Obituaries : Genevieve Tobin; Stage, Film Actress of 1920s and ‘30s


Genevieve Tobin, an actress who segued between stage and screen before marrying a director and switching her own pursuits to art and photography, has died. She was 93.

Miss Tobin, who retired from acting shortly after marrying director William Keighley in 1938, died Monday in Los Angeles, said her niece, Vivian Thompson.

Born in New York City on Nov. 29, 1901, Miss Tobin began her career as a child actress on stage and interrupted it to study in New York and Paris.

As a young woman, she appeared in the silent film “No Mother to Guide Her” in 1923. But most of her early work was on the stage--in New York, on tour throughout the United States and in England. Among her plays were “Little Old New York,” which toured for two years.


Settling in Hollywood in the early 1930s, she usually played flirtatious leading roles and second leads, mostly for Warner Bros. and RKO. She acted opposite such well-known actors as Laurence Olivier, Leslie Howard, Adolphe Menjou, Edward G. Robinson, Edward Everett Horton, Maurice Chevalier and Cary Grant.

Among her films were “A Lady Surrenders,” “The Gay Diplomat,” “The Wrecker,” “Success at Any Price,” “One Hour With You,” “The Petrified Forest” and “The Great Gambini.”

“Playing in both mediums is of great value to any actor,” the actress told The Times in 1933. “I started my career on the stage, then came to pictures, and I feel that experience in both types of acting has done me no harm. The old belief that one hurts the other is dead as far as I am concerned.”

Miss Tobin met her husband when he directed her in a play in New York. He later directed her in the films “Easy to Love,” “Yes, My Darling Daughter” and her last, “No Time for Comedy” in 1940.


She traveled with him throughout the world for his location shoots, and for several years the couple lived in London and then Paris.

During that time, the former actress studied painting and became a serious artist. She also helped her husband photograph art and architectural monuments in cities throughout Europe for the Louvre Museum in Paris.

A widow, Miss Tobin is survived by a sister, Vivian T. Von Hagen of Los Angeles, and her niece, who lives in Cambria, Calif.