actresses
SpousesGeorge Hoeppert (m. 1899–1906), James Henry Dalton (m. 1908–21)
SiblingsBonita Louise Koerber
Known asLeila Marie Koerber
Birth PlaceCobourg, Ontario, Canada
Born CountryCanada
GenderFemale
FatherAlexander Rudolph Koerber
MotherAnna Henderson
Sun SignScorpio
Born inCobourg, Ontario, Canada
Famous asActress
Died at Age65

// Famous Actresses

Marie Dressler's photo

Who is Marie Dressler?

Marie Dressler was a Canadian-American actress and comedian who ruled the stage and the screen for six decades. She was only fourteen when she left home to make a career in acting. The steely determination and strong will helped her sustain the steep rise and fall in her acting career which she braved with her talent and skill. A fighter in truest sense, Dressler built her career on stage working in travelling theatre troupes. It was in 1892 that she got her share of luck as she made her debut in Broadway. Dressler’s first grand success came with ‘Tillie’s Nightmare’. The show was a major hit and established her reputation as an actor. It was also adapted for big screen as ‘Tillie’s Punctured Romance’ and its sequels. The 1920s marked the decline in Dressler’s career. Just when people wrote her off, a revival of sorts happened. Dressler made a comeback with the MGM film, ‘The Callahans and the Murphys’. Unbelievable as it may seem to be, Dressler’s reinstated her career at the age of 59. What followed was a string of successful flicks that augmented her name and fame. She also won an Academy Award for Best Actress for ‘Min and Bill’. As startling as it may seem, her career came to an abrupt end when she was diagnosed with cancer.

// Famous Film & Theater Personalities

Childhood & Early Life

Marie Dressler was born as Leila Marie Koerber on November 9, 1868, in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, to Alexander Rudolph Koerber and Anna Henderson. Both her parents were musicians. She had an elder sister named Bonita Louise Koerber.

Young Marie imbibed the passion for music from her parents. She would often accompany her father to St Peter’s Anglican Church where he worked as an organist. On some days, she would also perform the organ and sing.

Marie’s family was always on the go, moving from one community to the other until they finally settled in United States where her father worked as a piano teacher in Bay City, Michigan, Findlay, Ohio and Saginaw.

Marie’s stint with acting began as early as at the age of five. Her first ever performance was that of a Cupid for a church theatrical in Lindsay, Ontario. Following this, she acted in several amateur productions much to the dismay of her parents who detested her acting career.

Career

Her earliest exposure to stage and acting had set quite a massive impression on the mind of Young Marie who aimed to become an actor. Pursuing her dream, she left home at the age of 14 to join the Nevada Stock Company. It was during this time that she adopted her stage name, Marie Dressler after her father expressed his objection of her using the family name Koerber.

Dressler’s time in Nevada Stock Company was an extensive learning period. She polished her acting skills by learning the nuances of the profession. During her time in Nevada Stock Company, Dressler travelled frequently, as the plays that the company produced were mostly for the American Midwest audience.

Dressler’s debut on stage came as a chorus girl named Cigarette for the play ‘Under Two Flags’. For the next three years, she remained with the troupe acting for a couple of plays before she left the same to join the Robert Grau Opera Company.

After some time with Robert Grau Opera Company, Dressler joined the Starr Opera Company as a member of the chorus. She twice replaced regular actress and took up lead roles, as Katisha in ‘The Mikado’ and as Princess Flametta for an 1887 production.

She left Starr Opera Company and briefly re-joined her parents in Saignaw. However, she was called to join Bennett and Moulton Opera Company. For the next three years, she was on the road again, playing roles of light opera for the company. She remained with the company until 1891.

In 1891, she moved to Chicago where she was cast in two productions, ‘Little Robinson Crusoe’ and ‘The Tar and the Tartar’. She then moved to New York City. Following year she made her debut on Broadway at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in ‘Waldemar, the Robber of the Rhine’. The show lasted for merely five weeks.

Following her debut, she starred in various plays and shows including ‘Princess Nicotine’, ‘1492 Up To Date’, ‘Girofle-Girofla’, ‘A Stag Party’ and ‘A Hero in Spite of Himself’.

In 1896, Dressler received her first starring role as Flo in ‘The Lady Slaver’ at the Casino Theatre on Broadway. The show was immensely successful. Her mirthful expressions, seriocomic reactions and double takes were lauded by the audience.

Dressler quit the production on its tour to Colorado and instead joined Rich and Harris touring company. She returned to Broadway in ‘Hotel Topsy Turvy’ and ‘The Man in the Moon’

In 1900, Dressler formed her own theatre troupe but it became bankrupt after the failure of its debut production, ‘Miss Prinnt’.

In 1904, she signed a contract with the Weber and Fields Music Hall management. She played lead roles in plays ‘Higgeldy Piggeldy’ and ‘Twiddle Twaddle’.

In 1907, Dressler first met her future husband James Henry ‘Jim’ Dalton. The two moved to London wherein she performed at the Palace Theatre of Varieties. At the same time, she attempted to come up with a modified production of ‘Higgeldy Piggeldy’. The show was a disaster and left Dressler broke for a second time in a row. She returned to New York and reinstated herself as a Broadway actor.

In 1909 and 1910, Dressler recorded for Edison Records. She next performed for a flop play, ‘Tillie’s Nightmare’ in Albany, Chicago, Kansas City and Philadelphia. Just before the show opened on Broadway, Dressler revised the show by installing a few changes. ‘Tillie’s Nightmare’ became a huge hit and magnum opus of Dressler’s stage career.

In 1919, Dressler was named President of the then newly formed Chorus Equity Association. After a couple of flop shows, Dressler returned to vaudeville stage with the Schubert Organization.

In 1922, Dressler took an extended trip to Europe but failed to sell a film script therein. She returned to New York but struggled constantly due to lack of work. After a couple of performances here and there, in 1926, Dressler made a final appearance on Broadway as part of an Old Timers' bill at the Palace Theatre.

Apart from theatre, Dressler made her presence felt on the big screen as well. She made her debut on big screen with the feature film, ‘Tillie’s Punctured Romance’. The movie was based on Dressler’s hit show ‘Tillie's Nightmare’. The movie was a major hit and was followed by two sequels and other comedies.

In 1925, Dressler retired from show business after few failures. However, her retirement did not last long as she returned to acting for Allan Dwan’s ‘The Jot Girl’. The film revamped the spirit of Dressler who was downtrodden with her failures.

Dressler’s comeback as an actor was aided from the help of Frances Marion, a screenwriter for MGM studio. It was on his request to Irving Thalberg, MGM chief, that Dressler bagged a role in a rowdy silent comedy, ‘The Callahans and the Murphys’ in 1927. The film was a big hit and it kick-started Dressler’s career again.

Following her stint in ‘The Callahans and the Murphys’, Dressler next appeared in a small role in the first national film, ‘Breakfast at Sunrise’. Later, she was cast alongside Moran in ‘Bringing up Father’.

In 1928, Dressler essayed the role of a fluttery mother to Marion Davies and Jane Winston in the MGM production, ‘The Patsy’. The film was a major hit.

Hollywood’s conversion to talkies from silent films gave Dressler better opportunities. In 1930, upon the Marion’s persuasion, Thalberg gave Dressler the role of Marthy in the film ‘Anna Christie’. Her outstanding talent was immediately recognized as she was lauded both by the critics and the audience. Her excellence on screen gained her a contract with MGM.

Dressler became the hot star of MGM and a box office attraction. She starred in several comedy films and serious flicks. Talking of the latter, she was paired opposite Wallace Berry in ‘Min and Bill’. Her stellar performance in the film helped her bag the Academy Award for Best Actress. She was nominated yet again in 1932 for her starring role in ‘Emma’.

In 1933, Dressler starred in four movies including, ‘Going Hollyood’, ‘Dinner at Eight’, ‘Tugboat Annie’ and ‘Christopher Bean’. The fairy tale revival of her career met with a staggering halt in 1934 when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Unaware of her terminal sickness, Dressler continued to act appearing in more than forty films. She achieved her greatest success during the last years of her life.

Major Works

Dressler’s most promising work came when she starred in the supper successful play, ‘Tillie’s Nightmare’. The play was a grand hit and became the magnum opus of Dressler’s early stage career. It was adapted into a film ‘Tillie’s Punctured Romance’ and its sequels.

Her career experienced a revival in late 1920s when she was cast in MGM films. During this time, she belted out hits after hits in all genres, right from comedy to serious drama. Her best bit came with the 1930 film, ‘Min and Bill’ for which she won an Academy Award.

Awards & Achievements

She was twice nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Actress in her career, wining it once for ‘Min and Bill’, in 1931.

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1731 Vine Street

Personal Life & Legacy

Dressler twice married in her lifetime. The first was to George Hoeppert, an American citizen, in 1899. The marriage gave Dressler an American citizenship. The union, however, did not last and the two parted ways.

In 1907, Dressler first met Maine businessman, James Henry ‘Jim’ Dalton. The following year the couple married in Europe. The marriage lasted till Dalton’s death in 1921.

Following Dalton’s death, Dressler moved in with a friend Nella Webb. In 1929, she moved to Los Angeles and later to Beverly Hills. During her last years, she lived with her maid Mamie and the latter’s husband, Jerry.

Just when her career had been revived and she tasted magnanimous success in films, Dressler was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She breathed her last on July 28, 1934, at the age of 65 in Santa Barbara, California.

Her home in Cobourg, Ontario, known as Marie Dressler House was converted into a restaurant in 1937. It remained operational until 1989. A fire damaged it completely after which it was restored as office of the Cobourg Chamber of Commerce. It today operates as a museum

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Canada Post as part of its ‘Canada in Hollywood’ series, issued a postage stamp on June 30, 2008 honouring Marie Dressler.

// Scorpio Celebrities

Marie Dressler biography timelines

  • // 1492
    Following her debut, she starred in various plays and shows including ‘Princess Nicotine’, ‘1492 Up To Date’, ‘Girofle-Girofla’, ‘A Stag Party’ and ‘A Hero in Spite of Himself’.
  • // 1731
    She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1731 Vine Street
  • // 9th Nov 1868
    Marie Dressler was born as Leila Marie Koerber on November 9, 1868, in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, to Alexander Rudolph Koerber and Anna Henderson. Both her parents were musicians. She had an elder sister named Bonita Louise Koerber.
  • // 1887
    After some time with Robert Grau Opera Company, Dressler joined the Starr Opera Company as a member of the chorus. She twice replaced regular actress and took up lead roles, as Katisha in ‘The Mikado’ and as Princess Flametta for an 1887 production.
  • // 1891
    She left Starr Opera Company and briefly re-joined her parents in Saignaw. However, she was called to join Bennett and Moulton Opera Company. For the next three years, she was on the road again, playing roles of light opera for the company. She remained with the company until 1891.
  • // 1891
    In 1891, she moved to Chicago where she was cast in two productions, ‘Little Robinson Crusoe’ and ‘The Tar and the Tartar’. She then moved to New York City. Following year she made her debut on Broadway at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in ‘Waldemar, the Robber of the Rhine’. The show lasted for merely five weeks.
  • // 1896
    In 1896, Dressler received her first starring role as Flo in ‘The Lady Slaver’ at the Casino Theatre on Broadway. The show was immensely successful. Her mirthful expressions, seriocomic reactions and double takes were lauded by the audience.
  • // 1899
    Dressler twice married in her lifetime. The first was to George Hoeppert, an American citizen, in 1899. The marriage gave Dressler an American citizenship. The union, however, did not last and the two parted ways.
  • // 1900
    In 1900, Dressler formed her own theatre troupe but it became bankrupt after the failure of its debut production, ‘Miss Prinnt’.
  • // 1904
    In 1904, she signed a contract with the Weber and Fields Music Hall management. She played lead roles in plays ‘Higgeldy Piggeldy’ and ‘Twiddle Twaddle’.
  • // 1907
    In 1907, Dressler first met her future husband James Henry ‘Jim’ Dalton. The two moved to London wherein she performed at the Palace Theatre of Varieties. At the same time, she attempted to come up with a modified production of ‘Higgeldy Piggeldy’. The show was a disaster and left Dressler broke for a second time in a row. She returned to New York and reinstated herself as a Broadway actor.
  • // 1907 To 1921
    In 1907, Dressler first met Maine businessman, James Henry ‘Jim’ Dalton. The following year the couple married in Europe. The marriage lasted till Dalton’s death in 1921.
  • // 1909 To 1910
    In 1909 and 1910, Dressler recorded for Edison Records. She next performed for a flop play, ‘Tillie’s Nightmare’ in Albany, Chicago, Kansas City and Philadelphia. Just before the show opened on Broadway, Dressler revised the show by installing a few changes. ‘Tillie’s Nightmare’ became a huge hit and magnum opus of Dressler’s stage career.
  • // 1919
    In 1919, Dressler was named President of the then newly formed Chorus Equity Association. After a couple of flop shows, Dressler returned to vaudeville stage with the Schubert Organization.
  • // 1922 To 1926
    In 1922, Dressler took an extended trip to Europe but failed to sell a film script therein. She returned to New York but struggled constantly due to lack of work. After a couple of performances here and there, in 1926, Dressler made a final appearance on Broadway as part of an Old Timers' bill at the Palace Theatre.
  • // 1925
    In 1925, Dressler retired from show business after few failures. However, her retirement did not last long as she returned to acting for Allan Dwan’s ‘The Jot Girl’. The film revamped the spirit of Dressler who was downtrodden with her failures.
  • // 1927
    Dressler’s comeback as an actor was aided from the help of Frances Marion, a screenwriter for MGM studio. It was on his request to Irving Thalberg, MGM chief, that Dressler bagged a role in a rowdy silent comedy, ‘The Callahans and the Murphys’ in 1927. The film was a big hit and it kick-started Dressler’s career again.
  • // 1928
    In 1928, Dressler essayed the role of a fluttery mother to Marion Davies and Jane Winston in the MGM production, ‘The Patsy’. The film was a major hit.
  • // 1929
    Following Dalton’s death, Dressler moved in with a friend Nella Webb. In 1929, she moved to Los Angeles and later to Beverly Hills. During her last years, she lived with her maid Mamie and the latter’s husband, Jerry.
  • // 1930
    Hollywood’s conversion to talkies from silent films gave Dressler better opportunities. In 1930, upon the Marion’s persuasion, Thalberg gave Dressler the role of Marthy in the film ‘Anna Christie’. Her outstanding talent was immediately recognized as she was lauded both by the critics and the audience. Her excellence on screen gained her a contract with MGM.
  • // 1930
    Her career experienced a revival in late 1920s when she was cast in MGM films. During this time, she belted out hits after hits in all genres, right from comedy to serious drama. Her best bit came with the 1930 film, ‘Min and Bill’ for which she won an Academy Award.
  • // 1931
    She was twice nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Actress in her career, wining it once for ‘Min and Bill’, in 1931.
  • // 1932
    Dressler became the hot star of MGM and a box office attraction. She starred in several comedy films and serious flicks. Talking of the latter, she was paired opposite Wallace Berry in ‘Min and Bill’. Her stellar performance in the film helped her bag the Academy Award for Best Actress. She was nominated yet again in 1932 for her starring role in ‘Emma’.
  • // 1933 To 1934
    In 1933, Dressler starred in four movies including, ‘Going Hollyood’, ‘Dinner at Eight’, ‘Tugboat Annie’ and ‘Christopher Bean’. The fairy tale revival of her career met with a staggering halt in 1934 when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Unaware of her terminal sickness, Dressler continued to act appearing in more than forty films. She achieved her greatest success during the last years of her life.
  • // 28th Jul 1934
    Just when her career had been revived and she tasted magnanimous success in films, Dressler was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She breathed her last on July 28, 1934, at the age of 65 in Santa Barbara, California.
  • // 1937 To 1989
    Her home in Cobourg, Ontario, known as Marie Dressler House was converted into a restaurant in 1937. It remained operational until 1989. A fire damaged it completely after which it was restored as office of the Cobourg Chamber of Commerce. It today operates as a museum
  • // 30th Jun 2008
    For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Canada Post as part of its ‘Canada in Hollywood’ series, issued a postage stamp on June 30, 2008 honouring Marie Dressler.

// Famous Canadian

Marie Dressler's FAQ

  • What is Marie Dressler birthday?

    Marie Dressler was born at 1868-11-09

  • When was Marie Dressler died?

    Marie Dressler was died at 1934-07-28

  • Where was Marie Dressler died?

    Marie Dressler was died in Santa Barbara, California, U.S.

  • Which age was Marie Dressler died?

    Marie Dressler was died at age 65

  • Where is Marie Dressler's birth place?

    Marie Dressler was born in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

  • What is Marie Dressler nationalities?

    Marie Dressler's nationalities is Canadian,American

  • Who is Marie Dressler spouses?

    Marie Dressler's spouses is George Hoeppert (m. 1899–1906), James Henry Dalton (m. 1908–21)

  • Who is Marie Dressler siblings?

    Marie Dressler's siblings is Bonita Louise Koerber

  • Who is Marie Dressler's father?

    Marie Dressler's father is Alexander Rudolph Koerber

  • Who is Marie Dressler's mother?

    Marie Dressler's mother is Anna Henderson

  • What is Marie Dressler's sun sign?

    Marie Dressler is Scorpio

  • How famous is Marie Dressler?

    Marie Dressler is famouse as Actress