Mary Ann Hyde

MaryAnnHyde2

Mary Ann Hyde is the ultimate proof that even incredible legs and a slender body were not really enough to become  a movie star. A true knockout, she nonetheless never achieved anything remotely close to cinematic fulfillment.

EARLY LIFE:

Mary Ann Hyde was born in cca 1923 in Akron, Ohio. Her father was  a wealthy banker.

The family moved to Beverly Hills, California, in he 1930s. Her father continued his prosperous job, and thus Mary Ann belonged to the Beverly Hills social set . She attended Beverly Hills High School, majoring in art and hopign to become a painter. fate had something different in store for her – in the early 1940s, producer/director Tay Garnett, a friend of her father’s, asked her if she wanted to be in the movies. Owning to her incredible looks more than her talent, she was signed to a contract in 1942 and started her career.

CAREER:

Mary Ann’s career is very, very slim. She appeared in only four films, and never made it to the credited tier.

MaryAnnHydeHer first uncredited role was in Seven Sinners, a Marlene Dietrich/John Wayne western. A nice blend of comedy and social satire, it manages to satisfy both fans of Dietrich (who like sophisticated movies with a strong female lead) and fans of Wayne (who liked action and tough guys). Special mention goes to Broderick Crawford as a strong support.

That Night in Rio is the kind of that shows us that even escaping fare can be well made. The simple, clean plot, breezy dialogue, endearing stars and great music all neatly combined in a top notch package – while this is not the kind of movie that will leave you thinking for days afterwards, it manages to entertain and leave a positive impression. And it catapulted Alice Faye to sure stardom.

Flesh and Fantasy is Mary Ann’s claim to “fame”. When browsing through old newspapers, it’s clear she got most publicity from appearing in this movie. While her role in minuscule and uncredited, it’s very flashy- she is Charles Boyer‘s aerial partner (Boyer plays an acrobat). Chosen because of her long, MaryAnnHydelean legs and good coordination skills, Mary Ann spend weeks and weeks practicing above the safety net so she could play the part convincingly. The movie is a anthology of three stoires dealing with the supernatural. This “three movies in one” format was very popular for a brief time in the 1940s, and despite being rarely used since, Flesh and Fantasy holds up well today and is definitely worth watching. The most impressive thing about it are the actors no doubt – Charles Boyer, Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Thomas Mitchell, and the list goes on!  Sadly, Mary Ann’s segment is the weakest of the three, but on the other hand, it’s hard to match Robinson and Stanwyck in the same frame!

Up in Arms is a movie that perfectly showcases the typical Danny Kaye vehicle – phony, unbelievable, but absolutely enchanting and lovable. Danny is supported by the great Dinah Shore and the equally good Dana Andrews and Constance Dowling.

Mary Ann cut her movie career short after this.

PRIVATE LIFE:

Mary Ann had the looks and body type Hollywood loved – all clean, elongated lines, very lean, not too tall nor muscular, with stunning legs, lush black hair and a cute face.

Behind her socialite facade, Mary Ann was a serious sportswoman. The press lauded her as a top line underwater harpooner, who routinely captured stingarees. Armed only with a strong swimming stroke, underwater goggles and a steel barbed, wood handled harpoon four feet long (with a coil of light rope attached), she caught fish many men could only dream off.

With her combination of looks, personality and breeding it’s no wonder that Mary Ann had the luck of dating some very desirable, luscious men. She had great taste, that’s for sure!  

Mary AnnHyde4If she ever gets mentioned today in books, it’s mostly because she was, for a brief time, the serious girlfriend of Errol Flynn. Although the words “serious girlfriend” and Errol Flynn don’t go quite hand in hand, she was a prominent Flynn date in the late 1943 and early 1944. Flynn had just come out of a nasty rape charge, and was probably more vulnerable than ever before, making a great opening for any woman to cement her position with him, but with his usual Flynn panache, he did not give in to his morose toughs dated others girl(s). One of them was none other than Linda Christian, the famous temptress who seduced the likes of Tyrone Power, Edmund Purdom and Alfonso de Portago.

Indeed, it was clear from the beginning that Mary Ann had no real chance to snag Errol for the long run. She was a young, inexperienced girl, and he was a well known lothario, and the competition for his attentions were fierce. She never lived with him at his home in Mullholland drive, but stayed there often and provided him with more than a romantic liaison – she was also his part time secretary. Flynn paid her back by engaging her in once in a lifetime whirlwind romance, wining and dining her at some of the most famous restaurants and clubs in Hollywood. While it’s clear that those wild, unbelievable romances almost never last, it must have been helluva lot of fun for Mary Ann to be in such a revered position.

By the middle of 1944, Flynn had moved on, and so did Mary Ann. After some casual dates, she fell in love with David Silva, a famous Mexican actor on loan to Hollywood. Another whirlwind courtship followed, and they were married in Tijuana, Mexico, during a massive downpour, in November 1944. They returned to Los Angeles afterwards.

The marriage did not last, and they divorced in 1946. Silva became one of the most prominent Mexican actors of his generation. He died in 1976.

I have no idea what happened to Mary Ann afterwards, or if she is alive today.

 

Advertisements

Karen Gaylord

Karen5

 

Goldwyn Girls were all statuesque charmers, well publicized, appearing in top movies. Yet, none of them achieved any great success as an actress. Karen Gaylord likewise never rose above being the resident glamour girl.

EARLY LIFE:

Karen Xandra Goerner was born on January 4, 1921, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Werner C. Goerner and Marie Goerner.

Her father is German, an engineer with the Northern Pacific Railway and her mother was from Illinois. The family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her younger sister Doris J.E. was born in 1925.

The family moved around quite a bit during Jane’s childhood, going back to Milwaukee, settling permanently in Devils Lake, North Dakota, where Werner operated a chain of lumber yards. Jane attended schools in Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Devils Lake and graduates from North Community High School.

The pretty girl became a fixture on the pageant scene in her late teens, and won the title of Miss Minnesota when she was about 18 years old. Harry Conover, the connoisseur of pretty girls, saw her in a Butte, Montana bank and signed her to become a model in New York City. Jane was quick to rise the ranks of models, appearing on covers of national magazines.

CAREER:

As a Goldwyn girl, Karen appeared in small, uncredited roles in a string of high budget, distinguished movies. Most of the movies are well remembered today and most them feature at least one A class star.

Karen6Her first movie appearance was in Cover Girl, a lovely Rita Hayworth musical, one of her best. Gene Kelly and Rita are a great dancing couple, and the breezy movie moves skillfully towards a stunning ending. Wonder Man is a hilarious Danny Kaye movie. The name itself is misleading, as Kaye doe snot play a superhero in any form, but a man haunted by the ghost of his dead twin brother who seeks justice for his murder. As always, Virginia Mayo is a great foil for Danny, and the finale, set during an opera performance, is one of the best scenes in comedic history.

The Virginia Mayo/Danny Kaye combination was exploited again in The Kid from Brooklyn. Kaye is at the top of his game here, with a youthful exuberance and one of a kind body language no other comedian manged to match since. Eve Arden is especially delightful in the role she excelled in – deadpan sparkler.

$(KGrHqN,!qMFJE!u46F5BSUFJfuKe!~~60_57Night in Paradise was a lesser movie than her previous ones, biut still managed to pull of a mildly entertaining show, featuring Merle Oberon.

A extension of the “Three girls looking for husbands” genre, Three Little Girls in Blue was baed on the same play used by The Greeks had a word for them (1932), Three blind mice (1938), Moon over Miami (1941). It’s hard to judge the movie on its own merit as it was remade so many times, but it remains a lively, brisk, fast moving delight for all who love 1940s musical. While not as lavish as the MGM musicals of the era and lacking a huge star like Gene Kelly or Judy Garland, the cast is perfect: June Haver, Vivian Blaine and Vera Ellen as the sisters, with Celeste Holm in her very first movie appearance (and she kicks the trousers out of everyone with her impeccable timing!).

Karen2The Shocking Miss Pilgrim is a Betty Grable musical that hidden much under it’s glossy surface polish. The underlying story tackles both woman’s suffragette and their relationship to other ideologies (in this case, the prohibition), and never wavers into typical musical silliness. Dick Haymes is given one of the few meaty role sin his career and his character lived through a transformation easily believable even today (from a “manly man” looking down on woman, he learns to respect the working female and her role in society).

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the most popular movie Karen had appeared up until them, the absolute pinnacle of Danny Kaye comedy. A sharp, witty script, great performances and high production values mix together to make a top notch comedy movie. Unfortunately, her career trajectory did not go up after this, but  rather down.

Karen4Linda Be Good is her first B class production with smaller names like Elyse Knox and John Hubbard. It’s a very good mystery movie. I Love Trouble, despite its lightweight name, is a full blown film noir, gritty and hard boiled like any good Raymond Chandler book (the movie patterns itself very devotedly after these books). While the performance of Franchot Tone, known as a second banana charmer in his heyday at MGM, is a matter of debate (some can never envision him as a tough private eye, some maintain that his inbred elegance help elevate the stereotype), the story and supporting players are all very good.

A Song Is Born is a paradise for music lovers. A remake of Ball Of Fire, it doe snot even remotely match the original in its pacing and comedy, but the spirited leads (Kaye and Mayo once again) and a wide variety of famous musical performers of the time gives it some ebb and guarantees a movie not that easily forgotten.

Karen’s last movie was The Girl from Jones Beach, a mediocre, no-reason-to-watch-it-twice Ronald Reagan comedy, with Virginia Mayo as his leading lady. Again, it’s not  a bad movie, but it’s not a very good one either, falling solidly into the mid tier.

Karen got married and left movies for good after this.

PRIVATE LIFE:

As a Goldwyn girl, Karen was extremely active in the war relief program, touring army bases constantly in 1943/1944. She found time for romance on the side, dating Ted Knoll. They were even engaged at some point in August 1943, but decided to postpone the wedding. In late 1944, she revealed to the press how she wished to purchase a farm where she and Knoll can raise foxes. Her family had owned a fox farm outside Minneapolis while she was young and ever since she wanted to own one herself. Karen was known around Hollywood as a very shrewd, thrifty woman, and it’s not hard to believe she has such grounded goals (unlike many other chorus girls whose heads were in the clouds).

Karen1There were several other newspaper gimmicks she was a part of: in November 1944, along with six other starlets, she became the manager and backer of a professional acrobat, Allan Dodd. They would invest money in him and they hope he would become a movie star and pay them back the investment. Of course Dodd never became a movie star and nobody ever heard anything about him since the article, but it made a small splash. She and Ruth Valmy, both farm girls, constantly talked about their rural tendencies in the papers, and both tried to shake their “southern” accents (now this is a quack – Karen was from Minneapolis, quite far from the south, but okay!). There was a Sawtooth mountains outing at Sun Valley, Idaho, where, the press notes “three visitors Shirley Buchanan,Karen Gaylord and Pat Hall find plenty of winter facilities for rolling snowballs. “

By 1945, she had ditched Knoll for Brian Aherne, a rather cold man once married to Joan Fontaine. By October 1945 she was over with Aherne and dating Ted Howard. Not long after she suffered an accident and dislocated her hip, but recovered soon enough to resume her career and start a brief liaison with Ray Milland.

$T2eC16d,!y8E9s2fk3T9BSdsBwE0Lg~~60_57She was one of Sam Goldwyn’s troop of 6 goodwill glamour missionaries who toured England and Paris in 1946, and this more than anything was her claim to fame.

In 1947, Karen scored the big kahuna – Cary Grant. She was on tour with the Goldwyn Girls in Mexico when the screen star noticed her and a quick and passionate courtship followed. Karen had contractual obligations and had to continue touring South America, and Cary called her at least once a week to check up on her. Unfortunately, the affair never developed into something more permanent, and Cary went on to marry Betsy Drake a few years later.

Karen continued to burn through high profile men wit ease. She enchanted her boss’s son, Samuel Godwyn Jr., and in October 1947 the papers were abuzz with news of their engagement. The elder Goldwyn was furious and did all he could to separate the couple. He succeeded, as they broke up before getting hitched. Goldwyn would marry Jennifer Howard in 1950.

1948 was a very good year for Karen romantically. She started the year as the best girl of Harold Clark, a New York blue blood worth millions. There were some rumors he would divorce his wife Millie and marry Karen, but that did not happen. By May 1948, she was flying to Los Angeles frequently to date Steve Crane, Lana Turners ex husband and a very well known Lothario. After Steve came Jack Carson, handsome actor.

Then, in late May 1948, she met Don McGuire on a blind date. Frank Sinatra was the match maker. The whirlwind courtship lasted for only three months before their tied the know on August 15, 1948.

Karen3McGuire was born as Donald Rose on February 28, 1919, in Chicago, Illinois, to Benjamin Rose and Ann F. Uadanter. For a brief biography, I quote Imdb:

American screenwriter and director Don McGuire was a former Warner Brothers contract player and Hollywood press agent during the 1940s. He had a background in journalism, having begun his professional life as a reporter for the Hearst press. After four years of military service, he acted on screen in small roles as interns, barmen or drivers. After leaving Warners in 1948, he found good roles hard to come by and ended up being relegated to appearances in second features. Therefore, he decided on becoming a writer of film scripts instead

There were some bits and pieces about Karen in the paper after that, but she sank into obscurity after 1954. All I know is that she and McGuire did not have any children and divorced at some point. Don achieved his biggest success in 1982 with Tootsie that he co wrote with Larry Gelbart.

In 1949 she retired from films and moved to Clearwater, Florida to teach music and art and in 1950 she legally changed her name to Jane Goerner and up until the 1990s she gave private lessons out of her home.

Don McGuire died in 1999.

Jane Goerner died in her sleep on August 1, 2014.

 

 

 

Inez Cooper

Inez3

 

Inez Cooper was an actress whose career was at first propelled by her resemblance to Hedy Lamarr – and crashed not long after for the very same reason. While she does enjoy a glimmer of recognition by having appeared in several low budget westerns, the “Hedy seal” plagued her for the whole duration of her career and made Inez unable to achieve much in terms of artistic validation or commercial success.

EARLY LIFE:

Elizabeth Inez Cooper was born on March 23, 1921, in Atlanta, Georgia to Mary Beatres “Molly” McEver and Thomas Scott Cooper. She had an older sister, Juana Althea, born in 1917. She grew up in Georgia, but moved to New York at some point to become a model. She blended nicely with the metropolitan city in the late 1930s.

Inez was living it high in Miami, Florida and New York before she went to Hollywood purely for fun (to make the nightclub rounds). Someone noticed her in a nightclub and directed her to visit Bill Grady’s office. Bill was the MGM talent scout. On her way to the office, in the MGM building, she was seen by the famous director Melvyn LeRoy, who did a screen test on the spot. She was signed to MGM even before she reached Grady’s door. It was suggested her resemblance to Hedy Lamarr got her very easily something many girls would draw blood for.

CAREER:

First, let’s look at the reason Inez had the crazy luck to get signed by a movie studio at  at the first glance: her resemblance to Hedy Lamarr. if you make careful comparisons of both women, ti’s clear that Inez bore only a superficial similarity to Hedy (Vivien Leigh looked much more like Hedy than Inez ever did, and yet nobody connects the two actresses).  What made her the spitting image of Hedy was the styling – the hair, the make up, everything the studio did to make the two more alike.

Yet, if Inez was smart, she could have known that look alike of major stars never fare well in Hollywood. Not a single look alike had a substantial career. They do manage to get some publicity on the account of their uncanny resemblance to the said star, but ti usually ends there. Examples: Mary Castle (lookalike for Rita Hayworth), and Marjorie Woodworth (lookalike for Jean Harlow).

Inez1Her career is a testament to this rule. While she’s not in the league of girls who were never credited and are invisible in most movies they appeared in, she’s never gained any real popularity nor artistic validation via her roles.

Inez did her beginner’s due in a bunch of uncredited roles – but the movie son that list are quite impressive! Among the better knowns are Shadow of the Thin Man, an entry in the charming Thin man series, Du Barry Was a Lady and Girl Crazy, both very good musicals. There were also undistinguished, not really interesting movies many newcomers just have to do. Married Bachelor is  a run of the mill comedy romance, Whistling in the Dark, actually a decent mystery movie with Red Skelton, Rio Rita, a Abbott and Costello anti Nazi movie, and Tarzan’s New York Adventure with the legendary Johnny Weissmuller playing Tarzan. it seems that the MGM top brass wanted a Hedy Lamarr carbon copy in many of their movies, and since the real thing was not available, they went for the second best, Inez!

Inez5Slowly but securely, Inez climbed her way out of the pit and into the hill of credited roles.

Her MGM contract expired, and she did not appear on the screen for three years, ending her exile in 1946. While taking a hiatus from Hollywood usually backfires to all expect the very popular, Inez later day career is arguably even better than her 1943 output. No longed signed my the MG,m, the studio that liked to show saccharine, cute movies with little to no doses of reality, she freelanced and definetly had more variety in movie genres and types.

Flight to Nowhere  is a very low budget, very bad potboiler which nothing much to recommend it. Luckily, Inez came to what is the absolute peek of her career – leading roles in a two series of western shorts, ‘Neath Canadian Skies and North of the Border. While both movies are forgotten today, they still remain the reason Inez is listed in books and other media related to various B class westerns of the 1930s and 1940s. Her perhaps most famous western outlet came a little while later, in Riding the California Trail, as a foil for the famous Cisco Kid.

Inez4Lady Chaser gave her another female lead role, but it’s an uninspired short (little over 50 mins) that did no services to anyone involved. Inez again took a hiatus, returning two years later, in 1949, with The Barkleys of Broadway, the last Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire movie. More mature and grimmer that their usual charming, fluffy and light fare, it’s a good “grown up” musical.

Border Treasure is another one of those B lever westerns, this time with Tim Holt. Inez’s last movie came in 1951, in Flying Leathernecks, a typical macho man John Wayne vehicle.

PRIVATE LIFE:

When one is a Hedy Lamarr look alike, publicity is plenty and so are the suitors. it’s incredible how many man flocked to her side almost the moment she put her feet down in Los Angeles.

Howard Bruno was the first one. He did not last long, and was replaced by Mark Newman, brother of the eminent director Alfred Newman . They were even engaged for a short while in July 1941. Steve Cornell came next, but mainly as a fun diversion.

Yet, by the end of the year, Inez was deeply in love with Bill Marshall, a well known charmer in the Hollywood circles who once dated the enchanting Helen Gilbert. They were a duet for a couple of months, ending the affair in early 1942. Marshall went on to marry several top actresses, Michele Morgan, Micheline Presle and Ginger Rogers.

Inez2In 1942, Inez became one of the long list of conquests of wealthy Huntington Hartford. Like many of his swains, the relationship did not lead to marriage. Not the one to be miffed, Inez started to date John Carroll, a handsome young actor. Inez was also friends with Mickey Rooney and his wife, then unknown Ava Gardner.

By 1943, it was clear to everybody that Inez was nothing more than a glamourised stock actress for MGM, her biggest merit not her acting ability but her looks. Inez became bitter towards the way MGM handled her career, and broke off with the studio not long after. Her interviews during this period show just how disenchanted she was with the whole industry. She was very much elated when Monogram gave her a chance to act in the low budget westerns – while they could not compare in terms of production values with MGM’s extravaganzas, at least she had proper roles that did not involve looking like Hedy Lamarr.

She dated Pete Rugulo in 1950. Inez ended her career in 1951, and married not long after to Fred H. Davison, Los Angeles manager of National Concert & Artists Corp. While I’m not sure this is a valid claim, I believe Inez and Fred had three children born in the 1950s – James Lloyd, born January 1, 1955, Jack W, born on June 1, 1956, and Kathleen D, born on February 17, 1959. They divorced at some point after 1960.

Elizabeth Inez Cooper died on December 1, 1993, in Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Patti McCarty

Patti4

Patti McCarty was for a short period of time Hollywood’s favorite Cinderella, the girl who rose from very humble beginning to become a potential star. And she remained just that – a potential star that never amounted to much. Despite this, her story is a valuable example of a woman that lived independently her whole life and always took care of herself, never asking nor waiting for a man (or indeed anybody else) to do it for her.

EARLY LIFE:

Patricia “Patti” McCarty was born on February 11, 1921, in Healdsburg, California. I could not find the names of her parents or what they did for a living. Healdsburg is such a diminutive city hat  only a few can locate it on the map, making Patti a small town gal.

In 1930 she was living as an inmate in Healdsburg, (inmates are people who live in either a hospital or a jail, but I have no idea what a 8 year old girl like Patti was doing in such places).

Patti went to high school in Covina, California, and studied typing and shorthand. She enrolled into Los Angeles City Colledge, but had to quit in her sophomore year due to lack of funds and went to work as a typist.

In late 1939, Patti and her boyfriend, both with a crush on the Hollywood lifestyle, went to Ciros despite the high price of drinks (75 cents a drink, quite a sum in those times) in hopes of meeting some prominent actors/actresses. The gamble paid off, and one night they met Dorothy Lamour, a huge star back then. Dorothy liked Patti right away and offered her a job as her personal secretary. It started as a part time job for a few weeks, but grew into a full time job as Patti proved to be more than capable of coping with the demands of the position.

And it was not an easy job by any means. In later years, Patti used to say how more than 100 letters came in monthly with all kinds of nutty demands – numerous men trying to marry Dorothy, asking for a lock of her hair and so on. Patti answered every and each fan mail, always typing something different and always being considerate but firm in her refusal to grant the trivial wishes.

Patti’s good looks plus her efficiency as a secretary quickly put her in the spotlight. She mingled with the Hollywood elite and as Dorothy’s personal friend, went out with her often. Dorothy actively tried to push for her to become an actress. Nothing concreete happened until she met Glenn Ford, a handsome young Columbia star. They started dating, and puff, the press gave her much more coverage than usual. This, of course, led to a movie contract in 1941.

CAREER:

In a great twist of fate, Patti’s first foray into movies was The Star Makerexactly what she got from Paramount. It’s another one of those biopic movies that shows nothing about the true character of the person it portrays – but it’s fun, nice and breezy and features Bing Crosby. Also, she was credited, not something that many girls who broke into movies based solely on their looks can say.

Patti1Under Age an early Edward Dmytryk movie, was clearly made more to shock and less to achieve artistic value, and t’s a pity a movie dealing with issues of juvenile delinquency and its aftermath (something Hollywood does not touch too much upon and prefers to avoid), melts into a sub-par movie. She Knew All the Answers and Adventure in Washington are totally forgotten movies today, in which she was uncredited. She again had no credit in Blondie in Society but at least the movie is one of the best entries of the Blondie series and worth watching today

Prairie Stranger was the third part of a western serial about Dr. Steven Monroe, and gave Patti a chance to act in a leading lady role. As per usual, low budget westerns need pretty and bland leading ladies – this one is no different. You’ll Never Get Rich is perhaps Patti’s best known film, and appearing opposite Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire (together!) is not something a large number of people can pride upon.  While not the best movie for either star, it’s a well made, solid musical with a few all time classics.

The rest of 1942 went by in a flurry of uncredited roles. The Officer and the LadyBeyond the Blue HorizonWake IslandHere We Go Again and Let’s Face It were almost like stepping stones she had to do to get to a higher level, an obligatory education to graduate. Neither movie is well remembered today, but on a positive note, she acted with her former employer, Dorothy Lamour, at last once.

Many girl never make it out of the extras bulk, but Patti had both the luck and at least talent enough to get to the next level. Starting in 1943 and all the way up to 1946, she was active as a leading lady or at least a strong support.

Patti2Two westerns of dubious quality again had her as a lead – Death Rides the Plains and Fighting Valley. While I am pretty critical to serial B westerns (I’m definitely not a fan, but that’s just me), it’s impossible to deny that they have a solid group of fans today and these roles may be the reason at least somebody knows of Patti in the 21st century. Pretty soon, Patti profiled herself as a western heroine, and made several movies, parts of highly “prestigious” serialsDevil Riders (Billy the Kid), Fuzzy Settles DownGunsmoke MesaGangsters of the FrontierRustlers’ HideoutTerrors on HorsebackOverland Riders and Outlaws of the Plains. If nothing else, Patti was quite busy and undoubtedly achieved some recognition, a much better alternative to being an extra in A class productions.

In between her bread and butter western roles, she appeared in various other B class movies usual for the period – mostly horrors. Isle of Forgotten Sins is an older the top Edgar J. Ulmer mosh, but still quite watchable, if only for the great female cast (Gale Sondergaard and Veda Ann Borg).  Bluebeard is a proper horror thriller, not a master piece by a long shot but not the worst movie you could find either.

Patti cut her career in 1946, right after the war – I am quite unsure why, as she was still appearing as a lead in B westerns and could have pushed for at least a few more years in that line of work. I guess she had her reasons.

PRIVATE LIFE:

Patti was quite popular in the early 1940s, first due to her position as secretary to a mega star, and then as an actress. When she went on her very first public relations tour, she came with with 5 marriage proposals and one adoption offer! Her Cinderella story was endlessly repeated in the papers and a great future was predicted for her in 1941. She failed to reach that potential, but she did enjoy a period of “fame” as we can call it.

In 1940, she dated Preston Foster, who used to date Dorothy (what a weird love triangle: boss, ex-boyfriend, secretary).

Patti’s only premier beau during this time was Glenn Ford. They dated, on off, from 1940 until early 1943. In the meantime, there was no shortage of willing escorts: the all American boy, Tom Harmon, took her out several time sin the summer of 1941, and so did the publisher Walter Hutshut. During her peak years in Hollywood, Patti stayed surprisingly grounded and never forgot her rough childhood and where she came from – she and Blake Carter  pooled funds in August 1941 and hired a drama coach for a Los Angeles charity school where pupils were trying to stage a play.

Patti5Patti lasted as an actress until 1946, but then saw the writing on the wall and decided to change careers. She moved to Honolulu, Hawaii and started a new life far away from the spotlight. Going back to her roots, Patti found work as a receptionist and juggled between 27 doctors.

In 1957, Patti came back for a brief visit to the States, and her presence in Los Angeles was even noted in the papers! This was the last time we find any information about her. In the 1960s and 1970s,  her days of fame long gone, she lived a quiet life on the beautiful island.

Despite her short burst of popularity and good looks that made her highly sought after, Patti never married (or I could not find any proof otherwise – but I know for sure she died unmarried).

Patricia McCarty died on July 7, 1985 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Patti Brill

PattiBrill1

Cute and spirited Patti Brill was a ball of energy severely underused by her studio, RKO, and instead of becoming another Betty Hutton (both were the happy-go-lucky girl next door types), ended a complete unknown.

EARLY LIFE:

Patricia Eloise Brilhante was born on March 8, 1923 in San Francisco, California, to Manuel P. Brilhante and Warrena Owen Caldwell. 

Her parents married in Alameda, California in 1921. Little is known about Patti’s childhood, except that her parents divorced at some point, that she grew up in San Francisco, California, and attended high school there. She had her first taste of Hollywood in 1929, when she appeared in The Vagabond Lover, but her mother wanted her to finish school before going into acting full time. Following her advice, she started her career in earnest in 1942 at the age of 19.

CAREER:

Patti’s filmography is a mixed bag of credited and uncredited performances, depending on the period.

For the first two years, she was uncredited in all of her appearances.  She started very nicely by appearing in the Nelson Eddy/Jeannette McDonald movie, I Married an Angel, but from then on stay on the low budget tier. They were mostly inconsequential comedies made by the dozen in the early 1940s, often parts of movie franchises: The Falcon Strikes BackGildersleeve’s Bad DayPetticoat LarcenyMexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event and The Adventures of a Rookie 

Patti Brill2Suddenly, Patti changed lanes completely and got her chance in a few serious, even grim movies. The Fallen Sparrow distantly dealt with concentration camps and directly with crime, and, as it is the case with most movies starring John Garfield, hasn’t got a funny bone in its stark body. The Seventh Victim is a very good, chilly Val Lewton horror starring Kim Hunter. Gangway for Tomorrow was a socially conscious movie, as was Government Girl, directly dealing with a then burning problem of war industries. This was actually quite expected – WW2 was raging, and Hollywood turned to war movies of all kinds – not just those featuring soldiers and combat, but how the ordinary people back home react to it. Tender Comrade, a Ginger Rogers vehicle, was one such movie, a small gem about housing conditions during the wartime.

Yet, on the flip side, people always wanted to see comedies, especially when rela life was that grim – Seven Days Ashore and  were just such fluffy, cute movies to divert attention from more pressing matters. Them, finally, Patti got billing! It was in 1944, and the movie was Music in Manhattan, a thin but ultimately passable musical. Girl Rush again had her in the credited supporting bunch, but the movie was a sub par comedy. She was next in a Leon Errol short, He Forgot to Remember.

For unknown reasons, Patti again fell into the uncredted tier for a time. She was uncredited in all of her Falcon movies (The Falcon in HollywoodThe Falcon Out West and The Falcon and the Co-eds), and in a few small productions – Nevada, a forgotten western and What a Blonde a decent but in the end undistinguished Leon Errol comedy. The Enchanted Cottage, gave her a role, albeit uncredited, in a superb film, and remains the best film she has ever appeared in. A wonderfully touching, melancholic story about forgivance, true love, and the quest for future, it gave its stars, Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young,  a chance to truly shine, something to rare in Hollywood except for the few chosen ones.

PattiBrill

Unfortunately, the rest of her filmography lags after The Enchanted Cottage: Sing Your Way Home and Pan-Americana are musicals of dubious quality. Live Wires  was a bit better, as a comedy with a strong dose of reality poured in it – Hard Boiled Mahoney is, as one can guess from the title, a silly but amusing romp. Kilroy Was Here and Incident, her last two movies, are hardy remembered today.  

Patti did a short foray into TV, appearing in Let There Be Stars in 1949 and then taking a long hiatus until 1960, when she made her last ever appearance in The Donna Reed Show

PRIVATE LIFE:

Patti married quite young, on February 14, 1943, aged 19, to William Harold Knight, in California. Knight was born in 1917 in Texas as one of four children of Jesse Knight and Harriett Smith. In the mid 1930s he moved to California to further his dancing career. There he married  Dortha Alice Archer in 1937, and their son Hal Knight was born in 1939. They divorced in cca. 1941. Since neither William nor Patti were famous by that time, nothing is known about the marriage, except that they did not have any children and divorced sometime prior to 1950.

Patti was one of the 1940’s girl that ushered the girl-next-door persona, next to Betty Hutton, Debbie Reynolds and Jane Powell. Neither of the girls mentioned was drop dead stunning or conventional beauties, but their perky style and bubbly, pert attitude combined with cute faces and nimble bodies made them a hit with the public. Patti was well known for wearing colorful and youthful clothes and often posed for fashion columns.

Patti Brill3Patti married for the second time to Hugo Edward Fredlund on Setpember 24, 1950. Fredlung was born on September 24, 1923 in Illinois to Swedish immigrants, Hugo and Ethel Fredlund. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 or 1943. By 1950 he was a WW2 veteran who was hit by a stray German bullet just weeks before Victory day, paralyzed from the waist down as a result, necessitating the use of a wheelchair. Since Patti worked extensively with WW2 veterans both during and after the war, it was not unusual for her to bond with a man such as Hugo. The pairing got some newspaper coverage, with Patti claiming that she does not care that her husband was a paraplegic and that she loved him deeply.

Patti continued her work with veterans with a new vigor after the marriage, and was often featured in the papers with paraplegic patients. Unfortunately, the marriage failed sometime in the early 1950s. Hugo went on to marry twice more, to Betty, whom he divorced in 1968, and Marian, whom he married in 1969 and divorced in 1974. He died in 1993 in California.

Patti married for the third time to Max Egbert Albright in 1956. Max was born on June 10, 1923 to Ned Egbert Albright and Jane Garland, their second child after daughter Rebecca. Ned was killed in an automobile accident in 1938. Unfortunately, he would not be the only one from his family to die young.

Max died on February 23, 1959 in California. The widowed Patti married her fourth husband, Mr. Osborne, in about 1961. They remained married until her death.

Patti Albright Osborne died on January 18, 1963 from cancer in North Hollywood, California.