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Norma Varden was an English actress with a long film career in Hollywood.
Born in London, the daughter of a retired sea captain, Varden was a child prodigy. She trained as a concert pianist in Paris and performed in England before deciding to take up acting. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and made her first appearance as Mrs Darling in Peter Pan. She acted in rep and made her West End theatre debut in The Wandering Jew in 1920. From Shakespeare to farce, she established herself as a regular member of the Aldwych Theatre company where she appeared in plays from 1929 to 1933. She began to appear in British films, usually in haughty upper class roles.
Visiting California with her ailing mother in the 1940s, she decided to settle permanently there and began her American film career. She appeared in Casablanca, The Major and the Minor, The White Cliffs of Dover, National Velvet, The Green Years, Forever Amber, Strangers on a Train, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Witness for the Prosecution. She played the housekeeper Frau Schmidt in The Sound of Music. Two years later, she had a minor part as Lady Petherington in Doctor Dolittle.