Sylvia Sidney went to work on the stage at 17 to help herself overcome shyness, and she ended up getting a lot more than that– including a career that would span seven decades. She started in 1929, and her career immediately went into an upswing as she proved herself adept at emotional parts and even light comedy on occasion. City Streets, an early Rouben Mammoulian film, is a highlight, as are her emotional gymnastics in Merrily We Go to Hell.

She ascended further to fame in the mid to late 30s including starring alongside Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy. She earned a reputation of being difficult and vanished from the screen through most of the early 40s, returning to play bit and supporting parts on film, theater and television over the next 50 years. She made cameos in several Tim Burton movies, and she passed away in 1999.

Sylvia Sidney’s Pre-Code Filmography

  • Five Minutes from the Station (1930)
  • City Streets (1931)
  • An American Tragedy (1931)
  • Confessions of a Co-Ed (1931)
  • Street Scene (1931)
  • Ladies of the Big House (1931)
  • The Miracle Man (1932)
  • Merrily We Go to Hell (1932)
  • Make Me a Star (1932)
  • Madame Butterfly (1932)
  • Pick-up (1933)
  • Jennie Gerhardt (1933)
  • Good Dame (1934)
  • Thirty Day Princess (1934)

Videos of Sylvia Sidney

A lengthy interview with Sidney from the 80s:

Biography of Sylvia Sidney


Sylvia Sidney – Paid by the Tear
by Scott O’Brien

Click here to view this on Amazon.

Sylvia Sidney Sites and Links

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