Jessie Ralph was an American stage and screen actress, best known for her matronly roles in many classic motion pictures.
She was born Jessie Ralph Chambers in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1864. She made her acting debut in 1880, at the age of sixteen. She made it to Broadway, where George M. Cohan cast her in many of his musicals, but she also excelled at dramatic roles. Although she made her Hollywood debut in 1916, she only became a permanent Hollywood actress in 1933. She was nearly 70 at this time, so her roles were restricted to those of dumpy old ladies, 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, and as W.C. Fields' battleaxe of a mother-in-law in The Bank Dick. She starred in 55 movies altogether, 52 between 1933 and 1940.
She retired in 1940, after her leg was amputated, and she died 4 years later at the age of 79. She was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Her husband, Bill Patton, was a bit- part actor in Westerns.
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