Mary Gordon (actress)

Mary Gordon (born Mary Gilmour, 16 May 1882 in Glasgow, Scotland – 23 August 1963 in Pasadena, California) was a Scottish actress, long in the United States, who specialized in housekeepers and mothers, most notably the landlady Mrs. Hudson in the Sherlock Holmes series of movies of the Thirties and Forties. She would appear in nearly 300 films between 1925 and 1950.

She was born Mary Gilmour, the fifth of seven children of Glasgow wire weaver Robert Gilmour and his wife Mary[1]. She worked as a dressmaker before finding work on the stage. Joining a company bound for an American tour, she came to the U.S. in her twenties, apparently making a few appearances on Broadway in small roles, but primarily touring in stock companies.

With her mother and daughter (also named Mary), she arrived in Los Angeles in the mid-Twenties and began playing variations on the roles she would spend her career on. She became friends with John Ford while making Hangman's House in 1928 and made seven more films for him. In 1939, she took on her best remembered role as Sherlock Holmes's landlady and played the role in ten films and numerous radio plays. She was a charter member of the Hollywood Canteen, entertaining servicemen throughout the Second World War. On the radio show Those We Love, she played the regular role of Mrs. Emmett.

She entered retirement just as television reshaped the entertainment industry, making only a single appearance in that medium. Very active in the Daughters of Scotia auxiliary of the Order of Scottish Clans, she lived out her final years in Pasadena, California with her daughter and grandson. She died after a long illness on August 23, 1963.[2]


  1. ^ Scottish Census for 1901,v Roll CSSCT1891_283
  2. ^ Pasadena Star-News, 26 August 1963

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