Portrait of Clifton Webb
Clifton Webb's mother, with whom he lived until her death at age 91, transferred her own theatrical ambitions to the son she called "little Webb." He performed in Vaudeville and on Broadway, primarily in musicals, before director Otto Preminger took notice and brought him to Hollywood to appear in the 1944 film noir "Laura." Webb earned an Oscar nomination for best-supporting actor, then two more acting nominations for "The Razor's Edge" (1946) and "Sitting Pretty" (1948). His series of roles as the starchy Mr. Belvedere supposedly mirrored his fussy, abrasive, and condescending real-life persona. His appearance in this portrait is more akin to the "little Webb" his mother envisioned. Seated in a three-quarter portrait pose, Webb looks to the viewer with a gentle gaze and a soft smile.