Genevieve Tobin was an American actress born on November 29, 1899 in New York City, New York. The daughter of a vaudeville performer, Tobin made her film debut in 1910 in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as Eva. She appeared in a few films as child, and formed a double act with her sister Vivian. Their brother, George, also had a brief acting career. Following her education in Paris and New York, Tobin concentrated on a stage career in New York. Although she was seen most often in comedies, she also played the role of Cordelia in a Broadway production of “King Lear” in 1923. Popular with audiences, she was often praised by critics for her appearance and style rather than for her talent, however in 1929 she achieved a significant success in the play “Fifty Million Frenchmen”. She introduced and popularized the Cole Porter song “You Do Something to Me”.
The success of her role in “Fifty Million Frenchmen” resulted in her going back to Hollywood, where she performed regularly in films throughout the 1930s. Tobin primarily played prominent supporting roles in movies such as “One Hour with You” (1932) with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald; “Goodbye Again” (1933) co-starring Warren William and Joan Blondell; “Kiss and Make Up” (1934) with Cary Grant and Helen Mack; and “The Goose and the Gander” (1935) with Kay Francis and George Brent. She occasionally played starring roles, in films such as “Golden Harvest” (1933) and “Easy to Love” (1934). She played secretary Della Street to Warren William’s Perry Mason in “The Case of the Lucky Legs” (1935). One of her most successful performances was as a bored housewife in the drama “The Petrified Forest” (1936) opposite Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart.
Tobin married director William Keighley in 1938 and retired from film in 1940 after her last movie “No Time for Comedy” with James Stewart and Rosalind Russell. Tobin and Keighy remained married until his death in 1984.
Genevieve Tobin died July 21, 1995, aged 95, in Pasadena, California, of natural causes.