August 13, 2013

Sara Haden

   Born Katherine W. Haden on November 17, 1899 in Galveston, Texas, Sara was the second daughter of Dr. John Brannum Haden and character actress Charlotte Walker, one of the great stage beauties at the turn of the century. Her parents divorced when she was young and the children split their time between New York and Galveston. Sara and her elder sister Beatrice attended the Sacred Heart Academy in Galveston, where they boarded during school terms.

   She made her debut onstage in the early 1920s as Nora in Macbeth. She lacked the beauty of her mother, having the appearance of a lonely school marm, and thus was always cast in character roles and supporting parts. Sometime in the mid-20s she changed her professional name to Sara, although it was often spelled Sarah on the programs. She made her film debut in 1934 in the Katharine Hepburn vehicle Spitfire. Sara later became a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract player and had small roles in many of the studio's films, most notably as spinsterish Aunt Milly in the Andy Hardy series. She was most notable for her stern, humorless characterizations such as a truant officer in Shirley Temple's Captain January (1936), but she also played the much-loved teacher Miss Pipps who is unjustly fired in the Our Gang comedy Come Back, Miss Pipps (1941). Her other notable films include Poor Little Rich Girl (1936), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Woman of the Year (1942) and The Bishop's Wife (1947).

   She made her last film in 1958 (Andy Hardy Comes Home) and turned to television, performing on episodes of Climax!, Bourbon Street Beat, Perry Mason and Bonanza, with her last TV appearance in a 1965 guest spot on Dr. Kildare. She retired, and spent the rest of her life socializing with her friends and decorating her home. Sara died of an unknown illness on September 15, 1981, in Woodland Hills, California, and buried in the Haden family mausoleum in Galveston.

Note: Unmarked. There are several crypts inside the Haden family mausoleum, all marked with a small nameplate except for two - those of Sara and her mother Charlotte.

29° 17.621, -094° 48.682

Haden Mausoleum
Trinity Episcopal Cemetery

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