Polly Moran (1883-1952) is probably best known today for a series of comedies she co-starred in with Marie Dressler in the late twenties and early thirties. In the years before this she was a key member of Mack Sennett’s onscreen stock company, which will give you some idea of her brand of comedy: physical and not by any means highbrow. Her first decade and a half in show business had been spent doing a music hall style act in vaudeville, and she returned to vaud periodically over the years. After Dressler’s death, Moran’s career waned, although she did play bit parts sporadically in lesser pictures. She had a nice part opposite Tracy and Hepburn in Adam’s Rib in 1949. She passed away three years later at age 69.
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.