b. 11 August 1891, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 25 September 1959, Beverly Hills, California, USA. An actress and singer with a deadpan expression and sardonic manner, Broderick made her Broadway debut in the chorus of the Follies Of 1907, the first of the series that came to be known as the Ziegfeld Follies. This was followed by further chorus work in The Girl In Question (1908) and The Honeymoon Express, along with the role of Miss Winston in comedian Richard Carle’s vehicle, Jumping Jupiter (1911). Broderick then spent several years performing in vaudeville with her husband, Lester Crawford, and appeared in various straight parts, before returning to New York in the revues Nifties Of 1923 and Puzzles Of 1925. After joining Beatrice Lillie, Charles Winninger, and Charles Purcell for a couple of months in Oh, Please! (1926), she excelled in the Cole Porter musical comedy Fifty Million Frenchmen (1929). She enjoyed further success in The Band Wagon (1931, introducing the witty ‘Where Can He Be?’), Earl Carroll Vanities (1932), and As Thousands Cheer (1933), before turning her attention to Hollywood. Signed initially to RKO, Broderick provided the comic relief while Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced delightfully in Top Hat and Swing Time, and continued to keep cinema audiences laughing for the best part of a decade.
Share this page