You are currently viewing 365 Days of Oscar: Josephine Wins For an All-Timer

365 Days of Oscar: Josephine Wins For an All-Timer

Josephine Hull won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1950 movie Harvey (1950), a role she originally played on the Broadway stage, one of the great performances to triumph in that category.

Hull made only seven films, beginning in 1927 with a small part in the Clara Bow feature Get Your Man, followed by The Bishop’s Candlesticks in 1929. That was followed by two 1932 Fox features, After Tomorrow (recreating her stage role) and Careless Lady. In the 1930s and 1940s, Hull appeared in three Broadway hits, as a batty matriarch in You Can’t Take It with You (1936), as a homicidal old lady in Arsenic and Old Lace (1941), and in Harvey (1944). The plays all had long runs, and took up ten years of Hull’s career. She missed out on recreating her You Can’t Take It With You role in 1938, as she was still onstage with the show, but did star opposite Cary Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace.

Hull delivers a comedic bravura turn as the sister of the title character played by Jimmy Stewart in Harvey, and richly deserved her award. She only made one subsequent film, The Lady from Texas (1951). She passed away in 1957. 

This article is part of a special year-long series of anecdotes, reflections and thoughts about the Academy Awards.