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Queenie Smith
Queenie Smith.jpg
Smith in 1920
Born(1898-09-08)September 8, 1898
Texas, U.S.
DiedAugust 5, 1978(1978-08-05) (aged 79)
Years active1915–1978
Robert Garland
(m. 1931; div. 1937)

Queenie Smith (September 8, 1898 – August 5, 1978) was an American stage, television, and film actress.

Life and career

Smith was born in Texas.[1] Her family moved from Texas to New York shortly before Smith began studying at the Metropolitan Opera's ballet school. She got an early start, being trained in ballet and dance and spent her teen years performing as a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Company[2] in operas such as Aida, La Traviata, and Faust.[citation needed] By the 1920s she was appearing on Broadway in shows such as Helen of Troy, New York (1923), Sitting Pretty (1924), and The Street Singer (1929),[3] and by the mid-1930s had made her way into films.[citation needed] She also appeared on Broadway in Tip-Toes (1925).[3] She costarred in the 1936 Universal Pictures film version of Jerome Kern's Show Boat, playing Ellie May Chipley. Smith replaced stage actress Eva Puck who had starred as Chipley in the 1927 premiere and 1932 revival of Show Boat.

In 1947 she appeared in the film The Long Night and then played other character roles on film, and later, television. She was seen as Jimmy Durante's wife in The Great Rupert, and in guest shots in many television shows, including The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, A.E.S. Hudson Street, Rhoda, Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway, Barney Miller, Mother, Jugs & Speed, Chico and the Man, McMillan & Wife, Love American Style, The Waltons, Here's Lucy, The Funny Side, Hawaii Five-O, The Monkees, The Odd Couple, The Love Boat, Maude and Little House on the Prairie (in a recurring role as Mrs. Whipple).

Smith was a teacher and mentor to many a young actor. She taught at the Hollywood Professional School and was the director for the training program at Melodyland Theater in Anaheim, California, during the 1960s.

She worked until the year of her death, her last role being Elsie in the Chevy Chase/Goldie Hawn film Foul Play. (1978).[4] She died of cancer a month before her 80th birthday.

Partial filmography


  1. ^ "'Street Singer' Dance Show". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 7, 1931. p. 17. Retrieved February 2, 2020 – via
  2. ^ Lukes, Margaret M. (January 22, 1927). "No more clothes-horses in the chorus". Deseret News. Salt Lake City. Public Ledger. p. 31. Retrieved February 2, 2020 – via
  3. ^ a b "Queenie Smith". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on February 2, 2020. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  4. ^ "Foul Play". LetterBoxd. Retrieved September 29, 2022.