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Beulah Bondi

Beulah Bondi (May 3, 1888 – January 11, 1981) was an American character actress. She often played eccentric mothers and, later, grandmothers and wives. She played supporting roles in several films during the 1930s, and was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Although at her height in Hollywood from the 1930s until the 1950s, Beulah never retired, and she continued acting well into her later years, at the age of 88 winning an Emmy Award for her guest-star role on The Waltons in 1976.


Our Town (1941)

One Foot in Heaven (1942)

Watch on the Rhine (1944)

It's a Wonderful Life (1947)


Beulah played the mother of Jimmy Stewart in four films: Of Human Hearts (1938), Vivacious Lady (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1940), and It’s a Wonderful Life (1947).

She made her stage debut at 9 years old, in the title role of Little Lord Fauntleroy at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Beulah always said her greatest regret was not winning the role of “Ma Joad” in John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath (1941).

She changed the spelling of her last name from Bondy to Bondi so the letters would all fit on one line for top billing on movie marquees.

Though she often played loving mothers and wives, she never married nor had children.

Beulah received a master’s degree in oratory from Valparaiso University.

She began her movie career at the age of 43. She played Emma Jones in Street Scene (1931).

In 1937, Beulah was one of the first five women to be nominated for an Academy Award in the newly created category of “Best Supporting Actress” for her work in The Gorgeous Hussy.

Beulah made one of her final performances as Martha Corinne Walton on The Waltons in 1976 (“The Pony Cart”). She received an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy series for her performance in “The Pony Cart”.

Beulah died in her California home at the age of 92 due to injuries she sustained after tripping over her cat.

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