Spring’s full name was Spring Dell Byington.She appeared in television,radio and films during her career. She was also a nominee for Academy Award. Her nomination was for best-actress in a supporting role for the movie ‘You Can't Take It with You’ of the year 1938.
She was born and brought up in Colorado. Her proud parents were Helene Maud, a doctor by profession and Edwin Lee Byington, an educator in the school situated in Colorado. She also had a sibling named Helene Kimball Byington. After her father died, her mother took the responsibility of taking care of her , while her sister started living with her grandparents. Later, her mother moved to Boston and so does Spring. Her mother studied medicines there and returned to Denver after her graduation.
Mean while talented Spring has started doing her bit to serve the stage. People saw her doing small plays and stage performances in school. Soon she became the alumnus from the North High school in 1904. Later, with no delay she officially took acting as a profession with the Elitch Garden Stock Company. In 1907, Spring experienced her mother’s death. After the unfortunate incident, her aunty Margaret Eddy adopted Spring and her younger sister. Spring once said she also thought of doing news reporting. However the plan did not excite her well.
After her mother’s death, the preceding year Spring joined a stage group which was touring around Argentina. They mostly performed American and Portuguese plays translated into different languages. The actress said that when she would return to home, she would divide the time for her work and her daughters. Her daughter mostly lived with her friends when she was out for doing plays in some other place. Over a period of time, she now had experience working with many stage troops such as Stuart Walker Company and Birds in Paradise. Her nexus with such big names bagged her role in Broadway performance in the year 1924. She performed in plays like Marc Connelly's Beggar on Horseback and George S. Kaufman. These ran for more than half a year.
Lately, she started doing films in her career. Her film career was not long, but still audiences appreciated her in roles like Marmee in Little Women of 1933 and her debut as Mama in Papa's Slay Ride of 1930. Her famous releases were Mutiny on the Bounty of 1935 and The Jones Family. She said she was satisfied doing serving character roles in front of the audiences.
During World War 2, she turned to radio and continued with this profession as her film career was anticipated to come to an end. She did popular series like sitcom December Bride, and I love you Lucy.People saw her in one of the episodes of Dennis the Menace. The special episode called Dennis’s Birthday. People saw her for the last time as Mother General in ABC’s The Flying Nun which starred Sally Field.
In her personal life, Spring learnt Spanish, Portuguese. She could speak those languages fluently. She was a lover of science fiction as well as metaphysics novels. She was also interested in flying and took some lessons of it in 1954. She married Roy Chandler in 1909. He was her troop manager. They both got divorced in 1920 after the birth of her two daughters. After which, she focused entirely on building her career.
In 1930’s she found love with an Industrialist and got engaged with him. But unfortunately, he died after years of their engagement but before their marriageIt is also allegedly said that she was a lesbian. Her closest friends declared it.On September 7, 1971, she died out of cancer.
Another version of the bio...
Spring was born to Edwin Lee Byington and Helene Maud in Colorado Springs, Colorado and had one younger sister. When Edwin Lee died, her mother decided to send her sister to live with her grandparents while she stayed with the family in Denver. Spring graduated from North High School in 1904. She did several shows in her school days which ignited her love for acting. After graduating, she joined the Elitch Garden Stock Company to become a professional actor. When her mother died in 1907, both Spring and Helene were adopted by their aunt, Margaret Eddy.
Since she had attained the legal maturity age by then, she took all her inheritance to try her luck in acting in
New York City. She is reported to have confessed that she tried her luck at newspaper reporting but she was never really good at anything else except acting. In 1908, she joined a company that was doing tours through Buenos Aires, Argentina, performing plays. During this, she met Roy Chandler who was the manager of the troupe she was working with. They got married in 1909 and she had two daughters from this marriage but the union lasted only till 1920.
She worked with the company between 1908 and 1916. After her divorce, she decided to devote her time between acting and her daughters so she moved to New York. While she worked in the Manhattan, her daughters stayed with two close friends in Madison County, NY. Though she did several tours and performances, it wasn’t until 1924 that she got a role in a Broadway performance which ran for six months. She continued with her Broadway performances for about ten years (1925-1935) with additional 18 productions. During the late years of her Broadway, she did small films and got better known for her role in Little Women as Marmee in which she played mother to Katherine Hepburn. She became famous for her mothering role in the film series ‘’Jones Family’’.
During this phase, she became famous for her roles in which she played light-hearted, concerned, loving and wise mother/relative. Her roles were so kind and polite that it was difficult for people to accept her in mischievous roles. In 1954, she got featured in her own TV show called December Bride which was initially a radio program. Spring’s personality wasn’t just about her acting. She was much more than that. She showed interest in metaphysics, read science fiction novels and had enough knowledge about the constellations and Earth’s satellites to impress anyone. She passed away on September 7, 1971 at her home in Hollywood Hills due to cancer. Her body was donated to medical research as per her request. Her contribution to the acting industry is highly acknowledged as she has two stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame – one for films and one for acting.