skip navigation
Dame May Whitty

Dame May Whitty

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (3)

Also Known As: Dame May Whitty Died: May 29, 1948
Born: June 19, 1865 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Liverpool, England, GB Profession: actor, dancer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Best-known for her scene-stealing villainous turn in "Major League" (1989), actress Margaret Whitton also made a memorable impression in "The Secret of My Success" (1987), "Ironweed" (1987) and "Man Without a Face" (1993) before moving into directing on both the stage and screen. Born in Fort Maine, MD to a nurse mother and Army colonel father, Whitton spent some of her early childhood in Japan before moving with her family to New Jersey and then Fort Lauderdale. She made her on-screen debut in an episode of soap opera "The Doctors" (NBC, 1963-82) but spent much of her early career treading the boards, eventually making it onto Broadway in 1982's "Steaming." Later that year, she appeared in parody anthology "National Lampoon's Movie Madness" (1982) and played Terry Jean Moore's lawyer in biopic "Love Child" (1982), while her first recurring TV role arrived courtesy of thirtysomething dramedy "Hometown" (CBS, 1985). After appearing opposite Robin Williams and Kurt Russell in high school football comedy "The Best of Times" (1986) and playing Kim Basinger's best friend Molly in erotic drama "9 ½ Weeks" (1986), Whitton turned in two brilliantly vampish performances, first as Michael J Fox's...

Best-known for her scene-stealing villainous turn in "Major League" (1989), actress Margaret Whitton also made a memorable impression in "The Secret of My Success" (1987), "Ironweed" (1987) and "Man Without a Face" (1993) before moving into directing on both the stage and screen. Born in Fort Maine, MD to a nurse mother and Army colonel father, Whitton spent some of her early childhood in Japan before moving with her family to New Jersey and then Fort Lauderdale. She made her on-screen debut in an episode of soap opera "The Doctors" (NBC, 1963-82) but spent much of her early career treading the boards, eventually making it onto Broadway in 1982's "Steaming." Later that year, she appeared in parody anthology "National Lampoon's Movie Madness" (1982) and played Terry Jean Moore's lawyer in biopic "Love Child" (1982), while her first recurring TV role arrived courtesy of thirtysomething dramedy "Hometown" (CBS, 1985). After appearing opposite Robin Williams and Kurt Russell in high school football comedy "The Best of Times" (1986) and playing Kim Basinger's best friend Molly in erotic drama "9 ½ Weeks" (1986), Whitton turned in two brilliantly vampish performances, first as Michael J Fox's aunt-by-marriage Vera in "The Secret of My Success" (1987) and then as Gay Nineties temptress Katrina in "Ironweed" (1987). But it was as the scheming Las Vegas showgirl-turned-Cleveland Indians owner Rachel Phelps in family comedy "Major League" (1989) and its 1994 sequel which proved to be lifelong baseball fan Whitton's defining role. After playing Fred Savage's mother in children's fantasy "Little Monsters" (1989) Whitton returned to the small screen to star alongside Christopher Cazenove as divorced travel show host Louisa Phillips in "A Fine Romance" (ABC, 1989), and Teri Garr as the world-class scientist Genevieve in sibling rivalry sitcom "Good & Evil" (ABC, 1991), both of which only lasted one season. Roles in TV movie "The Summer My Father Grew Up" (1991) and dysfunctional comedy "Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even" (1992) followed, as did a stint in another failed sitcom, "Cutters" (CBS, 1993). But Whitton got her career back on track with a measured turn as Nick Stahl's resilient mother in Mel Gibson's directorial debut, "The Man Without a Face" (1993), and also impressed as tough-talking attorney Leslie Abramson in the true crime tale "Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills" (1994). Whitton's performance as juror Jane Lyle in legal thriller "Trial by Jury" (1994) proved to be her last appearance in front of the camera as she returned to her first love, the theater, as a director, working on a Public Theater production of "Two Tricks" and two dramas by Irish playwright Marina Carr. After serving as producer on "Been Rich All My Life" (2006), a documentary about veteran tap dancing group Silver Belles, Whitton made her film directing debut with romantic comedy "A Bird of the Air" (2011), following it up a year later with a portrait of legendary casting director Marion Dougherty in "Casting By" (2012). Following a brief battle with cancer, Whitton died aged 67 in 2016.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 The Return of October (1948) Aunt Martha
2.
 The Sign of the Ram (1948) Clara Brastock
3.
 If Winter Comes (1948) Mrs. Perch
4.
 This Time for Keeps (1947) Grandma Cambaretti
5.
 Green Dolphin Street (1947) Mother Superior
6.
 Devotion (1946) Lady Thornton
7.
 My Name Is Julia Ross (1945) Mrs. Williamson Hughes
8.
 Gaslight (1944) Miss [Bessy] Thwaites
9.
 The White Cliffs of Dover (1944) Nanny
10.
 Madame Curie (1944) Mme. Eugene Curie
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Immigrated to US
:
Ballet debut aged 16
:
Stage acting debut at age 17
1937:
First role in sound film "Night Must Fall"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Named Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1918.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Ben Webster. Stage actor.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Margaret Webster. Actor, director, producer, playwright.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute