• 6 November 1904
  •  New York City, New York, USA

Selena Royle


The name may be unfamiliar, but MGM stock player Selena Royle was a lovely character actress who exuded warmth, kindness, sincerity, dedication and radiance throughout most of her 1940s Hollywood career. These inspiring traits extended into her outside life as well, where she contributed much of herself on behalf of the war effort. Selena started off in the limelight as the daughter of well-known playwright Edwin Milton Royle, who would be best remembered for his play "The Squaw Man," which was successfully filmed in 1914, 1918, and 1931. Despite her parents' protestations, Selena embarked on a theatrical career and, ironically, made her debut in a play that her father had written, "Launcelot and Elaine," in the role of Guinevere. She quickly grew in stature with celebrated theater roles throughout the 1920s: "Peer Gynt" (1923), "She Stoops to Conquer" (1924), "Paradise" (1927) and "Napoleon" (1928). She misstepped in the 1930s when she tried films with The Misleading Lady (1932) going nowhere, but made up for it upon her return to such theater roles as "The Roof" (1931), "When Ladies Meet (1932), "Days Without End" (1934), "Meet the Prince" (1935) and "The Prodigal Father" (1937). She also became a fixture on radio as a star of such popular serials as "Hilda Hope, M.D." and "Kate Hopkins." In the early 1940s Royle would endear herself to the nation when she organized the Stage Door Canteen, a Broadway institution that entertained and served free meals to servicemen passing through New York. The canteen also brought about her return to films, playing herself in Frank Borzage's movie Stage Door Canteen (1943). Selena was subsequently picked up by MGM, and for the rest of the decade established an indelible mark in well-mounted soapers and sentimental yarns as the all-caring, self-sacrificing mother. She was never more touching than as the mother of five boys killed in action in The Sullivans (1944) or as Elizabeth Taylor's wise mom in Courage of Lassie (1946). Other MGM fodder would include Greer Garson's Mrs. Parkington (1944), Judy Garland's The Harvey Girls (1946) and the Cole Porter biopic Night and Day (1946). Following her appearance in He Ran All the Way (1951), however, her career came to a screeching halt when she was branded a Communist sympathizer during the McCarthy-era hysteria. Refusing to appear before the "subversive"-hunting House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, she instead sued the American Legion, which had published the infamous "Red Channels" that listed her name. She valiantly campaigned to restore her image and won, but the damage had already been done. She made only two films in its aftermath. Divorced from actor Earle Larrimore in 1942, she later married actor Georges Renavent. They chose to leave the US permanently for Mexico. There Royle extended herself by converting her home into an "artistic salon," which encouraged painters, writers and composers. She also was a successful author of cookbooks and books about Mexico. One of her books was aptly titled "The Gringa's Guide to Mexican Cooking." Selena Royle passed away following a brief illness in 1983.


Movie Name Release Date
Η κληρονόμος – The Heiress (1949) December 28, 1949
Moonrise (1948) November 5, 1948