Life With Father

OSCAR SERLIN presents

Clarence Day’s

LIFE WITH FATHER

Made into a play by

HOWARD LINDSAY and RUSSELL CROUSE

with

LILLIAN GISH and PERCY WARAM

Directed by BRETAIGNE WINDUST

Sets and Costumes by STEWART CHANEY

Georgette McKee as Mary Skinner in “Life With Father”

Cast

Mother . . . . . . . . . . . . Lillian Gish
Clarence . . . . . . . . . . . . O.Z. Whitehead
Father . . . . . . . . . . . . Percy Waram
Cousin Cora . . . . . . . . . . . . Virgilia Chew
Mary . . . . . . . . . . . . Georgette McKee
The Rev. Dr. Lloyd . . . . . . . . . . . . George Le Soir
John . . . . . . . . . . . . Peter Jamerson
Whitney . . . . . . . . . . . . Jimmy Roland
Harlan . . . . . . . . . . . . David Jeffries
Margaret . . . . . . . . . . . . Clara Joel
Annie . . . . . . . . . . . . Margaret Randall
Dr. Somers . . . . . . . . . . . . Carroll Ashburn
Nora . . . . . . . . . . . . Camelia Campbell
Dr. Humphreys . . . . . . . . . . . . Edwin Cushman
Delia . . . . . . . . . . . . Aubrey Hynes
Maggie . . . . . . . . . . . . Gertrude Beach

“Life With Father” opened in Chicago on February 15, 1940, and was an instant smash hit with critics and audiences. Andrea (Georgette) played Mary Skinner, the ingénue and love interest for young Clarence Day. The role of Mary was created by Teresa Wright in the original Broadway production and, years later, would be portrayed by a youthful Elizabeth Taylor in the film version. Up-and-comer O.Z. Whitehead was featured as Clarence Day, the play’s protagonist. He was fresh from his memorable performance as Al Joad (Henry Fonda’s younger brother) in the movie “The Grapes of Wrath.” But the main attraction in the cast, by far, was Miss Lillian Gish, a true American legend.

“Rehearsals at the Blackstone Theatre were exhausting and at times difficult,” Andrea recalls, “because Lillian was an absolute perfectionist. She wanted to rehearse until she felt the cast had gotten everything right to her satisfaction.”

The play’s director, Bretaigne Windust, who had helmed the original Broadway production, was not one to stand in his star’s way. This at times would infuriate Percy Waram, the play’s “Father.” But the hard work paid off when “Life With Father” broke all previous box office records in Chicago. In fact, to this day, “Life With Father” remains the longest-running non-musical play in Broadway history.

Andrea’s fondest memory during her time in the show, however, occurred off-stage … when she traveled to the picturesque suburb of Hinsdale, Illinois, on a day off and met her future husband and the love of her life — Nat Willis.

O.Z. Whitehead as Clarence Day and Georgette McKee (Andrea King) as Mary Skinner in “Life With Father.”