Cora Witherspoon (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 09, 2022

Acknowledged in the course of her first year in Hollywood to be one of the leading comediennes of the screen, Cora Witherspoon gathered her wealth of experience from the American stage. She knows Broadway, from Columbus Circle south to Times Square, but she also knows the thoroughfare when it reaches out across the continent to become what troupers call “the road.”

In 1910, Cora Witherspoon made her theater debut with Leo Dietrichstein in David Belasco’s production of “The Concert.” George M. Cohan thought so well of her work that he engaged her to appear with Dietrichstein again in the following year in “The Great Lover,” and after that in “The King.”

In “Daddy Long Legs”

Ruth Chatterton, now a Hollywood star, who today is Miss Witherspoon’s close friend, was the star in Henry Miller’s “Daddy Long Legs,” in which she appeared next. From the night of her initial appearance on Broadway, Miss Witherspoon’s stage career was never in doubt.

The New Orleans debutante, whose early background lay in the society life of the picturesque Crescent City and in a finishing school in Paris, was destined to play in a series of notable productions with Broadway’s pre-eminent stars.

Among them are “Lilies of the Field,” with Mary Dow; “The Awful Truth,” with Ina Claire, and “Grounds for Divorce,” with the same star; “The Fall of Eve,” with Ruth Gordon, written by Anita Loos, who now is a writer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where Miss Witherspoon is under contract; “Olympia,” with Laura Hope Crews; “Waterloo Bridge,” with June Walker; “Phillip Goes Forth,” with George Kelly; “Say When,” with Harry Rich man; “Touch of Brimstone,” with Roland Young; “The Constant Wife,” with Ethel Barrymore; “Three Faces East,” with George M. Cohan, and many others.

“Peacherino” Her First

Miss Witherspoon made her first screen appearance in “Peacherino,” following in “Quality Street,” with Katharine Hepburn and Franchot Tone; “On the Avenue” for 20th Century-Fox, on loan; “Dangerous Number,” Personal Property, “Piccadilly Jim” and Libeled Lady“Personal Property” and “Madame X” for M-G-M.

Her father was H. E. Witherspoon, New Orleans attorney, and her mother, Cora Slocum Bell, was a social leader of the city. She was born on January 5. Miss Wither

spoon designs her own clothes and makes frequent flights back to New York, although she has become acclimated to California and completely won over by the screen.

Aside from her devotion to the art of acting, Miss Witherspoon takes a practical working interest in designing. She created the costumes for Ruth Chatterton in James M. Barrie’s “Mary Rose,” and for a period designed all costumes for Henry Miller productions.

Crisp and Cosmopolitan Miss Witherspoon is cosmopolitan almost to the point of crispness. Her travel abroad and her experiences in the theater have effectually removed any traces of the languid Louisiana personality that was hers in girlhood. Even so, she is deliberate, unhurried, and of charming poise.

She clings to her heritage in her tastes for food and her love of flowers. Her choice of all meats is New Orleans fried chicken and she has a weakness for watermelon and fried bananas. Her favorite flower is the yellow rose, but honeysuckle is her favorite scent. The vines climbed up beside her windows, down home in New Orleans.

Friends know her as loyal to all. Possessed of a deep sense of humor, she is hailed as the “life of the party” in her social activities.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937