If you were casting a mother in Hollywood in the 1940s your first choice would be Anne Revere.
Born in New York City in 1903 — a descendant of Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere of ‘midnight ride’ renown — she came from a moneyed backround. Her father was a stockbroker, and Anne was raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and in New Jersey. She was a 1926 graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts.
She then made the familiar journey through stock, regional theater and Broadway theater and wound up in Hollywood in 1931. Her angular looks pidgeonholded Revere into character roles, and she made the most of it. She appeared in supporting parts in some three dozen big screen titles between 1934 until 1951.
In all her career covered about 40 movies, and, yes, she played the matriarch often. She appeared, for example, as the mother of Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck, John Garfield and Montgomery Clift.
Revere was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance (with Jones, pictured below) in 1943’s The Song of Bernadette.
For her maternal role in 1947’s Gentlemen’s Agreement, Revere won another best supporting actress nomination. (The movie was one of six that the actress appeared in that year.) There she is with Peck below.
Revere made her big Oscar score, winning as best supporting actress, for 1944’s horsey melodrama starring a very young Taylor, National Velvet.
Revere’s movie career was derailed after her stark performance as Clift’s mother in 1951’s A Place in the Sun (see her photo at the top of this blog). She ran afoul of the House Un-American Activities Committee investigating Communism in Hollywood. She didn’t make another movie until 1970’s Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon.
Revere was married to the same man (theater director Samuel Rosen) for nearly 50 years. The couple had no children. They maintained a home in Locust Valley on Long Island, N.Y., where the actress could relax and be herself (she died there in 1990 at the age of 87).
Below is a photo of Revere at her leisure. For a professional mom, not a bad looking woman.