Aline Laveen MacMahon
May 3, 1899
McKeesport, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||October 12, 1991 (aged 92)|
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Barnard College|
(m. 1928; died 1975)
Aline Laveen MacMahon (May 3, 1899 – October 12, 1991) was an American actress. Her career began on stage in 1921. She worked extensively in film and television until her retirement in 1975. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Dragon Seed (1944).
MacMahon was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, to William Marcus MacMahon and Jennie (née Simon). Her father was an editor with the Associated Press and the editor of Munsey's Magazine.
Her parents married on July 14, 1898, in Columbus, Ohio. Her father died on September 6, 1931. Her mother, an avid bell collector, died in 1984, aged 106.
MacMahon was entertaining as early as 1908, when a newspaper article reported "a series of songs and dances by Aline MacMahon" at St. Jude's Church in Brooklyn.
MacMahon was raised in Brooklyn in New York City and educated at public school 103, Erasmus Hall High School (Brooklyn) and Barnard College.
MacMahon made her professional debut in 1914.
She began appearing on Broadway in 1921 in The Madras House. (Another source says that her first Broadway performance was in The Mirage in 1921.) Her Broadway credits include 24 shows. Her first film role was the Pre-Code Five Star Final (1931); she alternated between Broadway and Hollywood throughout her career.
Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors states of MacMahon (in part): "She proved to be a fine, sympathetic actress with a quick wit and tart tongue who then moved into character roles with ease as she became plumper and more motherly looking."
On March 28, 1928, MacMahon married Clarence Stein, an architect and city planner, who founded the Regional Planning Association. For long periods throughout their marriage, she lived in Los Angeles, while Stein lived in New York City. He died in 1975. They had no children. MacMahon was chairwoman of the Equity Library Theater in 1950. She organized productions for community theaters and was active in relief charities.
MacMahon died in 1991, aged 92, of pneumonia in New York City, seven years after the death of her mother Jennie, who died at age 106 in 1984.
The New York Public Library has a collection of MacMahon's papers that document various aspects of her life. They are housed in the library's Billy Rose Theatre Division.