Tuesday, June 23, 2009
One Bad Mother
Our dear readers know their steely old battleaxes; Gladys Cooper's identity posed no problem to you. MC, that clarion of elan and style, was the first to correctly name her.
A great beauty in her youth, Ms. Cooper was criticized in her early stage career for being too stiff; by the time she made her mark in Hollywood, that stiffness had transformed into a gloriously venomous archness. Ms. Cooper's best known role, of course, was that of Bette Davis's gorgon of a mother in Now, Voyager (1942) - it's a remarkable, finely etched performance which manages to be terrifying, maddening, and extremely funny.
In 1967, Gladys Cooper was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE); she passed away four years later, at age 82, after a bout with pneumonia.
MC wins a collection of good, solid books; sensible shoes; and freedom henceforth from any diets - all things which would meet with Ms. Cooper's approval.