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  • No Time for Comedy

  • The Petrified Forest

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Genevieve Tobin Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Nov 21, 1901
  • Died: Jul 31, 1995

The daughter of a stage performer, American actress Genevieve Tobin helped put food on the family table by going to work in the 1919 play [[Feature~V105440~Palmy Days~palmydays]]. Tobin worked her way up from ingenue to glamorous romantic leading lady, attaining the status of "critic's darling" --meaning that her reviews often commented on her looks and mannerisms, seldom on her talent. This isn't to say that she wasn't talented; indeed, it was Tobin's rendition (with [[Performer~P26219~William Gaxton~williamgaxton]]) of Cole Porter's song "You Do Something to Me" that helped make [[Performer~P177370~Porter~porter]]'s 1929 production [[Feature~V91273~Fifty Million Frenchmen~fiftymillionfrenchmen]] a hit. Squired by many of society's richest and most desirable bachelors, Tobin was the living, walking personification of "Broadway Celebrity" in the eyes of many fans. She entered films with [[Feature~V98543~A Lady Surrenders~aladysurrenders]] (1930), thereafter specializing in comedy roles (with the notable exception of her role as a bored businessman's wife in The Petrified Forest [1936]). But while she seemed bewitchingly adorable on stage, she came off as a bit arch in films; her interpretation of Perry Mason's secretary Della Street in [[Feature~V8497~Case of the Lucky Legs~thecaseoftheluckylegs]] (1935) is undercut by a "stage British" accent that wouldn't convince a grade school kid. Nonetheless, she excelled in roles calling for surface charm and superciliousness, such as her flighty patroness of the arts in [[Feature~V104184~No Time for Comedy~notimeforcomedy]] (1940). Genevieve Tobin curtailed her acting career after her 1938 marriage to film director [[Performer~P97023~William Keighley~williamkeighley]], who in the fashion typical of the era frowned upon having a working wife. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi