Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
"Needless to say," opined Darwell upon winning an Oscar for her performance as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940), "this is my favorite role." It was the crowning achievement of a 50-year screen career during which she appeared in more than 200 movies. Well-educated, she had a solid background in dramatics, and was featured with the famous Henry Duffy stock company before making her Broadway debut. Plump and dowdy, but with kindly eyes and rosy cheeks, she was usually cast in mother parts in stories with bucolic settings-though she also played prison matrons, midwives, and even (in one instance) a nurse-cum-detective, topbilled in The Great Hospital Mystery (1937). She appeared in several silent films before beginning her Hollywood career in earnest with Huckleberry Finn (1931), graduating from bit parts to featured roles. Infirm and living in retirement at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital, she was courted by Walt Disney personally to play the small but important role of The Bird Woman in Mary Poppins (1964).
OTHER FILMS INCLUDE: 1933: Only Yesterday, Design for Living 1934: David Harum 1936: Captain January, Poor Little Rich Girl 1939: Jesse James, Gone With the Wind (as Dolly Merriwether); 1940: Brigham YoungFrontiersman 1943: The Ox-Bow Incident 1946: My Darling Clementine 1948: 3 Godfathers 1950: Wagon Master, Caged 1952: We're Not Married 1956: There's Always Tomorrow 1958: The Last Hurrah