Born Leila Koerber on November 9, 1868 in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, Marie Dressler knew from a young age that she wanted to spend her life bringing joy and laughter to people.
At the age of fourteen, Marie wrote a letter to the Nevada Traveling Stock Company requesting a job. Determined to become an accomplished Broadway actress in New York City, Marie changed her name from Leila Koerber in 1883 to save her family the embarrassment of having a daughter in show business.
After leaving the Stock Company, Marie joined the Bennett-Moulton Opera Company. There, she was able to perfect her acting skills, playing engaging characters that were both comical and endearing.
Her big break came when producer George Lederer cast her in a supporting role opposite the popular actress Lillian Russell in Princess Nicotine. After a steady and successful stage career on Broadway and in London's West End, Marie was cast alongside Charlie Chaplin in the 1914 silent film, Tillie’s Punctured Romance.
By the age of 60, Marie was not only the highest earning film star, but also the top box office draw in the industry. In 1931, Marie won the academy award for Best Actress for her role as Min in the hit comedy film Min and Bill. Two years later, she became the first Canadian featured on the cover of TIME Magazine.
Although she endured many personal and professional hardships during a career spanning five decades, Marie ultimately became one of the greatest and most beloved performers of her time. Sadly, on July 28, 1934, Marie lost an ongoing battle with cancer, leaving both Hollywood and the public heavily grief stricken.