The Lost Matriarchs of Hollywood

American cinema was once full of formidable, charismatic older women. What happened to them?

(Bettmann / Contributor)

Perhaps the most formidable woman of classic Hollywood was the strong, eagle-eyed matriarch. She’s generally missing from screens now, but from the 1930s till the 1960s, certain character actors — Lucile Watson, Edna May Oliver, May Robson, Jane Darwell, and Gladys Cooper, among others — put their unique signatures on these roles. Ethel Barrymore brought her commanding height, hawklike […]

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