Reeves-Smith, Olive, 1894-1972

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Olive Reeves-Smith was an actress who worked primarily in the theater and musical comedy and was best known as a character actress.

She was born in Etwell, England on November 23, 1894, daughter of the English actor, Harry Reeves-Smith. Beginning as a musical comedy actress in England, she had a long career on the American stage as a character actress. Playing many minor roles, she gained notice as George M. Cohan's lead in his PIGEONS AND PEOPLE and played Dolly Bloomer in many productions of BLOOMER GIRL. She played both a cockney and the elegant Lady Boxington in MY FAIR LADY.

She was married twice, both to actors. The first was Denman Maley and the second was Fuller Mellish, Jr. She died in New York in 1972.

From the description of Olive Reeves-Smith Papers, 1879-1964 bulk (1920-1961). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122608231

Olive Reeves-Smith (1894-1972) was born in Great Britain and received her musical theater training in England. She entered the acting profession over the objections of her parents and adopted the early stage name of "Olive Branch" after her debut in The Flood in Bristol, England. Her mother, Ella Strathmore, was on the stage before she married; her godfather was the English comedian James Blakeley. Her father, Harry Reeves-Smith, was a prominent actor who sustained careers on both sides of the Atlantic and was known as a talented matinee idol in his time. After her theatrical beginnings in England, she had a long and full career in America, primarily on the stage, and made her residence in New York City and its environs. She was best known as a character actress. While she played many minor roles, she played opposite George M. Cohan as the lead in his Pigeons and People, had prominent parts in Richard of Bordeaux with Dennis King and The Constant Nymph, and became known as the original Bloomer Girl in the musical of that name. She was in the original cast of My Fair Lady and played more than 2213 performances in the dual roles of Mrs. Hopkins, the raucous cockney, and Lady Boxington in the Ascot scene. Later in her career, she made radio and television appearances in We, The People, Studio I, The Kraft TV Theater, Armstrong Circle Theater, and Death Valley Days. She had two sisters, Alma and Elsie neither of whom pursued theatrical careers, and was married twice to actors, Denman Maley and Harold Irving Fuller (aka Fuller Mellish, Jr.). Her second husband was the scion of a distinguished British stage family. His father, Fuller Mellish, Sr., was a well-known Shakespearean actor in England and America. The famous English star Rose LeClerq was his grandmother.

Her circle of friends and colleagues included Julie Andrews, Ralph Bellamy, Mary Boland, Leo G. Carroll, George M. Cohan, Noel Coward (who was a distant relation), George Cukor, Charlotte Greenwood, Moss Hart, Sally Ann Howes, Rex Harrison, Celeste Holm, George S. Kaufman, Ethel Barrymore and her daughter Ethel Colt, Cole Porter, Rosalind Russell, Hassard Short, and May Whitty. Olive Reeves-Smith died at the age of 77 on July 20, 1972 in the Lynwood Nursing Home in New York City. She had no children.

From the guide to the Olive Reeves-Smith Papers, 1879-1964, 1920-1961, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Reeves-Smith, Olive, 1894-1972. Olive Reeves-Smith Papers, 1879-1964 bulk (1920-1961). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Olive Reeves-Smith Papers, 1879-1964, 1920-1961 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Actors' Equity corporateBody
associatedWith Actors' Equity Association corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Maxwell, 1888-1959 person
associatedWith Arlen, Harold, 1905-1986. person
associatedWith Ballard, Frederick, 1884-1957 person
associatedWith Barrymore, Ethel, 1879-1959 person
associatedWith Basil Rathbone person
associatedWith Bernhardt, Sarah, 1844-1923 person
associatedWith CBS Television corporateBody
associatedWith Cohan, George M. (George Michael), 1878-1942 person
associatedWith Cole Porter person
associatedWith Colt, Ethel Barrymore, 1912- person
associatedWith Coward, Noel, 1899-1973 person
associatedWith Cukor, George Dewey, 1899- person
associatedWith Daviot, Gordon, 1896 or 7-1952 person
associatedWith Dazey, Frank Mitchell person
associatedWith De la Roche, Mazo, 1879-1961 person
associatedWith Ella Strathmore person
associatedWith Fitch, Clyde, 1865-1909 person
associatedWith Fuller Mellish, Jr. person
associatedWith George Cukor person
associatedWith George M. Cohan person
associatedWith George S. Kaufman person
associatedWith Hammerstein, Oscar, 1895-1960 person
associatedWith Harrison, Rex, 1908- person
associatedWith Harry Reeves-Smith person
associatedWith Hassard Short person
associatedWith Hobart, George V. (George Vere), 1867-1926 person
associatedWith Holloway, Stanley person
associatedWith Holm, Celeste, 1919- person
associatedWith Hubbell, Raymond, 1879-1954 person
associatedWith Isham, Frederick Stewart, 1866-1922 person
associatedWith Jones, Barry, 1893- person
associatedWith Kelley, R. Fred person
associatedWith Kern, Jerome, 1885-1945 person
associatedWith Leo G. Carroll person
associatedWith Levy, Ethel person
associatedWith Loewe, Frederick, 1901-1988 person
associatedWith Maley, Denman, 1877-1927 person
associatedWith Manners, J. Hartley person
associatedWith Marshall, Herbert, 1890-1966 person
associatedWith Martin, Florence person
associatedWith Mary Boland person
associatedWith Mellish, Fuller, 1865-1936 person
associatedWith Mellish, Fuller, 1895-1930. person
associatedWith Mellish, Vera Fuller person
associatedWith Mellish, Vera Fuller. person
associatedWith Moss Hart person
associatedWith Olive Reeves-Smith person
associatedWith Ralph Bellamy person
associatedWith Rathbone, Basil, 1892-1967 person
associatedWith Raymond Hubbell person
associatedWith Reeves-Smith, Harry, 1862-1938. person
associatedWith Reeves-Smith, H. (Harry), 1862-1938 person
associatedWith R. Fred Kelley person
associatedWith Robson, Flora, Dame, 1902- person
associatedWith Shaw, Bernard, 1856-1950 person
associatedWith Short, Hassard, d. 1956 person
associatedWith Stern, Arthur person
associatedWith Strathmore, Ella person
associatedWith Strathmore, Ella. person
associatedWith Taylor, Laurette, 1884-1946 person
associatedWith Taylor, Samuel Albert, 1912- person
associatedWith Tully, Jim person
associatedWith Vera Fuller Mellish person
associatedWith Vinton Freedley person
associatedWith Webb, Clifton, 1893-1966 person
associatedWith Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Theater
Musical theater
Theater--United States
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1894-11-23

Death 1972

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