Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Taylor’

Peggy Ann Garner

 

Peggy Ann Garner

Peggy Ann Garner

Peggy Ann Garner was born February 3, 1932 in Canton, Ohio to English-born attorney William H. Garner, who served as a U.S. Army officer during World War II and his wife Virginia. With their marriage failing, the strong willed Virginia moved to Hollywood with her daughter Peggy Ann. There Garner made her first film appearance (uncredited) at the age of six in “Little Miss Thoroughbred” (1938). Over the next few years Garner appeared in several more films, including “Jane Eyre” (1943) and “The Keys of the Kingdom” (1944). In 1945 she showed she could also handle comedy by giving a fine performance in “Junior Miss”. Peggy Ann Garner reached the height of her success at the age of thirteen in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945), winning an Academy Juvenile Award largely for this performance. Bob Hope presented Garner her Oscar on March 7, 1946 at the 18th Academy Awards held at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

 

Peggy Ann Garner in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945)

Peggy Ann Garner in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945)

 

After years of separation and estrangement, her parents were divorced in 1947. Garner, who had a falling out with her mother, went to court to have her father appointed as her guardian. Unable to make a successful transition into adult film roles Garner moved back to New York to study with the Actor’s Studio and try her talents on Broadway. She appeared on stage with Dorothy Gish in “The Man” in 1950, “A Royal Family” in 1951, “Home is the Hero” in 1954, and was in the road company of “Bus Stop” in 1955. Garner received Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Award for Woman of the Year in 1956 given by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals society at Harvard University to performers deemed to have made a “lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment.”

 

Peggy Ann Garner and Elizabeth Taylor in "Jane Eyre" (1943)

Peggy Ann Garner and Elizabeth Taylor in “Jane Eyre” (1943)

 

During this time Garner also guest-starred steadily in television roles from the early 1950s through the 1960s. Among her many television roles included appearances in “The Ford Theatre Hour”, “Lux Video Theatre”, “Schlitz Playhouse”, “Robert Montgomery Presents”, “Zane Grey Theater”, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, “Bonanza”, and “The Outer Limits”. Garner was also a regular panelist on the NBC television series, “Who Said That?”, along with H. V. Kaltenborn and Boris Karloff. In 1978, Garner surprised film audiences after a decade away from any feature film when she appeared as the pregnant aunt of the bride ‘Candice Ruteledge’ in the critically acclaimed Robert Altman film, “A Wedding” (1978). Her final screen performance was a small uncredited role in a 1980 made-for-television feature “This Year’s Blonde”.

 

Peggy Ann Garner  1945 portrait

Peggy Ann Garner 1945 portrait

 

Peggy Ann Garner was married three times. Her first marriage was to singer/game show host Richard Hayes. They were married on February 22, 1951 and divorced October 13, 1953. Her second marriage was to Albert Salmi on May 16, 1956. Garner and Salmi had one child together, a girl, Catherine Ann Salmi. The couple divorced March 13, 1963. Garner’s final marriage was to Kenyon Foster Brown on August 7, 1964. After a few years, that marriage also ended in divorce in 1968.

 

Peggy Ann Garner in the stage adaptation of Bus Stop (c. 1956)

Peggy Ann Garner in the stage adaptation of Bus Stop (c. 1956)

 

Peggy Ann Garner died from pancreatic cancer on October 16, 1984 at the age of 52.

 

Peggy Ann Garner with her Academy Juvenile Award for "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" (1945)

Peggy Ann Garner with her Academy Juvenile Award for “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” (1945)

 

Ted Donaldson, Joan Blondell and Peggy Ann Garner in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (1945)

Ted Donaldson, Joan Blondell and Peggy Ann Garner in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945)

 

Peggy Ann Garner with Johnny Sheffield in a promo for "Bomba, the Jungle Boy" (1949)

Peggy Ann Garner with Johnny Sheffield in a promo for “Bomba, the Jungle Boy” (1949)

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“A Date With Judy” (1948) with Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Powell

 

"A Date With Judy"  (1948 - MGM)

“A Date With Judy”
(1948 – MGM)

 

“A Date with Judy” is a 1948 MGM musical film photographed in Technicolor starring Wallace Beery, Jane Powell, and Elizabeth Taylor. Directed by Richard Thorpe, the movie was based on the radio series of the same name. “A Date With Judy” also stars Carmen Miranda, Xavier Cugat, Robert Stack, Scotty Beckett, Leon Ames, Selena Royle, Clinton Sundberg, George Cleveland, Lloyd Corrigan, Jerry Hunter, and Jean McLaren. The film features Elizabeth Taylor’s beauty, the soprano singing voice of young Jane Powell, and is also a showcase for the musical performances of the Latin American singer Carmen Miranda and bandleader Xavier Cugat.

 
 
 

Robert Stack, Jane Powell, Elizabeth Taylor, Scotty Beckett in "A Date With Judy" 1948

Robert Stack, Jane Powell, Elizabeth Taylor, Scotty Beckett in “A Date With Judy” 1948


 

Judy Foster (Jane Powell) and Carol Pringle (Elizabeth Taylor) are teenagers and best friends who find their loyalties tested from complications arising because of the upcoming high school dance. Judy Foster expects boyfriend “Oogie” Pringle (Scotty Beckett) to be her escort, but he declines. Meanwhile, Oogie’s sister, sophisticated senior Carol Pringle has booked famous bandleader Xavier Cugat and his orchestra for the dance. Cugat’s lady friend and singing star with his band, Rosita Cochellas (Carmen Miranda), is also a dance instructor who is secretly giving dancing lessons to Judy’s father, Melvin Foster (Wallace Beery). Soda shop owner Pop Scully (Lloyd Corrigan) introduces a disappointed Judy to his handsome nephew Stephen I. Andrews (Robert Stack), who volunteers to take Judy to the dance, even though he’s considerably older. Judy finds him dreamy, and having Stephen as her date definitely makes Oogie jealous. Stephen, however, falls for the beautiful Carol instead. All this is very annoying to Judy, as is her discovery that her dad is seeing Rosita behind her mother’s back. Judy thinks they are having a romantic affair and enlists Carol to do a little sleuthing to try to figure out what really is going on between her dad and Rosita. With all these complications, humorous misunderstandings abound, including Rosita trying to explain the situation to her boyfriend, Cugat.

 

Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Powell in "A Date With Judy" (1948)

Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Powell in “A Date With Judy” (1948)


 

“A Date With Judy” is typical of MGM’s musical entertainment of the era. With that said, I thought “A Date With Judy” is one of the more enjoyable musicals they made. Definitely not MGM’s best, but very good. The film was a showcase for two of MGM’s most popular rising stars of the time in Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Powell. Elizabeth Taylor, age sixteen, and Jane Powell, age nineteen, are both very charming in their respective roles. Elizabeth’s great beauty was in full display as she was given the full MGM glamour treatment, including specially designed gowns just for her. Jane Powell shows off her singing voice with “A Most Unusual Day” and “Love Is Where You Find It”. Xavier Cugat and his band with Carmen Miranda as his star attraction are excellent as always. Leon Ames, Robert Stack, and Scotty Beckett are also very good. Wallace Berry is great as Jane Powell’s father and his dancing the ‘Rumba’ towards the end of the film almost steals the show. All in all a very charming and lighthearted film showcasing Elizabeth Taylor’s beauty, Jane Powell’s lovely voice and charm, along with Xavier Cugat and Carmen Miranda’s musical excellence.

 

Selena Doyle, Wallace Beery, and Carmen Miranda in "A Date With Judy" (1948)

Selena Doyle, Wallace Beery, and Carmen Miranda in “A Date With Judy” (1948)


 

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James Dean – A Pictorial

 

“Being a good actor isn’t easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I’m done.” ~ James Dean

 

James Dean

James Dean

 

“The gratification comes in the doing, not in the results.” ~ James Dean

 

James Dean 1955 (Photo Phil Stern)

James Dean 1955 (Photo Phil Stern)

 

“Only the gentle are ever really strong.” ~ James Dean

 

James Dean with Julie Harris in"East of Eden" (1955)

James Dean with Julie Harris in”East of Eden” (1955)

 

“Trust and belief are two prime considerations. You must not allow yourself to be opinionated.” ~ James Dean

 

James Dean and Natalie Wood have fun on the set of "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955)

James Dean and Natalie Wood have fun on the set of “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955)

 

“I’m not going to go through life with one arm tied behind my back.” ~ James Dean

 

James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor take a break during filming of "Giant" (1956)

James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor take a break during filming of “Giant” (1956)

 

“If a man can bridge the gap between life and death. I mean, if he can live on after his death, then maybe he was a great man.” ~ James Dean

 

James Dean and Pier Angeli (1954)

James Dean and Pier Angeli (1954)

 

“The only greatness for man is immortality.” ~ James Dean

 

James Dean

James Dean

 

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” ~ James Dean

 

James Dean

James Dean

 

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Beach Beauties: Elizabeth Taylor 1954

 

                        Elizabeth Taylor (1954)
                    in a leopard print swimsuit

Elizabeth Taylor 1954

Elizabeth Taylor 1954

 

Elizabeth Taylor 1954

Elizabeth Taylor 1954

 

Elizabeth Taylor 1954

Elizabeth Taylor 1954

 

Elizabeth Taylor with her son Michael Wilding Jr. 1954

Elizabeth Taylor with her son Michael Wilding Jr. 1954

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ZaSu Pitts

 

ZaSu Pitts was an American actress who starred in many silent dramas and comedies, transitioning to comedy sound films. She was a classic comedienne with timid, forlorn blue eyes and a trademark woebegone vocal pattern with fidgety hands. Not a classic beauty as many of the contemporary actresses of  her day, but Pitts made a very successful career out of her ‘unglamorous looks’ and wallflower tendencies in dozens of screwball comedies. Said Pitts of her career, “I was what they called a feature player, never a star. They say I was in 500 films, everything but the newsreels.”

 

ZaSu Pitts

ZaSu Pitts

ZaSu Pitts was born on January 3, 1894 in Parsons, Kansas, to Rulandus and Nellie Pitts. Her father, who had lost a leg while serving in the 76th New York Infantry Regiment in the Civil War, had settled the family in Kansas by the time ZaSu was born. In 1903, when she was nine years old, the family moved to Santa Cruz, California, seeking a warmer climate and better job opportunities. Her childhood home at 208 Lincoln Street still stands. She attended Santa Cruz High School, where despite her excessively shy demeanor she participated in school theatricals and made her stage debut in 1914–15 doing school and local community theater in Santa Cruz, California. In 1916 Pitts moved to Los Angeles spent many months asking studio casting offices for work as a film extra. In 1917, Pioneer screenwriter Frances Marion cast Pitts in a substantial role as an orphaned slavey (child of work) in the silent film, “The Little Princess”, starring Mary Pickford. Pitts grew in popularity following a series of Universal one-reeler comedies and earned her first feature-length lead in King Vidor’s “Better Times” (1919). The following year she met and married actor Tom Gallery. The couple paired in several films, including “Bright Eyes” (1921), “Heart of Twenty” (1920), “Patsy” (1921) and “A Daughter of Luxury” (1922). In 1924, already known as a comedy farceuse, Pitts was given the greatest tragic role of her career in Erich von Stroheim’s epic masterpiece “Greed” (1924). The surprise casting initially shocked Hollywood, but showed that Pitts could draw tears with her doleful demeanor as well as laughs. Based on her performance, von Stroheim labeled Pitts “the greatest dramatic actress”. The original film was 9 1/2 hours in length but was extensively edited prior to release, with the final theatrical cut at just over two hours. “Greed” failed initially at the box office. The film has since been restored to over four hours and has grown tremendously in reputation over time and is considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made.

 

ZaSu Pitts with Gibson Gowland in "Greed" (1924)

ZaSu Pitts with Gibson Gowland in “Greed” (1924)

 

Throughout the mid to late 20’s Pitts continued to star in comedy shorts and features such as “Monte Carlo” (1926), “Casey at the Bat” (1927), “The Dummy” (1929) and “No, No, Nanette” (1930), but also earned good reviews in heavy dramas such as “Sins of the Fathers” (1928), “The Wedding March” (1928), and “War Nurse” (1930). One bitter and huge disappointment for Pitts was when she was replaced in the classic war drama “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930) after her initial appearance in previews drew unintentional laughs, despite the intensity of her acting. She was replaced by Beryl Mercer and all her scenes were cut from the final production. Overcoming her disappointment Pitts continued to shine in many comedies. Her stock persona as a fretful, flustered, worrisome spinster made her instantly recognizable and was often imitated in cartoons and other films. She had viewers rolling in the aisles in “Finn and Hattie” (1931), “The Guardsman” (1931), “Blondie of the Follies” (1932), “Sing and Like It” (1934) and “Ruggles of Red Gap” (1935). She also excelled in her comedy partnerships with the stunning blonde comedienne Thelma Todd in short films and with the gangly comedian ‘Slim Summerville’ in features. Pitts also played secondary comedic roles in many films. Also among Pitts many roles of note during this time were “The Affair of Susan” (1935), “Mad Holiday” (1936), “Sing Me A Song” (1936), “Wanted” (1937), “Forty Naughty Girls” (1937), “Naughty But Nice” (1939), and in the same role she had ten years earlier as Pauline Hastings in a 1940 remake of “No, No, Nanatte”.

 

ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd in "On The Loose" (1931)

ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd in “On The Loose” (1931)

 

During the 1940’s, Pitts continued play comedic roles in such fare as “Mexican Spitfire’s Baby” (1941) and “Mexican Spitfire at Sea” (1942) which starred Lupe Valez and were part of the very successful ‘Mexican Spitfire’ film series. Pitts also had a secondary role in the Oscar nominated “Life with Father” (1947) with William Powel, Irene Dunne, and Elizabeth Taylor. Pitts also found work in vaudeville and on radio, trading quivery banter with Bing Crosby, Al Jolson, and Rudy Vallee, among others. She appeared several times on the earliest Fibber McGee and Molly show, playing a dizzy dame constantly looking for a husband. In 1944 Pitts tackled Broadway, making her debut in the mystery, “Ramshackle Inn”. The play, written expressly for her, fared well, and she took the show on the road in later years. In the 1950’s Pitts started focusing more on TV. This resulted in her best known series role, playing second banana to Gale Storm on “The Gale Storm Show” (1956) as Elvira Nugent (“Nugie”), the shipboard beautician. She also appeared in the 1962 Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Absent Artist”. Her last film role was as a switchboard operator in the Stanley Kramer comedy “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963).

 

Jimmy Fairfax, Gale Storm, and  Zasu Pitts in "The Gale Storm Show" (1956)

Jimmy Fairfax, Gale Storm, and Zasu Pitts in “The Gale Storm Show” (1956)

 

ZaSu Pitts was married twice. The first marriage was to Thomas Sarsfield Gallery in 1920. The couple had one child together, a girl named ZaSu Ann Gallery in 1922. The couple later adopted a boy who was the son of Pitts best friend Barbara La Marr, an ill-fated actress who died in 1926 at the age of 29 from tuberculosis and nephritis. Pitts and La Marr had worked together in three films in 1923 and had become close friends. The boy’s birth name was Marvin Carville La Marr which they changed to Donald Michael “Sonny” Gallery after the adoption. He grew up to become an actor and a sometime boyfriend of Elizabeth Taylor. He now lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Pitts and Gallery divorced in 1933.
Her second marriage was in 1933 to John Edward “Eddie” Woodall with whom she remained until her death.

 

Carole Lombard and ZaSu Pitts in "The Gay Bride" (1934)

Carole Lombard and ZaSu Pitts in “The Gay Bride” (1934)

 

Declining health dominated Pitts’ later years, particularly after she was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-1950s. The beloved commedienne died on June 7, 1963, aged 69, leaving behind scores of scene stealing roles unmatched but by only a few. She was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

 

Elizabeth Taylor and ZaSu Pitts in "Life with Father" (1947)

Elizabeth Taylor and ZaSu Pitts in “Life with Father” (1947)

 

Pitts unique and remarkable first name, “ZaSu”, came about because her mother’s two sisters, Eliza and Susan, both wanted her named after them. Her mother didn’t want to disappoint either of them, so she formed the name from the last two letters of Eliza and the first two letters of Susan. Incorrectly spelled as Zazu Pitts in many film credits and often mispronounced, in her 1963 book “Candy Hits” (pg 15), Pitts herself gives the correct pronunciation as “Say Zoo”.
Pitts was also known as an excellent cook and a collector of candy recipes, which culminated into the aforementioned  cook book entitled “Candy Hits by ZaSu Pitts”, which was published posthumously in 1963.

 

Humphrey Bogart, John Litel, and ZaSu Pitts in "It All Came True" (1940)

Humphrey Bogart, John Litel, and ZaSu Pitts in “It All Came True” (1940)

 

ZaSu Pitts was chosen to be pictured on one of ten 29¢ US commemorative postage stamps celebrating stars of the silent screen, issued 27 April 1994. Designed by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, this set of stamps also honored Rudolph Valentino, Clara Bow, Charles Chaplin, Lon Chaney, John Gilbert, Harold Lloyd, Theda Bara, Buster Keaton, and the Keystone Kops.
When the “Thimble Theatre” comic strip became the “Popeye” animated cartoon series, the producers used ZaSu’s hand-wringing and nervous speech pattern to characterize the on-screen persona of “Olive Oyl.”

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