Hobart, Rose

Actress, Screen Actors Guild Official

By Carol A. Stabile


Rose Hobart was born Rose Kefer in New York City on May 1, 1905. Paul Kefer, Hobart’s father, was first cellist for the New York Symphony; her mother was an opera singer. She grew up in New York City, spending summers in an art colony in Woodstock, New York. Her parents divorced when she was 11 and Hobart and her older sister Polly spent two years in France with her grandmother, returning to New York when the US entered World War I.

In 1920, Hobart joined a touring company, returning to New York City, where she auditioned for Eva Le Gallienne, who cast her in a touring company of Ferenc Molnár’s Liliom (a play that later became the basis for Rodger and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel).

Rose Hobart recalled the homophobia she encountered while performing in Liliom. Close to Le Gallienne and not understanding that she was a lesbian, the cast assumed that Hobart was Le Gallienne’s lover. “People will forgive you men,” a cast member later told her, “but they will never forgive you women.” Le Gallienne told her “You can only judge people by how they treat you.” Hobart agreed and would continue to work with Le Gallienne in years to come.

Liliom poster

Hobart debuted on Broadway in 1923, playing the part of a young girl in The Lullaby by Edward Knoblock. Hobart continued to perform on stage, appearing in the 1930s in I Loved You Wednesday, Girls in Uniform, Springtime for Henry, and The Wind and the Rain. Hobart’s final major stage appearance was in 1939’s Dear Octopus.




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    Her performance as Grazia in Alberto Casella's 1929 Death Takes a Holiday brought her to the attention of Hollywood. Hobart made her screen debut as Julie in Frank Borzage’s Liliom for Fox. Universal subsequently signed her and she starred in A Lady Surrenders, East of Borneo, and Scandal for Sale. Hobart played Muriel Carew in Rouben Mamoulian's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1932), starring with Fredric March. She also co-starred with Helen Hayes in What Every Woman Knows, and with Noel Coward in The Vortex.

    Hobart was married three times. Her first marriage, to Benjamin L. Winter, ended in divorce in 1929. In 1932, she married William Mason Grosvenor, Jr. They were divorced in 1942. Hobart had a son, Judson Bosworth, with her third husband, architect Barton H. Bosworth.

    Hobart died on August 29, 2000, at the Motion Picture and Television Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.




      Liliom (1930) - Julie

      A Lady Surrenders (1930) - Isabel Beauvel

      Chances (1931) - Molly Prescott

      East of Borneo (1931) - Linda Randolph

      Compromised (1931) - Ann Brock

      Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) - Muriel Carew

      Scandal for Sale (1932) - Claire Strong

      The Shadow Laughs (1933) - Ruth Hackett

      Convention Girl (1935) - Cynthia 'Babe' LaVal

      Tower of London (1939) - Anne Neville

      Wolf of New York (1940) - Peggy Nolan

      Susan and God (1940) - Irene

      A Night at Earl Carroll's (1940) - Ramona Lisa

      Ziegfeld Girl (1941) - Mrs. Merton

      Singapore Woman (1941) - Alice North

      Lady Be Good (1941) - Mrs. Carter Wardley

      I'll Sell My Life (1941) - Dale Layden (Mary Jones)

      Nothing But the Truth (1941) - Mrs. Harriet Donnelly

      No Hands on the Clock (1941) - Marion West

      A Gentleman at Heart (1942) - Claire Barrington

      Mr. and Mrs. North (1942) - Carol Brent

      Who Is Hope Schuyler? (1942) - Alma Pearce

      Gallant Lady (1942) - Rosemary Walsh

      Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant (1942) - Mrs. Black

      The Adventures of Smilin' Jack (1943) - Fraulein Von Teufel

      Air Raid Wardens (1943) - (scenes deleted)


      Films Continued

      Salute to the Marines (1943) - Mrs. Carson

      Swing Shift Maisie (1943) - Lead Woman (uncredited)

      The Mad Ghoul (1943) - Della

      Crime Doctor's Strangest Case aka Strangest Case (1943) - Mrs. Diana Burns

      Song of the Open Road (1944) - Mrs. Powell

      The Soul of a Monster (1944) - Lilyan Gregg

      The Brighton Strangler (1945) - Dorothy Kent

      Conflict (1945) - Kathryn Mason

      Isle of the Dead (1945) - Mrs. Mary St. Aubyn (in long shot) (uncredited)

      Claudia and David (1946) - Edith Dexter

      The Cat Creeps (1946) - Connie Palmer

      Canyon Passage (1946) - Marta Lestrade

      The Farmer's Daughter (1947) - Virginia Thatcher

      The Trouble With Women (1947) - Agnes Meeler

      Cass Timberlane (1947) - Diantha Marl

      Mickey (1948) - Lydia Matthews

      Bride of Vengeance (1949) - Lady Eleanora



      The Invaders (1 episode, 1968) 

      Gunsmoke (1 episode, 1968) 

      The F.B.I. (2 episodes, 1968–1969) 

      Cannon (1 episode, 1971) 

      Night Gallery (1 episode, 1971)