Louise Carter: Melodramatic Mom

A few fragments today on actress/ playwright/producer Louise Carter (1875-1975), not to be confused with Mrs. Leslie Carter. I became aware of Louise Carter through her entertaining playing of naggy wife/mother figures in WC Fields You’re Telling Me (1934) and Marion Davies’ Blondie of the Follies (1932). These were the types of parts she specialized in her decades. She also has smaller supporting roles and walk-ons in films like Trouble in Paradise (1932), I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), Doctor Bull (1933, with Will Rogers), Footlight Parade (1933), Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935), Rose of the Rancho (1936) and Gone with the Wind (1939).

Originally from Denison, Iowa, Carter began her career with stock companies and in vaudeville. Her first Broadway show was Merry-Go-Round (1908) by Gus Edwards and Edgar Smith, with Mabel Hite and James J. Morton and a chorus that included future stars Mae Murray, Fay Tincher, and Maude Adams. She appeared in another eight shows on Broadway through 1930, one of the more notable being Skidding (1928), featuring Clara Blandick, Walter Abel, Marguerite Churchill, and Charles Eaton. Her own play Bedfellows was produced at the Waldorf Theatre in 1929. From 1924 through 1926, Carter also played supporting roles in a half dozen silent films alongside the likes of Lowell Sherman, Madge Kennedy, Alice Lake, and George Walsh. Her last screen credit was Brother Orchid (1940) with Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sothern, Donald Crisp, Ralph Bellamy, and Allen Jenkins.

To learn more about vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.