Beautiful college educated girl who landed in Hollywood in the early 1940s because of a beauty pageant, Annelle had a potentially rough road in front of her, with no acting background nor theatrical experience. However, she had some powerful men to protegee her. Unfortunately, she chose to get married and raise a family. A short-lived revival of her career was in the cards in the early 1960s, but let’s learn more about her first!
Elizabeth Annelle Hayes was born on November 13, 1924 in Tupelo, Mississippi, to James Palmer Hayes and Elizabeth Davis. Her younger siblings were Alligene, born in 1930, and James, born on December 29, 1931. Her father owned and operated a wholesale shoe company.
The family lived for a short time in Tupelo, then moved to Tyler, Texas. Annelle grew up in Tyler and attended elementary school there, then the family moved to Dallas, where she graduated from high school. Annelle then enrolled into the University of Texas at Austin.
How Annelle landed in Hollywood is a funny story in itself, and totally in the madcap Tinsel town style. One day, Annelle won a beauty contest at the University of Texas. Paramount immediately contacted her and brought her to Hollywood for a screen test. The test failed to satisfy studio bosses, so Annelle was sent back to Texas. Two days later, before she had finished unpacking her bags, a Warner Bros, scout paid her a visit and signed her to contract. She became the protegee of the legendary filmmaker, Howard Hawks, who put her under contract at 20th Century Fox Studios, Los Angeles. She was now in Hollywood again, and her career started!
Annelle appeared in only three movies during her strangely stretched out career.
George White’s Scandals For ambitious chorus girls who wanted to taste the movie life, George White’s movies were paradise. A man well known for his taste in women, and, much like Busby Berkeley, George White made lavish musicals featuring a large number of dancers. Also like Berkeley, his movies had a paper thin plot, the lead was normally a Mary Sue and characters were mostly one dimensional. The above mentioned movie is no different, it’s pure escapist fare you watch once and forget soon after.
The funny thing is that while this is a George White movie, White himself is extraneous to this story which concerns two backstage plots. White’s number one assistant Philip Terry falls for Martha Holiday, whose mother, back in the day, was chorus girl in the Scandals but who married English nobility and retired. Now Holiday is trying chorusing out but lets no one know, including Terry. Holiday also has Jane Greer as a rival who is pretty ruthless about getting her way.
The best part of the movie is a love story, but not the main love story. Here is another review from IMDB:
Where it is very funny (and very worth watching) is for the teaming of Joan Davis and Jack Haley as musical revue comics who have to deal with the fact that Haley’s spinster sister (the wonderful Margaret Hamilton) does not approve of her brother being in show business and is determined to keep Davis from marrying him no matter what. Davis and Haley are perfectly matched, and of course it is a delight to see Hamilton playing sister to her “Wizard of Oz” co-star (Haley).
Yes, the movie is a funny and amusing farce when Haley/Davis are on the screen, and it becomes a mush, a bland exercise in romance when Martha and Phillip Terry. On other words, mostly boriiing but watchable for the lavish dance scenes and Haley/Davis.
Her second movie was Deadline at Dawn, a film noir. Now this is a movie that can always surprise you – small budget, but plenty of talented people who know their job, and we have some movie magic! The backbone of the movie is definitely the Harold Curlman/Clifford Odets combo of director and screenwriter. And then we have a wave of B actors who all do their jobs nicely – Bill Williams, Paul Lukas, Osa Massen, Lola Lane. And of course, the redheaded queen of Hollywood, Susan Hayward herself! The story is both straightforward and simple yet a portal to many burning social problems (typical for Odets) – When a woman he meets is murdered, a soon-to-ship-out sailor has until dawn to find the killer, aided by a weary dance hall girl. Odets gives us a glimpse of all kinds of people who lives on the fringes of society, around the docks, and snaps quite a strong socially conscious moment.
Annelle took time of to raise a family, and only returned back to acting in 1960, and then she mostly did TV work. But there was one more movie. Yes, it was the case the best for last – Annelle appeared in a A budget western, Two Rode Together!, making it by far the most high profile movie Annelle made. Just look at the cast – James Stewart, Richard Widmark, Shirley Jones, Linda Cristal! The story, in a nutshell (taken from IMDB): Desperate relatives spend years searching for their loved beings abducted by Indians in this lengthy Western . The US Army is under pressure from the families of white captives of the Comanches . A Texas marshal, Guthrie McCabe (James Stewart), is persuaded by an army lieutenant (Richard Widmark) and a Major (John McIntire) to negotiate with the Comanches to secure their rescue and for the return of captives . But the expedition results to be a flop. However, just two prisoners are released ; their reintegration into community proves to be highly difficult , and complications , problems ensue. Yep, this is a mature western dealing with more than gun fights, and it sounds interesting, and it’s brilliant seeing Stewart playing a morally ambiguous character.
That was it from Annelle!
Annelle was the protegee of Howard Hawks, the famous director, but sadly it seems that the connection didn’t do anything particular for her career, and soon Hawks was looking for new protegees and Annelle was quitting movies! It is open for debate whatever they were romantically involved, since Howard Hawks wasn’t Howard Hughes and didn’t try to get every girl he signed a contract with into bed.
Annelle had a passionate and turbulent relationship with actor Mark Stevens. They met in 1944 after Annelle saw and liked his picture on a publicity office wall, and probably tried to get in touch with him. They dated only briefly before they got engaged, but had a major problem in trying to find somewhere to live (as it was the WW2 house shortage at that time) – as they told friends, had been planning to marry, and will as soon as they find an apartment. Then, it was decided that the date would be in July 1945, but they married hastily in January 1945 when a first vacant apartment was ready!
Now something about Stevens. He was born on December 13, 1916, in Cleveland, Ohio, of Irish extraction. A rebellious youth, he grew up in England and Canada, and was expelled from several schools before finding his niche as a radio singer first in Ohio, then in California. He was soon noted by Hollywood, and signed to a contract in 1943, playing bit roles. His star was rising just as he married Annelle – pretty soon, he would play opposite such stars like Lucille Ball and Olivia de Havilland. Here is a short article about him during that time:
Mark, a Cleveland, Ohio, boy, was under contract to Warner Bros, for a year, playing everything from an extra in The Doughgirls” to the lead in a B western, Roaring Guns,” but when the good roles came around, he missed all of them. Hollywood is a daffy place,” he says. For two years I wasn’t right for anything. Now I seem to be right for everything.” When he first landed in Hollywood, after six years in radio as actor and announcer, he was so broke he tried to get a Job in a war plant But a trio of agents, Charley and Nat Gold-stone and Herb Tobias, had faith in him. They loaned him money for clothes, bought him a car.. Now their investment is paying big dividends. Hes married to a Texas beauty, Annelle Hayes. He has naturally curly hair, but hates it. After one attempt with a decurling fluid which took his hair along with the curl, he lets a studio hairdresser straighten It out every morning with an iron. ‘
The Stevens had two children: Mark Richard, born on September 30, 1946, and Arrelle Elizabeth, born on November 1, 1951. However, the marriage was anything but smooth – they separated for the first time in 1947, when Mark Richard was just 9 months old. Mark said to the papers that “We had a fight Sunday nigh. It’s a ease of absolute incompatibility”
Anelle asked for a court order to prevent the actor from disposing of community property valued at about $100,000 and support for their son, Mark, jr. During this nasty spat, Mark wasted no time in finding female company, and dated Hedy Lamarr. They were seen golfing together during a hot Lake Tahoe vacation, and was seen by the press greeting her affectionately when she returned by plane. After Hedy, he got mixed up with Rita Hayworth, too. That all ended, and Annelle and Mark reconciled after a few months spat time, but not after some major drama and even more drama. Annelle gave up her career afterwards to raise their children, and didn’t act for more than 10 years.
Mark’s career, on the other hand, sagged in the early 1950s. He left Paramount and signed with Allied Artists, often playing bland male love interest to a bigger female star (Rhonda Fleming, Ann Blyth). He switched to TV in the mid 1950s, and only occasionally made a movie appearance. Always a restless spirit, Mark moved to Europe in the late 1950s and spent a decade operating a restaurant in Spain, thus he and Annelle were de facto separated. Here is what a contemporary gossip columnist had written about Mark:
Mark Stevens has been living here for three years and has written two books. He tells me his is a quiet existence and he’ hasn’t spoken English for two years. He gets on a slow boat to Los Angeles, a seven week voyage, then goes on to Mexico I to write another book. He told I me something of the plot of his latest which sounds exciting.
I think it was Annelle who pulled the plug, for good, in June 1961. Mark’s rather nomadic existence didn’t help matters at all, and he was declared bankrupt not long after the divorce.
Why did Annelle finally divorce Mark, after all that years of drama and ups and downs? Well, because there was another man she wanted to marry, and marry she did!
On November 25, 1961, Annelle married William Paul Warwick, vice president In charge of special programs for an important TV company. Earlier that same year, Warwick flew to Juarez, Mexico, and secured a divorce from his long estranged wife. They were married when his family flew out here to attend the ceremony. Warwick was born in 1925, the son of H. P. Warwick, of Warwick and Legler, one of New York’s top advertising agencies. He grew up in affluence in New York. He was married in 1951 to Eloise Mc Elhone They had two children: Christine and Carole Warwick. Here is a short article about the family business, Warwick and Legler, taken from William’s brother John obituary:
John dedicated 42 years of his life building one of New York’s most prominent advertising agencies that was originally started under the name, Warwick & Legler in 1939. The name was later changed to Warwick Advertising, and finally, Warwick, Baker, O’Neill. John served as Chairman and CEO for 33 years and retired in 1991. With over 250 employees at their height in their New York City office, and 75 in their European offices, Warwick became an internationally recognized agency with offices in Paris, London, Frankfurt & Brussels. “Warwick Advertising” as it was commonly known, was considered a creative pioneer and, under John’s stewardship, was responsible for many highly successful and noteworthy advertising campaigns. Some of the agency’s clients included, Timex, Seagram’s, Revlon, Pfizer, Mennen, Bausch & Lomb, Benjamin Moore, US Tobacco, Fruit of the Loom, Burlington Industries, Schering-Plough, Air Canada, Schaefer, Heineken and Amstel Light beers, Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Sterling Drug. Warwick Advertising was a member of the Alliance International partnership of independent agencies that serviced clients with international needs. John also believed strongly in using the agency’s talents to engage in Pro Bono and public service work. The Joseph E. Seagram & Sons company entrusted Warwick with some of their most prized brands such as 7 Crown, VO, Extra Dry Gin, Crown Royal Whisky and others for over 46 years. Warwick Advertising also enjoyed a multi-decade relationship with United States Tobacco.
The Warwick settled in Los Angeles and enjoyed a nice and comfy life (I assume). Annelle had a knack for all things connected to beauty and style, and with the help of her husband she opened up her own interior decorating firm, Warwick Interior Design. She would head the first for over twenty five years. Noted projects included the renovation of the private boxes at the previous Yankee Stadium and residences in Paris and Caracas.
The Warwick marriage failed when Annelle met and fell hard for Richard Savitt, the noted tennis player. She divorced Warwick in the mid 1980s and got together with Savitt. The couple moved to New York and settled there permanently. They married in 1987. Her former husband Warrick died on August 2, 1991.
Dick Savitt looks like an interesting man. Here is a brief summary of Dick’s professional success as a tennis player (taken from Jewish sports web page):
In 1951, Dick Savitt won the Wimbledon Singles Championship, the Australian Singles title, and was the number one player on the United States Davis Cup Team. In his prime, Savitt was considered the greatest back-court player in the game and was ranked third in the World in 1951 by World Tennis. That year Savitt was No. 2 in the world, and in his prime was considered the greatest backcourt player in the game.
The 6’3”, 180 lb. Cornell University graduate ranked four times in the World’s Top Ten between 1951 and 1957––No. 2 in 1951; and six times in the U.S. Top Ten between 1950 and 1959––No. 2 in 1951. (Interestingly, the player ranked ahead of Savitt on the 1951 U.S. list, Vic Seixas, was ranked No. 4 in the World, two spots below Savitt on the more weighty World roster. It should also be noted that Savitt did not compete 1953-1955.)
Although at the top of his game, Savitt abruptly retired from competitive tennis after winning the 1952 U.S. National Indoor Singles Championships. Although he has never publicly discussed his sudden retirement, it was considered most likely the result of a never-explained snub by the United States Davis Cup coaching staff.
Savitt had played and won his early 1951 Cup matches en route to leading the American team into the championship round against Australia. His coaches, however, did not permit him to compete against the Aussies whom, only months earlier, he had dominated
at Wimbledon and in Australia. He had trounced Australia’s top seed Ken Mc-Gregor in three straight sets to win at Wimbledon and won the Australian Singles championship, becoming the first non-Aussie to win that title in 13 years. To the surprise of few, with Savitt not
playing singles, the United States lost the 1951 Davis Cup to Australia.
Savitt returned to the competitive tennis scene part-time in 1956, and though his limited tournament competition prevented him from receiving an official ranking, he was nonetheless considered the number one player in the United States.
Among Dick Savitt’s major victories are the 1952, 1958, and 1961 U.S. National Indoor Championships. He was the first to win that crown three times. In 1961, he won both the Singles and Doubles (with Mike Franks) Championships at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Savitt was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1976.
Dick was married once before, to Joyce H Smith, in 1960, and to Tracy Vollovick in 1982.
In Dick, Annelle had found the love of her life, and they lived a full and happy life in the Big apple.
Sadly Annelle suffered from Parkinson’s disease in her last years,but was cared with much love by her husband and children.
Annelle Warwick Savitt died at her home on March 25, 2013, in New York City, New York.