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March 19, 2022

Marie Dressler’s Hat, 1909

Marie Dressler, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, wearing lamp shade style hat on her head.

Marie Dressler (1868–1934) was a Canadian stage and screen actress, comedian, and early silent film and Depression-era film star. In 1914, she was in the first full-length film comedy. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1931.

Leaving home at the age of 14, Dressler built a career on stage in traveling theatre troupes, where she learned to appreciate her talent in making people laugh. In 1892, she started a career on Broadway that lasted into the 1920s, performing comedic roles that allowed her to improvise to get laughs.

Her career declined in the 1920s, and Dressler was reduced to living on her savings while sharing an apartment with a friend. In 1927, she returned to films at the age of 59 and experienced a remarkable string of successes. For her performance in the comedy film Min and Bill (1930), Dressler won the Academy Award for Best Actress.


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