Monday, July 23, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Kathleen Freeman was an American film, television, and stage actress. In a career that spanned more than 50 years, she portrayed tart maids, secretaries, teachers, busybodies, nurses, and battle-axe neighbors, almost invariably to comic effect. She was born February 17, 1919, in Chicago, Illinois, and began her career as a child, dancing in her parents' vaudeville act. After a stint studying music at UCLA, she went into acting full time, working on the stage, and finally entering films in 1948. She was a founding member, in 1946, of the Circle Players at The Circle Theatre, now known as El Centro Theatre.
Her most notable early role was an uncredited part in the 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain, as Jean Hagen's articulate diction coach Phoebe Dinsmore. In 1954, Freeman played receptionist Miss Seely in Athena. Beginning with the 1955 film Artists and Models, Freeman became a favorite foil of Jerry Lewis, playing opposite him in 11 films, including The Disorderly Orderly, The Errand Boy, Three on a Couch, and the Nutty Professor. Other film roles included appearances in The Missouri Traveler (1958), the horror film The Fly (1958), the Western spoofs Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) and Support Your Local Gunfighter! (1971), The Blues Brothers, and Blues Brothers 2000.
In addition to teaching acting classes in Los Angeles, Freeman was also a familiar presence on television. She appeared from the 1950s until her death in regular or recurring roles on many sitcoms, including Topper (as Katie the maid), The Donna Reed Show (as Mrs. Wilgus, the Stone's busybody next door neighbor), Hogan's Heroes (as Frau Gertrude Linkmeyer, General Burkhalter's sister, who longed to wed Colonel Klink), Mrs. Kate Harwell, Sandy Duncan's's landlady and friend in Funny Face; I Dream of Jeannie (as a grouchy supervisor in a false preview of Maj. Nelson's future), the short-lived prehistoric sitcom It's About Time (as Mrs. Boss), and as the voice of Peg Bundy's mom, an unseen character on Married. . .with Children. She played guest roles on countless other shows, from The Lucy Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Dick Van Dyke Show to Home Improvement. She also played Sister Agnes in an episode of The Golden Girls. In 1969, Freeman made a guest appearance on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C, playing Sergeant Carter's mother in the episode "I'm Always Chasing Gomers."
In later years, Freeman also worked extensively as a voice actress, playing Ma Crackshell on DuckTales, a Theban woman in Disney's Hercules, and fortune teller Madame Xima in the video game Curse of Monkey Island. She remained active in her last two years, with a regular voice role on As Told By Ginger, a voice bit in the animated feature film Shrek, a guest appearance on the sitcom Becker and, most notably, scoring a Tony Award nomination and a Theatre World Award for her role of accompanist Jeannette Burmeister in the Broadway musical version of The Full Monty. Weakened by illness, Freeman reluctantly left Broadway's Full Monty cast on August 18, 2001. Five days later, on August 23, 2001, she died of lung cancer at age 82.
Joyce Jameson, born September 26, 1932, in Chicago was an American actress best remembered for her blonde bimbo roles during the Marilyn Monroe period. She was known for many television roles including recurring guest appearances as “Skippy” one of the "fun girls" in the 1960s television series The Andy Griffith Show.
Jameson began work in the early 1950s with numerous uncredited roles in films and television. She made her film debut in 1951 playing a chorus girl dancer in the motion picture Show Boat. Her other notable film credits of that early period included Problem Girls (1953), Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957) and The Apartment (1960). In 1962, she starred alongside Vincent Price and Peter Lorre in the Roger Corman horror film Tales of Terror. One year later, she again starred alongside Lorre and Price in the raucous comedy The Comedy of Terrors (1964), where she was more typically cast as she had been in the 1950s. In 1964, she appeared as a hotel hooker in the comedy Good Neighbor Sam, starring Jack Lemmon. In 1966, she appeared in the Elvis Presley film Frankie and Johnny and in Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! featuring Bob Hope and Elke Sommer. In the 1970s, Jameson had notable roles in films such as Death Race 2000 (1975) and in the 1976 Clint Eastwood western The Outlaw Josey Wales. She also appeared in Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and one of her last roles was in Hardbodies in 1984.
Jameson was also well credited as a television actress. She appeared in guest roles in numerous television series including Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, McHale's Navy, My Favorite Martian, The Munsters, F-Troop, Hogan's Heroes, Alias Smith and Jones, Emergency!, and Barney Miller. Towards the late 1970s she appeared in Charlie's Angels and in the early 1980s in The Love Boat. Her ongoing role as Skippy paired with Daphne (played by Jean Carson) in the The Andy Griffith Show established "The Fun Girls", and inspired the characters for the later series Laverne & Shirley.
Contrary to her onscreen stereotype, off screen Jameson was said to be the direct opposite of her screen persona. She was reportedly intelligent, sensitive, and extremely well read. She was married to actor/songwriter Billy Barnes for much of her earlier life and was a longtime girlfriend of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. star Robert Vaughn. Joyce Jameson suffered from depression and was an insomniac who regularly took pills to help her sleep. On January 16, 1987, she committed suicide by overdosing on pills at the age of 54. Her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered at sea.
Jean Carson was an American stage, film and television actress best known for her work on the classic 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show as one of the "fun girls". Born February 28, 1923, in Charleston, West Virginia, she first became interested in show business as a child. At age 12 she got her first acting job, five dollars for a small part in a production of Carmen that traveled through Charleston. In high school she was voted Girl Most Likely to Succeed as an Actress. Carson told her mother she was going to be on Broadway and in 1948, after studies at Carnefie Mellon University, Carson made her Broadway debut in George S. Kaufman's's Bravo. Other Broadway work included Anniversary Waltz with Macdonald Carey, Two Blind Mice with Melvyn Douglas, and Bird Cage, which garnered her a Tony Award nomination.
Carson went on to appear in many pioneering television series, including Studio One, NBC Presents, The Twilight Zone, and The Ford Theatre Hour. She continued to make guest starring appearances throughout the 1950s, as well as a regular role on 1959's The Betty Hutton Show and roles in films such as The Phenix City Story in 1955 and I Married a Monster from Outer Space in 1958. Carson felt she was typecast by some of these roles as a “second woman” but that they helped her get work on The Andy Griffith Show. Carson had a brief role as Naomi in the 1962 episode “Convicts at Large”, but her most popular role was Daphne, one of the "fun girls", who appeared with Joyce Jameson on a recurring basis from 1962 to 1965. Daphne was a notorious flirt who greeted her objects of affection with a throaty "Hello Doll”.Carson earned fourth billing in the 1968 Peter Sellers comedy The Party, perhaps her best known film. Her last film role was 1977's Fun with Dick and Jane. She retired early in the next decade, save for some plays in the Palm Springs area (where she had moved to be close to her children). She associated herself with The Andy Griffith Show for many years, attending cast performances, conventions, and other meetings and writing back to fans personally until she suffered a severe stroke which left her incapacitated in September 2005. On November 2, 2005, Carson died from complications of the stroke; she was 82 years old.
Supporting actress Jane Dulo launched her performing career in vaudeville at age ten. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 13, 1917. She specialized in television comedies and was involved with the medium since the 1950s. Best remembered as 99’s Mother (which is how the nameless role was billed), she was introduced when Max and 99 married during the fourth season of Get Smart. She played raucous housewives, man-hungry spinsters, and bewildered tourists in everything from Sgt. Bilko to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. As a navy nurse she chased Ernest Borgnine for the first two seasons of McHale’s Navy and had a straight role as a nurse for one season of Medical Center. Other television credits include guest appearances on series such as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Joey Bishop Show, and The Andy Griffith Show. Fans of the long-running TV variety show Sha Na Na may remember her as the woman in the window. She made her movie debut in Roustabout in 1964 and went on to have a sporadic film career. She also appeared occasionally on and off Broadway. Jane Dulo died May 22, 1992, in Los Angeles following heart surgery.
Reta Shaw, born September 13, 1912, in South Paris, Maine, was an American character actress known for playing authoritative women, housekeepers, and domineering wives, especially on television. She appeared on Broadway in her comic role as Mabel in the original production of The Pajama Game in 1952, as well as in Gentlemen Prefer Blones, Picnic, and Annie Get Your Gun, the last on tour with Mary Martin. She had featured roles in several motion pictures, including Picnic, The Pajama Game, Mary Poppins, Pollyanna, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Bachelor in Paradise, and Escape to Witch Mountain.
On television, she was seen with Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Andy Griffith, and Patty Duke, and appeared on Wally Cox's Mr. Peepers series, Armstrong Circle Theater, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Millionaire, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. She is best remembered as the housekeeper on TV's The Ghost & Mrs. Muir. She appeared in the first season of The Ann Sothern Show in the role of Flora Macauley, the overbearing wife of the gentlemanly hotel owner Jason Macauley (played by Ernest Truex). In the 1960-1961 television season, she played the housekeeper, Thelma, to Tab Hunter's character Paul Morgan, a young cartoonist, in The Tab Hunter Show. Shaw again played a housekeeper in the 1961-1962 CBS series Ichabod and Me, starring Robert Sterling and George Chandler. Shaw's character of Bertha/Hagatha, a matronly witch, was a recurring role on TV's Bewitched. She played escaped convict Big Maud Tyler in an episode of The Andy Griffith, entitled "Convicts at Large". She appeared again in season four as Eleanora Poultice, the educated voice teacher of the legendary Barney Fife. She also appeared in an episode of I Dream of Jeannie entitled "Jeannie and the Wild Pipchicks" where she played a strict dietician who has her innermost inhibition released (in her case a beautiful butterfly).
Reta Shaw died of emphysema in Encino, California, on January 8, 1982. She was 69 years old. Shaw was cremated and her remains are interred in a niche in the Columbarium of Remembrance at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery. She was divorced from actor William Forester and had one daughter.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
The Searchers is a classic 1956 Western directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne as an aging Confederate Civil War veteran who is determined to find his niece who was kidnapped by Comanche Indians. The Searchers co-stars include Natalie Wood, Ward Bond, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ken Curtis, and Patrick Wayne.
Chisum is a 1970 western movie directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and starring John Wayne as an aging rancher who locks horns with a greedy land developer who will stop at nothing to get control of the trade and even the law in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Chisum co-stars include Forrest Tucker, Ben Johnson, Glenn Corbett, Geoffrey Deuel, Christopher George, John Agar, Richard Jaeckel, Andrew Prine, and Lynda Day George.
3 Godfathers is a 1948 western film starring John Wayne, directed by John Ford and filmed primarily in Death Valley. When three cattle rustlers rob a bank in the town of Welcome, Arizona, one of the men suffers a bullet wound and they have to flee into the desert, pursued by the local sheriff and his posse. They eventually lose their horses in a desert storm and end up walking. In their search for water, they come across a water hole, which has, however, been destroyed by the misguided efforts of a bumbling tenderfoot. In his covered wagon left nearby lies his wife who is very pregnant and about to give birth. With the help of the three outlaws she gives birth to a boy. Before dying, she extracts a promise from the baby's three godfathers that they will take care of him. Moved by the woman's plight, the three desperadoes uphold their promise despite the acute lack of water. 3 Godfathers co-stars Ward Bond, Harry Carey Jr., Pedro Armendariz, Mildred Natwick, Jane Darwell, and Mae Marsh.
El Dorado is a 1966 Western that featured John Wayne in the story of a sheriff who must defend his office against an aggressive outlaw element in the town. Wayne stars as Cole Thornton, a gunfighter who helps an old friend protect a group of ranchers from a rival who had previously hired Cole. The film co-starsRobert Mitchum, Edward Asner, James Caan, Michele Carey, and Arthur Hunnicutt.
The Sons of Katie Elder is a 1965 Western starring John Wayne as the eldest of four brothers who reunite to attend the funeral of their mother. When they discover that the deed to their land may have been unjustly taken from them by an unscrupulous gunsmith, the brothers find themselves having to fight to regain what is rightfully theirs. The film co-stars Dean Martin, Earl Holliman, George Kennedy, Dennis Hopper, Jeremy Slate, and Michael Anderson, Jr.
Born in New York City on January 31, 1894, Percy Helton was one of the most familiar faces and voices in Hollywood pictures and on television. The short actor with a hoarse, raspy voice and breathy delivery was a fixture in a wide range of films and TV programs in the 1950s and 1960s. He began performing in his father's vaudeville act and went on to appear on Broadway. A veteran character actor of nearly 200 films, he made his big screen debut in "The Fairy and the Waif' (1915). Some of his most memorable pictures include "Let's live Again" (1948), "Copper Canyon" (1950), "20000 Leagues Under the Sea" (1954), "Jail Busters" (1955), "Hush. . .Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964), "The Sons of Katie Elder" (1965) and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969). On television, he appeared on "Gunsmoke", "Perry Mason", "Bonanza", "The Beverly Hillbillies", "Green Acres", "Petticoat Junction" and many more. He died September 11, 1971, at age 77 in Hollywood, California.
Born in San Francisco, California,on July 16, 1888, Percy Kilbride's first introduction to the theatre was working as an usher at the Central Theatre at the age eleven. He developed easy-going bumpkin characterizations and twangy voice, both of which became his trademark from the first time he stepped on the stage in a role in the San Francisco production 'Tale of Two Cities.' He continued with his career by working on the road with various stock theatre companies. His career was interrupted by a tour of military duty during World War I and he served in France. In the postwar years, he continued to work for regional stock companies while performing bit character parts in a few Hollywood motion pictures. He also had minor parts in some Broadway theatre shows, debuting in 1928. Already in his fifties by 1942, when he appeared in one of his best known roles in "George Washington Slept Here", some of his many credited film appearances include "Annie Oakley", "Keeper of the Flame", "Crazy House", "Woman of the Town", "The Adventures of Mark Twain", "The Southerner" and "State Fair." He appeared with Marjorie Main in the roles of ‘Ma Kettle' and ‘Pa Kettle' in the movie "The Egg and I", which launched the highly successful series of ‘Ma and Pa Kettle' films. There were ten in all, but Percy Kilbride retired after filming the eighth, 'Kettle at Waikiki.' Universal Studio's attempted to carry on without him and made two more which were unsuccessful. In his later years he suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and in December 1964 he was crossing with a friend in Hollywood when both were struck by a speeding car. His friend was killed instantly, but Percy Kilbride survived and was taken to a Los Angeles Hospital where he underwent brain surgery. He lingered for over a week but finally succumbed to pneumonia and his injuries on December 11, 1964, at age 76.
Marjorie Main (February 24, 1890 – April 10, 1975) was an American character actress, perhaps best known for her role as Ma Kettle in a series of ten Ma and Pa Kettle movies. Born Mary Tomlinson in Acton, Indiana, Main adopted a stage name to avoid embarrassing her minister father, Samuel J. Tomlinson. She worked in vaudeville on the Chautauqua and Orpheum circuits, and debuted on Broadway in 1916. Her first film was A House Divided in 1931.
Main began playing upper class dowagers but was ultimately typecast in abrasive, domineering, salty roles, for which her distinct voice was well suited. She repeated her stage role in Dead End in the 1937 film version, and was subsequently cast repeatedly as the mother of gangsters. She played Sonora Cassidy, the chief cook, in The Harvey Girls (1945). The director, George Sidney, says in the comments on the film that Miss Main was a "great lady" as well as a great actress who donated most of her paychecks over the years to the support of a school. Perhaps her most famous role is that of "Ma Kettle", which she first played in The Egg and I in 1947 opposite Percy Kilbride as "Pa Kettle". She was nominated for an Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the part and portrayed the character in nine more Ma and Pa Kettle films.
Marjorie Main was married to Stanley LeFevre Krebs from 1921 until his death in 1935. In 1974, a year before her death, she was invited to the Los Angeles premiere of the MGM compilation film,That's Entertainment. It was her first public appearance since she retired from films in 1957. At the post-premiere party, she was greeted with cheers of enthusiasm from the crowd of spectators. She died of lung cancer on April 10, 1975, in Los Angeles at the age of 85. She is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Her name is listed on her headstone as Mrs. Mary Tomlinson Krebs, with her stage name Marjorie Main underneath.
Maria Montez (June 6, 1912 – September 7, 1951) was a Dominican-born actress who gained fame and popularity in the 1940s as an exotic beauty starring in a series of filmed-in-Technicolor costume adventure films. Her screen image was that of a hot-blooded Latin seductress, dressed in fanciful costumes and sparkling jewels. She became so identified with these adventure epics that she became known as "The Queen of Technicolor." Over her career, Montez appeared in 26 films, including Cobra Woman, Arabian Knights, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
Maria Montez died in Suresnes, France, on September 7, 1951, at the age of 39 after apparently suffering a heart attack and drowning in her bath. She was buried in Paris where her tombstone gives her amended year of birth (1918), not the actual year of her birth (1912).