Martha Sleeper

born: 24 June 1910
Lake Bluff, Illinois,
United States of America
died: 25 March 1983
(at home) Beaufort, South Carolina,
United States of America
(heart attack, age 72)
American actress who had a stint on the Broadway stage.  Some sources state she was born in 1907, which is inaccurate.  More speculation surrounds her non-appearance as Billy Gilbert's wife Ethel in The Chimp.

The record shows that her Mom and Dad (WILLIAM B.and MINNIE) were married in Chicago on 30 Dec 1903.  He was 39 and she was 29 years old.  The family moved around a lot but is easy to follow in the US Census's.  On Wikipedia, Martha's bio says that her Dad was in the upper management of the Keith Albee Vaudeville Circuit, which explains the traveling.  The "Exhibitors Trade Review" (not a fan magazine) in the 16 Aug 1924 issue says that Martha is "the niece of J J MURDOCK, Vice President of the B F Keith Vaudeville Circuit" (he was a VIP in the industry.)

In the April 1910 Census, the Dad and Mom and daughter ANNETTE (age 3) are in Wyoming.  Dad is working as the head honcho of a ranch; there is no Martha (because she wasn't born until 24 June).
The Wiki bio mentions this, but I can take it one step farther: The 1910 Census asks the question:  how many children has the wife bore? (and) how many are still living?  MINNIE SLEEPER answers "1" to both questions.  This means that up to April 1, 1910, Mom has had one child and that child is still living.  That one child would be ANNETTE, sister of MARTHA.  My wild guess is that the Dad's health was already starting to fail and thus he sought life in "the wide open spaces".If you follow her in the fan magazines, you'll see that in 1923 she was playing pre-teens and teens in feature length dramas (non-ROACH). Most articles about her mention her young age. She was a "champion swimmer" and stage dancer before Hollywood.
She was married 3 times, first in 1934 to an actor.
Real name: Martha Marie Sleeper
Height: 5'4"
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.

49


1924
A Ten-Minute Egg
Mrs. Dugan
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/

1924
Seeing Nellie Home
[unidentified character]
 

1924
Sweet Daddy
[unidentified character]
 

1924
Outdoor Pajamas
Jimmy's bride
 

1924
Should Landlords Live?
[unidentified character]
 

1924
Too Many Mammas
Apache dancer
 

1924
Every Man For Himself
Lady with rings around her eyes
 

1924
All Wet
[unidentified character]
 

1924
The Royal Razz
[unidentified character]
 

1925
The Rat's Knuckles
Flirty McFickle
 

1925
Plain And Fancy Girls
[unidentified character]
 

1925
Bad Boy
Jimmy's girlfriend

1925
Are Husbands Human?
[unidentified character]
 

1925
Big Red Ridinghood
The maid/Book store clerk

1925
Wild Papa
[unidentified character]
 

1925
Sure-Mike!
Vermuda

1925
Sherlock Sleuth
Hotel telephone operator

1925
Innocent Husbands
Girl at party

1925
Tame Men And Wild Women
[unidentified character]
 

1925
There Goes The Bride
The bride

1925
Better Movies
Teenaged 'vamp'
 

1925
Should Sailors Marry?
Smyrna

1925
Laughing Ladies
[unidentified character]
 

1925
Hold Everything
[unidentified character]
 

1926
A Punch In The Nose
[unidentified character]
 

1926
What's The World Coming To?
Butler

1926
Your Husband's Past
[unidentified character]
 

1926
Madame Mystery
[unidentified character]
 

1926
Ukulele Sheiks
[unidentified character]
 

1926
Baby Clothes
Leggy lady
 

1926
Mum's The Word
Maid
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/

1926
Say It With Babies
Hector's wife
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/

1926
Don Key (Son Of Burro)
Maid
 

1926
Long Fliv The King
Princess Helga of Thermosa
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/

1926
Never Too Old
[unidentified character]
 

1926
Thundering Fleas
Bride

1926
Along Came Auntie
Marie, the bride
 

1926
Crazy Like A Fox
The bride

1922
Should Husbands Pay?
The flirt's wife

1926
Bromo And Juliet
[unidentified character]
 

1926
Wise Guys Prefer Brunettes
[unidentified character]
 

1927
The Honorable Mr. Buggs
Fiancée
 

1927
Jewish Prudence
Rachel Gimplewart
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/

1927
Fluttering Hearts
Daughter

1927
Love 'Em And Feed 'Em
Martha, a stenographer

1927
Fighting Fathers
[unidentified character]
 

1927
Flaming Fathers
Daughter

1928
Pass The Gravy
Daughter

1928
Should Tall Men Marry?
Martha Skittle


Acknowledgements:
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/04/07/obituaries/martha-sleeper-is-dead-at-72-star-of-films-and-broadway.html (New York Times obit)
http://ia601604.us.archive.org/ (Shadowland, July 1923)
Jim Jarvis (information and assistance)
Bob Duncan (stills)
The GIF file of Martha Sleeper was created by myself, June 5, 2017.

This page was last updated on: 20 April 2018