Helen Broderick


  1. Blanche  Friderici, Flying Down To Rio,  1932.       Sudden change of Dona Elena when Broderick scuttled back to Broadway’s As Thousands Cheer.  Brooklyn’s Friderici was best known for tough old birds.  She even played one,  Mammy Plesant, inThe Cat and the Canary, 1922… in blackface!
  2. Alice Brady, The Gay Divorcee, 1934.     Broderick Crawford’s mother was unavailable for Ginger Rogers’ ditzy much-married Aunty Hortense… in the second Fred & Ginger “whumsical”- and, as far as Fred was concerned, the last. Until the hot reviews rolled in. They made eight more: two with Helen: Top Hat and Swing Time.   
  3. Kay Johnson, Village Tale, 1934.    Kay Johnson, Village Tale, 1934. For the first time Randy Scott plucked a role away from his house-mate Cary Grant. Scott’s co-star went from Cary’s planned Evelyn Venable to  Helen Broderick to,  Kay Johnson. Director John Cromwell did not stray far from his hearth to find her. She was Mrs Cromwell during 1928-1945.
  4. Zasu Pitts,  The Plot Thickens, 1935.    After Broderick’s unsuccessful entry in the Miss Hildergarde Withers schoolmarm-detective franchise, RKO tried two more murders case with Pitts, no less.  And that just about summed up public opinion about the void numbers following the first three starring Edna May Oliver. Minus her, alongside James Gleason’s Inspector Oscar Piper, was akin to Murder She Wrote minus Angela Lansbury.  Gleason played enough cops to fill a precinct  during his 163 screen roles. 
  5. Spring Byington, Rings on Her Fingers, 1941.     Byington took over Maybelle Worthington when Broderick quit director Rouben Mamoulian’s 14th film to take care of her ill mother in New York. Broderick missed nothing – “a mediocre exercise,” according to the New York Times.
  6. Lillian Randolph, It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946.





 Birth year: 1891Death year: 1959Other name: Casting Calls:  6