Filled Under: Rochelle Hudson
Rochelle Hudson, born March 6, 1916 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was a film and television actress whose career spanned four decades from the 1930s through the 1960s. She was named a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1931 along with future Hollywood stars Joan Blondell, Constance Cummings, Frances Dee, and Anita Louise. Hudson may be best remembered today for costarring in “Wild Boys of the Road” (1933), playing Cosette in “Les Miserables” (1935), as the older sister of Shirley Temple’s character in “Curly Top” (1935), and for playing Natalie Wood’s mother in “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955). Other notable roles for Hudson include; Sally Glynn the fallen ingenue in “She Done Him Wrong” (1933) starring Cary Grant and Mae West; Richard Cromwell’s love interest in the Will Rogers showcase “Life Begins at Forty” (1935); “Way Down East” (1935) with Henry Fonda; the daughter of carnival barker W.C. Fields in “Poppy” (1936); and Claudette Colbert’s adult daughter in “Imitation of Life” (1934).
In the 1954–1955 television season, Hudson co-starred with Gil Stratton and Eddie Mayehoff in the CBS situation comedy “That’s My Boy”, based on the 1951 Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin film of the same name. Other television credits include appearing on Racket Squad in 1951, Schlitz Playhouse in 1952, Shower of Stars in 1954, Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre in 1955, and Branded in 1965.
Hudson was married four times. Her first husband was Charles Brust. Little is known of the marriage other than it ended in divorce. She remarried in 1939 to Harold Thompson, who was the head of the Storyline Department at Disney Studios. She assisted Thompson, who was doing espionage work in Mexico as a civilian during World War II. They posed as a vacationing couple to various parts of Mexico, to detect if there was any German activity in these areas. One of their more successful vacations uncovered a supply of high test aviation gas hidden by German agents in Baja California. After their divorce in 1947, Hudson married a third time the following year to Los Angeles Times sportswriter, Dick Irving Hyland. The marriage lasted two years before the couple divorced. Her final marriage was to Robert Mindell, a hotel executive. The couple remained together for eight years before they divorced in 1971.
On January 17, 1972, Hudson was found dead in her home at the Palm Desert Country Club. A business associate with whom she had been working in real estate discovered her body on her bathroom floor. Hudson had died of a heart attack brought on by a liver ailment. Her only close survivor was her mother.