Carole Gallagher

CaroleGallagher2

Hello! I decided that January and February will be the Yank Cover girls month. I have already profiled several of them before (Diana Mumby, Juanita Stark, so on), some of the cover girls were major stars (Ingrid Bergman, Gene Tierney… ) so they aren’t interesting from an “obscure actress” standpoint, some are already profiled on other sites – and now come the lesser known starlets that are barely mentioned today. Carole Gallagher’s biggest claim to fame is definitely her marriage to the handsome cowboy actor Dick Foran, but who was the woman behind the facade? Let us find out!

EARLY LIFE

Carole Gallagher was born on February 24, 1923 in San Francisco, California to Lasher Barrington Gallagher and Carole Arlene Grogg. Her younger brother Ryan Russell was born on September 30, 1927. Another brother, Lasher Barrington Jr., was born on November 28,1928 and died the same year. Her younger sister Jacqueline Dolores was born on July 13, 1932.

Her father, Lasher Barrington Gallagher was born in San Francisco on March 11, 1895 to Robert Ferral Gallagher and Edith Barrington McTarnahan. Robert Ferral, the member of the large and influental Gallagher family that came to San Francisco from Pennsylvania in the 1850s, owned Gallagher – Marsh Business School in San Francisco. Lasher studied to be a lawyer and married to Viola Van Daalen in Dec., 1914. They divorced several years later. He had one brother, Leland, who was killed in an auto accident with his mother in June, 1916.
Lasher moved to Los Angeles around 1918. It is possible that he had a falling out with his father who remarried a teacher at his school less than a year and half after his mother’s death. In Los Angeles he married Carole and started a family with her.

Carole Jr. and her siblings grew up in an affluent environment in Santa Monica and she wanted to be an actress from early childhood. After graduation from high school she left for Hollywood, attended a drama school and was soon noticed by talent scout who signed her with MGM.

CAREER

Carole was signed by MGM in 1942 and started her career as a cutie in uncredited roles. Gangway for Tomorrow is a dated propaganda piece. We see the stories of five people working in a defense plant – how they got there, how they feel about their work and so on. It made lots of sense when it was made in 1943, but it’s hardy worth watching today. Carole then played one of the pretty, bouncy co-eds in The Falcon and the Co-eds. We all know what the Falcon movies are – a cheap man’s Saint, with George Sanders’s less charismatic brother, Tom Conway, in the lead (and boy, you couldn’t be more charismatic than George!).

CaroleGallagher1Carole’s movies got better with Girl Crazy, a Mickey Rooney movie made durign the height of his fame. As you can well imagine, acting in a Mickey Rooney movie meant something back then, even if you were nothing but a chorus girl. Anyway, it’s a great 1940s musical with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, the best of the genre from that time. MGM was yet to become a musical dream factory (it peaked in the 1950s) but this truly is the predecessor of the big kahuna. Thin plot, but endlessly entertaining, endearing and almost magical. Carole’s last movie under her contract was her only credited one, The Falcon Out West. It’s another Falcon movie, what more do I need to say? Typical murder mystery and so on. What goes for this movie is the impressive supporting cast – Lyle Talbot, Barbara Hale, Edward Gargan! Carole then terminated her contract to get married and raise a family. Like it often happens in Tinsel Town, it didn’t work, and she was back to the sound stage by 1947.

The movie was Hit Parade of 1947, and she played the girl in a mink coat (wanna bet she was uncredited 😛 ?). The formula for the something of (Some Year) – Follies of 1937, Big Broadcast of 1936 and so on is well-known – no story, just loads of musical numbers. This one is no different. Carole was cast next in Secret Service Investigator, a very, very low-budget crime story, with Lloyd Bridges and Lynne Roberts in the leads. The dialogue is fast and so is the action, but the sets and minimal and te overall impression is crummy. Carole was finally credited in The Denver Kid, but guess what (oh yes!) it’s a Z class Allan Lane western. Don’t ask me about the plot please (as the plot is more or less irrelevant in these kind of movies) As I said about a 100 of times, actresses should ask themselves, when they come to this point, is it really worth it? It seems that Carole really was asking herself this question by now…

CaroleGallagher3She was back in the uncredited tier in Homicide for Three, a really dumb, dull movie. The ridiculous story concerns with a young couple trying to find a hotel room, and when they finally do (after hours of fruitless searching), a murder occurs in that very room. Yawning already? And the two dim wits think they can solve the murder and instead of calling the police, they start to play Nick and Nora Charles… Ah, a total waste of time. Audrey Long as the female lead is endearing, but she’s far from the reason to watch it.

Blondie’s Secret is the 24th movie in the Blondie series, and it’s always the same old, same old. Only worth watching for Penny Singleton if nothing else. Carole made her swan song in Sands of Iwo Jima, a pretty good WW2 movie. John Wayne gives a very fine portrayal of a tough Sargent ruling his men with an iron fist – but battling his own demons at the same time (a portrayal that launched a hundreds of similar characters in movies). John Agar is less effective as the young rebel who wants to sit on his throne (Agar was never a strong actor in my book). It’s not historically nor battle correct, but it’s a powerful, moving movie that’s hard to forget. If only Carole could have appeared in more such movie,s maybe her career could have actually taken of… But sadly, this was the last we see from Carole, and she completely falls of the publicity radar from then on.

PRIVATE LIFE

In 1940, Carole consoled Greg Bautzer after Lana Turner ran off with Artie Shaw (let’s not forget that Greg dated Joan Crawford at the same time…). By November, she was engaged to John Shelton – they celebrated in the Ciros nightclub and they had her mother’s approval. That turned out to be one big fat zero, as Shelton married Kathryn Grayson just a year later (and he managed to sandwich Lupe Velez in between! Boy was that Shelton something, ey?).

In mid 1942, Carole started dating Dick Foran, the handsome red-haired actor. The relationship quickly caught fire and they became inseparable. Foran was born John Nicholas Foran on June 18, 1910, in Flemington, New Jersey, on to a distinguished family: his father, Arthur Foran, was a Republican senator from New Jersey. He attended Princeton and started his career as a radio singer in the early 1930s. He was signed by Warner Bros in 1935, and played either supporting parts in big pictures and was the resident cowboy crooner. Foran was married once before, to socialite Ruth Piper Hollingsworths, and their 1940 divorce was a messy affair constantly dragged in the newspapers. They had two children: John Michael Foran (born May 29, 1938) and Patrick Foran (born on July 22, 1939).

The couple married on January 1, 1943, in Flemington, New Jersey home of Dick’s parents, and went to live in Hollywood. Their son Sean was born on February 14, 1944. However, the marriage was turbulent and they separated in September 1944, with Carole signing the divorce papers not long after.

CaroleGallagher4Howard Hughes wasted not a moment in courting Carole even before her marriage was irrevocably over. Howard had a “thing” for recently divorce, emotionally vulnerable women, and Carole was in the perfect spot for Howie back then…

In November, Carole got 200$ a month for herself and her baby boy. The couple tried reconciliation a few time during these long month, but always they ended up on the same spot they started – separation. Foran allegedly took the split extra hard, and carried a king-sized torch for Carole. They finally divorced in May 1945, after Carole testified that he humiliated her in front of other people, saying she was stupid, and that he struck her once during an argument. By the time the final divorce decree was given, Carole was dating another screen cowboy, Craig Lawrence. She also had a fling with Willis Hunt Jr, handsome playboy married in the past to Carole Landis. Dick went on to marry once more, to Susanne Rosser in 1951, and had another son, Thomas Foran on December 11, 1968. He died on August 10, 1979 in Panorama City, California.

Carole married her second husband Jimmie Ferrrara on November 27, 1946. Ferrara was born on May 11, 1920, in New York City to Soloadose Ferrara and Laura Settimo. He worked as a bit actor in Hollywood, appearing opposite some major stars – Humphey Bogart, Roy Rogers, Bill Elliot, although I can’t find his IMDB page. He dated Rita Hayworth for a while and they remained friends afterwards, and Rita even once snuck a bottle of bourbon into his jail cell after he got thrown in the brig for hitting an officer. He was also on friendly terms with Jane Russell. He was already married once before, to chorine Kathleen Corrinne Cartmill, in 1942, whom he divorced in 1944 or 1945.

With Jimmie’s approval, Carole tried to revive her career, but she never managed to make a role of any importance. Jimmie and Carole divorced in the early 1950s, and he married Margaret May Bartlett in 1954. His last marriage was to Delma Lee Collier in 1981. He was murdered on September 19, 1985 in Nevada – his wife, unhappy in their marriage, asked her lover, Rick Kosterow, and his friend, Donald White, to help her kill her husband. They ambushed Jimmie (after he came home from a vacation in Nevada) and shot him four times in the upper torso and face. The case was left unsolved for 22 years until 2006, when all three were trialed and sentenced. Delma Lee Troy (who remarried in the meantime) died in prison in 2015.

Carole married her third husband, ? McQuillan, in the late 1950s. Unfortunately, I could not find any information about the marriage, nor who the mysterious Mr. McQuillan was. The divorced sometime before 1964.

Carole married Leroy Vincent McPeek on October 11, 1964, in Nevada. McPeek was born on April 24, 1914 in Stanley, South Dakota to Clarence McPeek and Margaret Collins. He served his country in WW2.

Carole McPeek died on February 24, 1966 in Los Angeles, California.

Her widower Leroy McPeek died on May 21, 1967 in Lompoc, Los Angeles, California.

 

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7 responses

  1. I just saw a true crime type show on YouTube about the murder of Jimmie Ferrara. Very interesting story! One of the murderers [as you mentioned, the case was not solved till twenty years later] was about to be shipped out to Iraq, i believe was actually about to get on a plane and had his gear and weapons on him, and was then pulled away and questioned about the murder — and he confessed….

  2. Thank you for this detailed account of Ms. Gallagher’s life and career. I found your post after watching “The Saint out West” last night, and searched for who this actress was. She had a good-sized role in that. It is a shame her career never progressed after that, and seemed to revert to uncredited small roles. I agree with your comment that there must be a point where a performer wonders if it is worth trying any longer.

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