Almira Sessions

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Almira Sessions
File:AlmiraSessions.jpg
Born (1888-09-16)September 16, 1888
Washington, D.C., United States
Died August 3, 1974(1974-08-03) (aged 85)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1909–1972

Almira Sessions (September 16, 1888 - August 3, 1974) was an American character actress of stage, screen and television. Born in Washington, D.C., her career took her through all the acting mediums of the 20th century, spanning eight decades, and led her from Washington D.C. to New York City to Hollywood. She worked into her 80s, finally retiring shortly before her death in 1974 in Los Angeles.

Early life and career

Sessions was born into a very well-known family in Washington D.C. on September 16, 1888.[1] A debutante, she would follow her coming out party with her introduction into the acting profession, appearing in a 1909 performance of the operetta The Sultan of Sulu by George Ade and Nathaniel D. Mann.[1][2] Her early career was spent performing in caberets before she moved to New York City, where she began performing on the stage and on Bob Hope's radio show.[2] During the 1930s she would appear in many stage productions, including several Broadway productions.[3]

Film and television

While appearing on the stage in New York during the 1930s, Sessions made her film debut in Edward Sloman's 1932 film Wayward.[4] While this marked her debut in films, it was not the true beginning to her career in film. Wayward was filmed in New York at the Paramount Publix studios. Sessions would not begin to appear regularly in films until eight years later, in 1940, with her appearance in Norman Taurog's Little Nellie Kelly, starring Judy Garland.[5] Over the course of the remainder of her career, she would make appearances in over 500 films and television shows.[1]

During her film career, which spanned four decades from the 1940s to the 1970s, she would appear in numerous notable films, including: Preston Sturges's Sullivan's Travels (1942), starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake;[6] the William Wellman drama, The Ox-Bow Incident, starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, and Anthony Quinn;[7] another Preston Sturges film, the 1944 comedy The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, with Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton;[8] the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical State Fair (1945); [9] the Cole Porter biopic, Night and Day (1946), starring Cary Grant and Alexis Smith;[10] Monsieur Verdoux, the 1946 comedy-drama written and directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin, in which she had one of her infrequent featured roles;[11] the iconic It's a Wonderful Life (1947), directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart;[12] the Christmas classic The Bishop's Wife (1948), which stars Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven and was directed by Henry Koster; [13] the period comedy Take Me Out to the Ball Game, starring Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Esther Williams;[14] and King Vidor's 1949 production of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal.[15]

The 1950s would see her continue appearing in numerous films, including such notable pictures as the Henry Koster classic comedy Harvey (1950), starring James Stewart;[16] the film version of Damon Runyon's short story The Lemon Drop Kid, starring Bob Hope;[17] 1955's Rebel Without a Cause (1955), starring James Dean and Natalie Wood;[18] Michael Curtiz's 1956 crime drama The Scarlet Hour;[19] and Elvis Presley's third film, Loving You (1957).[20] The 1950s would see Sessions enter the new medium of television. Beginning with The Adventures of Kit Carson, she had guest appearances in dozens of television shows during the decade. Some of the shows she appeared in were: Adventures of Superman, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Hopalong Cassidy, Lassie, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

Sessions's career slowed down in the 1960s, but she continued to appear both in films and on television. Her film credits during this decade included the film adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play Summer and Smoke (1961), starring Laurence Harvey, Geraldine Page, and Rita Moreno;[21] the 1963 comedy Under the Yum Yum Tree, with Jack Lemon, Carol Lynley, Dean Jones, and Edie Adams;[22] the 1968 thriller, The Boston Strangler, starring Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda;[23] and Roman Polanski's horror classic, Rosemary's Baby, starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, and Ruth Gordon.[24] Her television credits during the 1960s included: The Donna Reed Show, The Munsters, F Troop, The Andy Griffith Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. While her credits in the 1970s were limited as her career wound down, the films and television shows in which she appeared well known. Her lone film credit was in the classic horror film Willard (1971),[25] and her television credits included guest appearances on Marcus Welby, M.D., Night Gallery, and Love, American Style.

Sessions died on August 3, 1974, in Los Angeles, California. She is interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[26]

Filmography

(Per AFI database)[27]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Almira Sessions, Biography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Almira Sessions, biography". AllMovie. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Almira Sessions, performer". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Wayward". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Little Nellie Kelly". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Sullivan's Travels". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "The Ox-Bow Incident". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "State Fair". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Night and Day". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Monsieur Verdoux". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "It's a Wonderful Life". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "The Bishop's Wife". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "The Fountainhead". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Harvey". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "The Lemon Drop Kid". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Rebel Without a Cause". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "The Scarlet Hour". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Loving You". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Summer and Smoke". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Under the Yum Yum Tree". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "The Boston Strangler". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Rosemary's Baby". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Willard". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Almira Sessions". Find a Grave. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Almira Sessions". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links