She was born to F. Channon Collinge and Emmie Russell. Her birth name was Eileen Cecilia Collinge. Collinge was educated first by a visiting governess and then at a girls' school. She took dancing and piano lessons none of which interested her. She finally settled on being an actress. She made her first stage appearance as a child at the Garrick Theatre, London on December 21, 1904 as a Chinese doll in a play called Little Black Sambo. Her first New York stage appearance was on December 7, 1908 in The Queen of the Moulin Rouge.
Collinge went to America with her mother in 1907. She appeared as a "flower girl" in The Queens of the Moulin Rouge.
Collinge began as one of the supporting players in The Thunderbolt, which starred Louis Calvert as James Mortimer. The theatrical entertainment dealt with a country family in "Singlehampton, England". The production was staged at the New Theatre (Century Theatre).
She was in Everywoman at the Herald Square Theatre in March 1911. The title role was played by Laura Nelson Hall. Collinge acted with Douglas Fairbanks(still a stage actor), Amelia Bingham and William Henry Crane in The New Henrietta, a modern play based on a comedy by Bronson Howard. It was produced at the Knickerbocker Theatre on Broadway in December 1913. Collinge played the role of Agnes, the ward of Crane's character Van Alstyne. She marries Bertie, played by Fairbanks. In 1914 she again appeared with Douglas Fairbanks in the play He Comes Up Smiling, where she and Fairbanks have a memorable scene as a cute couple in a park.
Collinge toured in A Regular Businessman, was the original Pollyanna Whittier in Polyanna, and toured with Tillie in 1919 after a successful two years performing Pollyanna.
In 1932 Collinge appeared in Autumn Crocus. Her acting was acclaimed by a New York Times critic, who said of her: "Miss Collinge plays with the soft, pliant sincerity that makes her one of the most endearing actresses."
She was in the Broadway cast of The Little Foxes with Tallulah Bankhead in 1939, playing the role of Birdie Hubbard. In 1941, she played the same part in the motion picture version, which starred Bette Davis.
Her other stage work includes roles in productions of The Heiress, Just Suppose, The Dark Angel, The Importance of Being Earnest, To See Ourselves, and Lady With A Lamp. Her final stage appearance came at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in December 1952, in I've Got Sixpence.
Collinge debuted in film in 1941 in The Little Foxes, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Other films include Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Tender Comrade (1943), Teresa (1951), Washington Story (1952), and The Nun's Story (1959).
According to the featurette included in the DVD of Shadow of a Doubt, Collinge actually rewrote the scene between Teresa Wright and MacDonald Carey in the garage. At the time, Hitchcock and the actors were not too happy with the dialogue as written and Collinge rewrote it. Hitchcock was reported to be delighted and used her rewrite. Collinge also worked with Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville and Ben Hecht (all uncredited), on the screenplay for Hitchcock's next film Lifeboat (1944).
Collinge appeared in four episodes of the popular anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–61). For example, in an episode entitled "The Cheney Vase," she memorably stole her scenes as an ailing philanthropist who outwits being victimized by a scheming Darren McGavin in attempting an art theft, and playing opposite Carolyn Jones.
She was in many other television dramas of the period beginning with an episode of Laramie (1961). Later roles included: The United States Steel Hour (1962), East Side/West Side (1963), two further episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962–64), and N.Y.P.D. (1967).
She wrote the play Dame Nature (1938), which was an adaptation of a French drama by André Birabeau. Collinge penned The Small Mosaics of Mr. and Mrs. Engel, a story of travel in Italy, for which she received a gold medal from the Italian government. With Margalo Gillmore, she co-authored The B.O.W.S., a play about the American Theatre Wing unit which performed The Barretts of Wimpole Street to soldiers in Italy and France during World War II. She also wrote a series of short stories for the New Yorker and contributed to the New York Times Book Review. She was a councilor of Actors Equity.
Collinge married James Nichols Smith, an investment counsellor on June 10, 1921. The marriage lasted many decades. The couple had no children.
- "All About The Winsome Actress Seen In Tillie". Iowa Citizen. December 29, 1919. p. 6.
- "Many New Plays Bid For Favor". New York Times. November 6, 1910. p. X1.
- "News and Comment of the Stage". New York Times. March 12, 1911. p. X2.
- "Crane at Knickerbocker Dec. 22.". New York Times. December 6, 1913. p. 11.
- "Patricia Collinge, 81, Actress In Many Leading Plays, Dies". New York Times. April 11, 1974. p. 38.
- Patricia Collinge at the Internet Broadway Database
- Patricia Collinge at the Internet Movie Database
- Patricia College photo album NY Public Library, Billy Rose Collection
- Patricia Collinge at Find a Grave
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