Birdie Coonan is a minor character in the 1950 film All About Eve. She's Margo Channing's maid, one of her closest companions and friends whom she is very protective over and a former vaudeville actress.
She was portrayed by Thelma Ritter.
Why She Rocks
- She's a new character created for the film who didn't appear in the novel The Wisdom of Eve, and she still managed to blend right in and not fell out of place. This may also explain why she disappears midway.
- Thelma Ritter really makes the most out of her limited screen time with memorable snark and sarcasm. Some of her notable zingers include:
- (Margo: I’m sure you must have things to do in the bathroom, Birdie dear.) If I haven’t, I’ll find something till you’re normal.
- (Margo: You’re supposed to zip the zipper, not me.) Like tryin’ to zip a pretzel – stand still!
- (Margo: You bought the new girdles a size smaller. I can feel it.) Something maybe grew a size bigger. (Margo: When we get home you’re going to get into one of those girdles and act for two and half hours.) I couldn’t get into the girdle in two an’ a half hours.
- (Eve: The curtains. I made them myself.) (Margo: They are lovely. Aren’t they lovely, Birdie?) Adorable. We now got everything a dressing room needs except a basketball hoop.
- Next to a tenor, a wardrobe woman is the touchiest thing in show business. (Margo: Oh…) She’s got two things to do – carry clothes an’ press ‘em wrong.
- She serves as the film's voice-of-reason as she's one of the most serious and sensible people in the whole film. She's immediately sees through Eve's story and deceptions, combats her with the memorable line listed on the caption (even though it makes everyone else think she's jealous), and accurately predicts that Eve was studying Margo and trying to take over her life with how often Eve tries to get close to Margo and do all of her work. Quote #4 is a good example.
- Despite her tone of voice throughout her dialogue, she still deeply loves her friend/boss Margo and the two of them clearly have an established relationship, Plus, Birdie cares for Margo's feelings and safety and wants to protect her from any kind of harm, including Eve's plans which she tried to warn Margo about, although it took some time to Margo to realize that.
- She's also suggested to be a seriously dedicated employee for Margo to the point where she felt a bit uncomfortable when Eve suddenly did her jobs.
- Prior to the film's events, she was a notable vaudeville actress for her time, it's possible she still has some of that talent considering how she talks a lot of the time.
- For some unexplained reason, she disappears from the film midway without so much as a mention from the other characters from that point on.