If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday - Pearl S. Buck

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Answers to Okie Trivia Contest #3 - Oklahoma Actresses

Hello friends,
Well, things are slowly getting back to normal around here.  Halloween is over, the wood stove is ready for winter although we have already had two fires in it.  It has been a little chilly in the mornings.  My little calves, Hester and Esther are now weined from their mama (me).  So, finally the answers to Okie Trivia Contest #3.  Before the next contest I will have the answers ready before I post the questions.  I get so caught up in the research it delays the contest results the bottle.  All of these women are very interesting.  I'll post links with the answers so you can read about these actresses at your convenience.  The winner and another Oklahoma actresses at the end of this post.
With the exception of #5 all of these actresses started in the silent picture era.  Here we go:
#1

Glenda Farrell, born in 1904 in Enid.  Ms. Farrell became an actress early.  At age 7 she played "Little Eva" in Uncle Tom's Cabin on Broadway.  Some of her early roles were in I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang and The Mystery of the Wax Museum.  She was often paired with Joan Blondell and they made several movies together.  In the late 1930's Ms. Farrell began playing the "smart blonde" in the Torchy Blane series, "the lady bloodhound with a nose for news".   She starred in 7 of the 9 Torchy Blane movies. 
Interestingly she played a lawyer in the 1936 movie, The Law In Her Hands.  It was the first movie about two female law partners.  Ms. Farrell starred in two movies with fellow Oklahoma actress #3 and one movie with the actor pictured in answer #3.  Some of her later movies roles were with Jerry Lewis in The Disorderly Orderly and as Elvis Presley's mother in Kissin' Cousins.  Later in her career Ms. Farrell made some tv appearances in Ben Casey, The Fugitive, Bonzana and Bewitched. 
Ms. Farrell died in 1971 from lung cancer.  She is buried in West Point Cemetery next to her husband, Dr. Henry Ross.  Dr. Ross was a West Point graduate and Army physician who served on General Eisenhower's staff.

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#2

Joan Crawford, born Lucille Fay LeSueur in San Antonio, TX, spent her early childhood in Lawton.
She was born in 1905, 1906 or 1908 depending on her mood.  Oh my there is so much information out there about this tempest.  Do we need to hear more?  Well, here's a little bit.  She had a rocky beginning.  Her father, Thomas LeSueur left the family shortly after her birth.  Her mother, Anna Bell Johnson, immediately moved to Lawton and married Henry Cassin who owned the local opera house. 
Ms. Crawford was known as Billie Cassin when she began in vaudeville.  In her first movie Pretty Ladies she used her real name.  The studio quickly changed her name to Joan Crawford which she hated but "enjoyed the security that went with it".  I've never seen What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? too scary for me.  At the end of her career she starred in Strait-Jacket, which fellow Oklahoma actress #4 had a role in.
Ms. Crawford died in 1977 in New York.

Some great info sites:


#3

Kay Francis, born Katharine Edwina Gibbs in 1905 in Oklahoma City.  Her parents moved from New York to OKC in 1904.  I'm not sure why, yet.  According to the website, Kay Francis Films the family moved when Kay was still a baby to Santa Barbara, CA due to the harsh Oklahoma weather.  By the time she was 4 years old her father had left the family.  Her mother was a stage actress known as Katharine Clinton and by 1906 Kay and her mother were in New York.  Ms. Francis attended Catholic schools and enrolled at the Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School in New York.  Katharine Gibbs was Kay's mother's married name and she never denied that it was her mother's school.   After her first divorce from Mr. Francis, Kay made her Broadway debut in Hamlet in 1925.  Her first movie role was in the Marx Brothers' Coconuts in 1929.  Ms. Francis made several movies.  She starred in Mary Stevens, M.D. and The Keyhole with fellow Oklahoma actress #1, Glenda Farrell.
Do you recognize the Oklahoma actor in the top left photo?  Here's a hint he has starred with all of the actresses list with the exception of #4.  (Answer at the end)
Now, Kay Francis was a controversal woman.  Today's actresses that are always in the tabloids have nothing on Ms. Francis. Here are some links for your reading enjoyment:


#4

Rochelle Hudson, born in 1916 in Oklahoma City.  Isn't she pretty?  She was a WAMPAS Baby Star.
Ms. Hudson started her movie career as the voice of "Honey" in the Bosko animation short movies.  Some of her first roles were in the 1932 movie, Savage Girl and playing Cosette in 1935 version of Les Miserables opposite Fredric March.  She also starred with Mae West in She Done Him Wrong, Henry Fonda in Way Down East, and W.C. Fields in Poppy.  She played Shirley Temple's sister in Curly Top, Peter Lorre's love interest in Island of Doomed Men and Natalie Wood's mother in Rebel Without A Cause.  She was in four Will Rogers' movies and worked with him doing shows.  Mr. Rogers was so sweet he always employed Okies.  Since Ms. Hudson worked so much with Mr. Rogers people began to believe that she was from his hometown, Claremore.  From Things and Other Stuff

She’d get in trouble with the locals after making some disparaging comments about Claremore, but Rogers himself would bail out his young co-star of what wound up being four films in total by explaining that the local waters had a “particular fragrance,” in reference to Claremore’s mineral baths, and that must have been what Hudson was referring too when saying something to the effect of Claremore stinks. The August 21, 1935 edition of the San Antonio Light recounts the incident in a Rogers tribute article by Jack Lait titled “Filmdom’s Pal.” The section about the Hudson incident is headed “Takes Sting from Tactless Remark.”


After Rebel, Ms. Hudson moved to Tulsa and worked in a petroleum factory.  I wonder if they knew she was a Hollywood star.  She moved back to California and was a realtor until her death in 1972. 
For more information go here:
Rochelle Hudson Movies
Rochelle Hudson
Rochelle Hudson Filmography

and
#5

Jennifer Jones, born Phylis Lee Isley in 1919 in Tulsa.  Do you know the Isleys?  Her parents traveled in their own theater tent show.  She attended Monte Cassino School in Tulsa.  She studied acting in New York and married a fellow acting student, Robert Walker.  After they married they moved to Hollywood.  In her first two movies, New Frontier with John Wayne and Dick Tracy's G-Men she was billed as Phyllis Isley.    She failed a screen test at Paramount and moved back to New York.  She read for producer David O. Selznick.  She ran out of the reading in tears but he liked her and signed her to a 7 year contract.  Her next role was in the 1943 classic The Song of Bernadette, which she won an Oscar and the Golden Globe.  She was nominated for an Oscar for her roles in Since You Went Away, Love Letters, Duel in the Sun and Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing.  Ms. Jones was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in The Towering Inferno.
She was married David O. Selznick in 1949.  They were married until his death in 1965.  She married art collector, Norton Simon in 1971 and they were married until his death in 1993. 
Ms. Jones died in 2009 at the age of 90.
For more information check out these websites:

So the winner of this Okie Trivia Contest #3 is Mom Mayhem.  She answered #2 and #4 correctly. Congratulations!!! I will be sending you some of my homemade nectarine chutney (made from nectarines grown at Livesay's in Porter) which will be perfect for your Thanksgiving turkey.

Have a great day.
Love,
Territory Mom

4 comments:

Mom Mayhem says: said...

Oh wow -what great information you have! I can see how you get caught up doing the research ;) I've been pretty busy myself -I think I was in a hurry that I forgot to say where they were from. I'm glad to guess at these things and like to win -But, you don't have to keep giving me things ;) I'm sure I will enjoy the prize -I am familiar with the orchard in Porter -I once had a friend who's family owned an orchard there :) Thanks though!

Mom Mayhem says: said...

Oh wow -what great information you have! I can see how you get caught up doing the research ;) I've been pretty busy myself -I think I was in a hurry that I forgot to say where they were from. I'm glad to guess at these things and like to win -But, you don't have to keep giving me things ;) I'm sure I will enjoy the prize though -I am familiar with the orchard in Porter -I once had a friend who's family owned an orchard there :) Thanks!

Oklahoma Granny said...

Interesting stuff! I really enjoyed reading about each of these ladies.

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!