She “steals” several pictures, including by way of her turn as an oversexed countess in 1939’s The Women (quite a feat since the cast includes Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Joan Fontaine, Rosalind Russell and, sharing the photo below, Paulette Goddard) …….
…. and as the matronly Mrs. Bennett in 1940’s Pride and Prejudice.
She could also mix it up with Charlie Ruggles in 1934’s Six of a Kind…
…and as a social snob in 1935’s Ruggles of Red Gap.
Mary Boland was born in 1880 in Philadelphia, the daughter of itinerant actor William Boland. She was educated at Catholic schools in Detroit, and by age 25 was on the stage. By the time she landed in Hollywood, Boland had carved out a successful niche for herself as an accomplished stage comedienne. Her movie debut came in 1915 in producer Thomas Ince’s silent drama The Edge of the Abyss.
Boland, who died of a heart attack in 1965, left Hollywood to return to the Broadway stage in the early 1950’s. Her movie career, as is often the case with character performers, was busy — some 60 credits over four decades.
She is remembered for her turns in blowsy, maternal roles spiked with more than a dash of sex appeal. We remember her as a most congenial scene stealer.