• 16 May 1882
  •  Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Mary Gordon


Scots actress, long in the United States, who specialized in housekeepers and mothers, most notably the housekeeper Mrs. Hudson in the Sherlock Holmes series of movies of the Thirties and Forties. She was born Mary Gilmour, the daughter of a Glasgow wire weaver. 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. With her mother Mary 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 doing. She became friends with John Ford while making Hangman's House (1928) and made seven more films for him. In 1939, she took on her most famous role as Sherlock Holmes's housekeeper 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.