Elizabeth Allan (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 08, 2022

Elizabeth Allan was born in Skegness, a dot on the map of England, on April 9, and spent her early years in the small seaside village. Probably it was the nearness of the ocean that instilled in her the desire to travel to foreign lands which has never been satiated.

Slim, green-eyed, this English girl was the youngest of five children, three boys and two girls, born to the village physician, William Alexander Allan, and Amelia Morris Allan.

Elizabeth attended Skegness Day School, and later was a student at Polam Hall, in Darlington, where she was graduated and awarded a scholarship at the Old Vic Theatre training school for young actresses in London.

Teacher in English

For six months, while waiting to enter the theatrical school, Elizabeth, then only sixteen, taught school in Skegness. Finally she went to London to begin her theatrical training.

After she had completed her dramatic course, she spent two years in Shakespearean repertoire, touring England. Small roles in several plays followed. Her first London appearance was made in 1930 in “Michael and Mary” with Herbert Marshall and Edna Best. Mr. Marshall and Miss Best introduced her to William J. O’Bryen, who became her manager and started her on her screen career. She secured her first motion picture role as a “bit” player in “Alibi,” produced in London in 1930, and later appeared in “Michael and Mary,” “Many Waters,” “Reserved for Ladies,” “Down Our Street,” “Insult” and ‘Nine Till Six.”

She married her manager, Mr. O’Bryen, in 1932, and, shortly after, signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, arriving in Hollywood early in 1933.

First With Barrymore

Miss Allan’s first American picture was “Looking Forward,” with Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone and a fellow Englishwoman, Benita Hume. Then followed “No Marriage Ties,” “Ace of Aces,” “Solitaire Man,” “Mystery of Mr. X,” “Men in White,” “Outcast Lady,” starring Constance Bennett, and David Copperfield. Since then she has appeared in “Mark of the Vampire,” and was the Lucie Manette in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

Her next role was with Greta Garbo in Camille, and then she was loaned out to make “Michael Strogoff” and “The Last Slaver.”

Elizabeth is five feet five inches tall and weighs 116 pounds. Her hair is light brown and her eyes are green.

Ambitious to Travel

When in Hollywood, Miss Allan lives in an unpretentious bungalow surrounded by flowers grown from seeds sent to her by her English fans. She plays tennis and cricket and is an expert swimmer. She collects odd bits of antique jewelry and glass. Her ambition is to travel to all the mysterious countries she read about in her childhood.

Strangely, she has no ambitions to become a film star because of the responsibility that goes with it. Her present plans are to devote about five years to her career as a co-star or a leading woman.

Kind and affable, Miss Allan is well-liked in the film colony. She numbers among her many friends her countrymen, Reginald Owen, May Robson, Dame May Whitty, Freddie Bartholomew and Henry Daniell.

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