The stage and film actress Lily Bouwmeester was the biggest star of the pre-war Dutch sound film. From about the age of twelve, she lived with her great-aunt, the successful actress Theo Mann - Bouwmeester. Her parents, both musicians, were frequently on the road. Mann - Bouwmeester introduced her niece to the world of theatre, and within a few years, Lily Bouwmeester was acting in the company of Herman Heijermans.
Bouwmeester had her first film role in Maurits Binger’s Majoor Frans, appearing alongside the former star actress Annie Bos. In the years that followed, she was mainly active on stage, although she continued to play supporting roles in silent films. Until 1935, Bouwmeester was still affiliated with various companies, including the Nederlandsch Toneel (led by Eduard Verkade), the Vereenigd Rotterdamsch-Hofstad Toneel, and the Nederlandsch Indisch Tooneel. She usually appeared onstage alongside her husband Theo Frenkel Jr.
After a divorce and a second marriage to Cor van der Lugt Melsert Jr. (1935), she stopped acting for a time.
In 1937, she was asked to act in Pygmalion, the film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play. Due to the resounding success of this film, Bouwmeester became a much sought-after actress for similarly light, comic female roles, for example in films like Vadertje Langbeen and Morgen gaat het beter. She performed her last film role in the mobilization movie Ergens in Nederland. She declined offers for films made by the German film company UFA.
After the liberation, she continued her stage career and definitively stopped acting in 1969.
- 1916—ActorFrancis as a child
- 1917—ActorLily Vogel
- 1917—ActorAnna as a child
- 1918—ActorSick sister of Thérèse
- 1918—ActorHonourable Ms. De Grancé
- 1920—ActorZwart's daughter
- 1921—ActorMarion Delisle
- 1937—ActorElisa Doeluttel
- 1938—ActorJudy Aalders
- 1939—ActorWilly Verhulst
- 1940—ActorNellie van Loon