In The Spotlight Redux

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

Post Reply
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

In The Spotlight Redux

Post by mongoII »

In the Spolight: Maria Montez
Image
Maria Montez was the stage name of María África Gracia Vidal. Born on June 6, 1912 in Barahona, Dominican Republic, Maria was the second daughter of 10 children. For her stage name, Maria chose the last name of Montez in honor of dancer Lola Montes, a favorite of Maria's father.
At a young age, she taught herself to speak English, and in 1932 she married William McFeeters, an American banker working in her seaside home town of Barahona.

Her marriage lasted several years but in 1939 she ended up in New York City where her exotic looks landed her a job as a model.
Determined to become a stage actress, she hired an agent and created a résumé that made her several years younger by listing her birth as 1917 in some instances and 1918 in others. Eventually she accepted an offer from Universal Pictures, making her film debut in a Johnny Mack Brown B western.

Her exotic looks soon made her the centerpiece of Universal's Technicolor costume fantasies (such as "Arabian Nights" and "Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves"). Her screen image was that of a hot-blooded Latin seductress, dressed in fanciful costumes and sparking jewels. She became so identified with these adventure epics that she became known as "The Queen of Technicolor." Over her career, Maria Montez appeared in 26 films, 21 of which were made in North America and five in Europe.

Her films also include, "That Night in Rio" in which she danced a contagious rumba, displaying her beautiful red hair, proving she looked stunning in color, "South of Tahiti", "Mystery of Marie Roget","White Savage", "Gypsy Wildcat", "Sudan", "Siren of Atlantis", etc.
She co-starred in 6 films with the dashing Jon Hall.

While working in Hollywood, she met and married French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont, who had to leave a few days after their wedding to serve in the Free French Forces fighting against Nazi Germany in World War II.
At the end the War, the couple had a daughter, Maria Christina (also known as Tina Aumont), born in Hollywood in 1946. They then moved to a home in Suresnes, Île-de-France in the eastern suburb of Paris under the French Fourth Republic. There, Maria Montez appeared in several films and a play written by her husband. She also wrote three books, two of which were published, as well as penning a number of poems.
In those days, Jean Pierre Aumont, her husband said about her: "Maria Montez has a dual personality: one for Hollywood and another as a mother and a wife... that woman is full of simplicity, culture and romance with an overflowing humanity."

The 39-year-old Montez died on September 7th 1951 while she was taking a bath in her house in Sureness, Paris. Her sisters found her drowned in the bathtub.
According to the doctors, her accident could have been prompted by 2 different reasons:

1) She had a heart attack due to the shock produced by contact with the hot water (45 Celsius degrees).

2) The hot water made her faint and she drowned. There was no autopsy so the real reason of her death is unknown.
She was buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris where her tombstone dispays her theatrical year of birth 1918.

Much loved by the people of the Dominican Republic, in her birthplace of Barahona the city changed the name of an existing street to that bearing her name. Her legacy as the only great star from that country remains, and in 1996 the Aeropuerto Internacional María Montez (Maria Montez International Airport) began service in Barahona.

But it is as a camp heroine that Montez may best be remembered by contemporary audiences world-wide, and particularly in the dual role of Tollea/Naja in "Cobra Woman" a camp classic. Her line, "Give me that Cobra Jewel" is cited and quoted regularly within the gay community, and an image of Montez in this film can be found on the cover of the latest paperback edition of Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge.

Quoted: "When I look at myself, I am so beautiful I scream with joy!" (on viewing Arabian Nights (1942).
User avatar
moira finnie
Administrator
Posts: 8176
Joined: April 9th, 2007, 6:34 pm
Location: Earth
Contact:

A little more on Montez, Aumont and famille...

Post by moira finnie »

Hi Joe,
Thanks so much for reproducing your Maria Montez profile here!
I once saw Jean-Pierre Aumont on the old Joe Franklin Show on WOR in NYC, ( when I was a teenager and only knew Aumont from Truffaut's Day for Night and had never heard of Ms. Montez, much less the gnome-like but interesting, in an odd way, Mr. Franklin).

I remember that Aumont explained that his wife had been dieting strenously immediately prior to her sudden death, eating very little and taking hot baths regularly to try to get down to her 'fighting weight' before appearing in a movie. He believed that her death was due to a heart arrhythmia caused by the strain on the woman's system. Sadly, Tina Aumont, the daughter of Jean-Pierre and Montez who was an occasional actress and longtime wife of French actor Christian Marquand, died of an embolism just last year at 60, so perhaps there was a genetic predilection to circulatory problems...

I believe that when done squiring several beauties, Jean-Pierre Aumont went on to marry Marisa Pavan, the twin sister of the more well known delicate beauty, Pier Angeli. Pavan and he remained together until his death a few years ago.

If you'd like some guidance adding pictures to your profile, you might try checking out the guidelines here or you could contact Pktrekgirl for better step by step instructions than I can probably give you.
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

Moira, thanks for the additional info regarding Jean-Pierre Aumont. He certainly went on to live a full life.

And hanks again for the guidance to post pictures. I hope to get it down pat in the near future.
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

In the Spotlight: Aldo Ray
Image
An Italian-American he was born Aldo DaRe September 25, 1926 in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 as a frogman on an underwater demolition team, and saw action at Okinawa. Ray also studied at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ray's husky frame, thick neck and raspy voice made him perfect for playing tough sexy roles. He was one of the reminiscing lovers in George Cukor's "The Marrying Kind" (1951) In preparation for this major role director George Cukor recommended that he went to ballet school because he walked too much like a football player.
He starred opposite Rita Hayworth in "Miss Sadie Thompson" (1953). Ray was the none-too-bright boxer in Cukor's "Pat and Mike"( Golden Globe nominee as Most Promising Newcomer) and an escaped convict with Humphrey Bogart and Peter Ustinov in Michael Curtiz's "We're No Angels" (1955). This film part contrasted with many of Ray's later roles as a mean tough guy.
His films also include, "Batle Cry", "Nightfall", "Men in War", "The Naked and the Dead", "God's Little Acre", "Johnny Nobody", "Sylvia", "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?", "Riot on Sunset Strip", "The Green Berets", "Sweet Savage" (rated X), etc.
He also appeared on numerous television dramas.

His career started to go downhill in the 1970s and he made a string of low-budget films as a character actor. His last film was "Shock 'Em Dead" (1990).

Ray was married three times, with two sons with his first wife, Johanna Ray, one of whom is the actor Eric DaRe. Aldo Ray was later briefly married to actress Jeff Donnell and after their divorce he married Shirley Green on 20 June 1947. Their daughter Claire was born in 1951.

He developed throat cancer in his later years and remained in Crockett, California with his mother and family and friends, where he died on 27 March 1991 at age 64.
He was cremated and buried from St. Rose Catholic Church in Crockett; with a majority of the residence coming out to pay their respects (it was the first time a native of this small town had become famous). He is considered Crockett's favorite son and at the small Crockett Museum his pictures can be seen along a wall of his life and times.
Vecchiolarry
Posts: 1395
Joined: May 6th, 2007, 10:15 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Aldo Ray

Post by Vecchiolarry »

Hi Joe,

I'll bet Aldo Ray would be very pleased to be featured "In the Spotlight"..
I always had the feeling that he tried so very hard and was just not appreciated the way he should be. The one movie alone, "The Marrying Kind" is so good and both Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray are superb.

I have heard that Harry Cohn was not happy to have him and treated him badly. But then, Harry treated everyone badly; although some took it worse than others.
Just to illustrate how Cohn was viewed - - Nell liked Mayer and the Warners and adored Howard Hughes and we all loved Zukor; but she always greeted Harry Cohn, "Hello Harry, you old s-h-i-t!!" or "Harry darling, who've you screwed today?"....

I think Rita Hayworth went to bat for him, when he was going to be dumped from "Miss Sadie Thompson"... Adore Rita - she had good taste!

Larry
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

Larry, it's nice to imagine that Aldo Ray would be pleased to be In the Spotlight. He certainly deserves it since he was a versatile actor and a likable guy as well.

I got a kick out of Nell's comments toward studio honcho Harry Cohn.
From IMDb: He was crude, uneducated, foul and, even on his best behavior, abrasive. No major studio executive of the so-called Golden Age was more loathed (although at times Samuel Goldwyn and Jack L. Warner came close) than Harry Cohn.
Joseph Goodheart
Vecchiolarry
Posts: 1395
Joined: May 6th, 2007, 10:15 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Post by Vecchiolarry »

Joe,

Samuel Goldwyn was pretty well liked by most, as far as I know; and his wife, Frances, was a dream.
He may have been tyrannical in business and about his movies but was a real grand gentleman in real life.

He made the best movies of anyone, I think....

Larry
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

In the Spotlight: Nina Foch
Image
Blonde, ice cool, and sophisticated actress Nina Foch has worked steadily in feature films and television since making her film debut in "Return of the Vampire" (1943).
As a contracted starlet for Columbia Pictures, Foch spent several years appearing in many B-films before she was able to prove herself ready for bigger fare.

Born Nina Consuelo Maud Fock to Dutch conductor/composer Dirk Fock and an American chorine/WWI-era pin-up girl, Foch was born in Holland. Her parents divorced while she was a toddler and she and her mother moved to New York where Nina was encouraged to indulge in her creative and artistic leanings.
Before enrolling in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to study acting, she had briefly been a concert pianist and an amateur painter.

As an actress, Foch (is pronounced like "Gosh") gained experience with local theater and touring companies until signing with Columbia Studios in 1943. In 1947, Foch made the first of many forays on Broadway.
By the early '50s, she was being cast in secondary but better roles in such films as "An American in Paris" (1951) and "Scaramouche" (1952). In 1954, Foch appeared in "Executive Suite" as executive secretary Erica Martin for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also played Bithiah in the hit spectacular "The Ten Commandments".
Other films include, "Cry of the Werewolf", "A Song to Remember", "I Love a Mystery", "My Name Is Julia Ross", "Johnny O'Clock" with Dick Powell, "The Guilt of Janet Ames", "Johnny Allegro" with George Raft, "Spartacus", etc.
She also appeared on numerous TV shows most notably as a regular in John Housman's "Playhouse 90" series.

As film roles became harder to find, Foch proved to be versatile in many areas. She was a panelist on several TV quiz shows, worked as George Stevens' assistant director for "The Diary of Anne Frank", (1959) and directed plays. Since the 1960s, she has been an acting teacher for USC and the American Film Institute.

She made a comeback in "Such Good Friends" (1971) and since then has only appeared sporadically in films as a character actress. Foch, however, has continued to work steadily in television and has become one of the most respected drama coaches in Hollywood.

Married and divorced three times, her first husband is the bearded academic and host James Lipton of "Inside the Actors Studio" fame, had a son from her second marriage, and divorced her third husband a stage producer in 1993.

Still working at age 83 she recently appeared on TVs hit series "Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service".

Miss Foch has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Vecchiolarry
Posts: 1395
Joined: May 6th, 2007, 10:15 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Post by Vecchiolarry »

Hi Joe,

Another great and worthy performer to spotlight. You seem to have the same mindset as I in your choices as to who's who and who's deserving.
I certainly don't have any qualms or reservations in the people you've picked so far.

You may be interested to know that Nina Foch was a great friend of Merle Oberon.

Larry
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

Thanks, Larry. I would imagine that Nina Foch and Merle Oberon began their friendship in 1945 when they co-starred together in "A Song to Rememeber"?
Vecchiolarry
Posts: 1395
Joined: May 6th, 2007, 10:15 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Post by Vecchiolarry »

Hi,

Yes, that's where they met. I knew it was on a movie set but couldn't remember which one.
Apparently, when Merle came onto the lot, Nina showed her around and arranged a better dressing room for her, etc. Merle never forgot the kindness and later showed Nina around Paris (took her to Dior, etc.) when Nina did "An American in Paris"....
Nina was often a guest at Galil, Merle's Acapulco villa. In fact, I was put out after a 3 day visit once, when Nina was due and Merle needed my room. Never did get to meet her. Rats!!

Larry
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

In the Spotlight: Frank Morgan
Image
The grand, jovial actor was born Francis Phillip Wuppermann on June 1, 1890 in New York City, New York. One of 11 children of a wealthy manufacturer that distributed in the US the universally-known condiment Angostura Aromatic Bitters used in drinks and cocktails.
A boy soprano in church, some of his early pre-acting jobs included selling toothbrushes, soliciting advertisements, and bronco busting

He attended Cornell University where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
He then followed his older brother Ralph Morgan into show business, first on the Broadway stage and then into movies. His first film was "The Suspect" in 1916. His career expanded when talkies began, his most stereotypical role being that of a befuddled but good-hearted middle-aged man (he appeared older than his years).
He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1934's "The Affairs of Cellini", where he played the cuckolded Duke of Florence and for Best Supporting Actor in 1942's "Tortilla Flat", where he played a simple Hispanic man.

Morgan's most famous role was in "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), where he played the carnival huckster "Professor Marvel", the door warden to the Emerald City, the driver of the carriage drawn by "The Horse of a Different Color", the armed guard leading to the wizard's hall, and the Wizard of Oz himself. Like Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West, his characters only appear on-screen for a few minutes in total, but they are show-stoppers.

He was a member of the famous "Irish mafia", even though he wasn't Irish, which also included fellow Hollywood actors James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Frank McHugh and Pat O'Brien.
He was also a boat enthusiast who participated in yacht races.

He was so popular that MGM gave him a lifetime contract.
Morgan specialized in playing courtly, sometimes eccentric or befuddled but ultimately sympathetic characters, such as the alcoholic telegraph operator in "The Human Comedy" (1943) or the shop owner in "The Shop Around the Corner" (1940).
Other films included, "The Good Fairy", "The Great Ziegfeld", "The Last of Mrs. Cheyney", "Saratoga", "Sweethearts", "The Mortal Storm", "Boom Town", "The Wild Man of Borneo", "Honky Tonk", "White Cargo", "A Stranger in Town", "The White Cliffs of Dover", "The Cockeyed Miracle", "The Great Sinner", etc. His last movie, "Key to the City", was released after his death.
He also recorded a number of children's records, including the popular Gossamer Wump, released in 1949 by Capitol Records.

Like most character actors of the studio era Frank Morgan had numerous roles in many motion pictures. One of his last roles was as a key supporting player in "The Stratton Story", a true story about a ballplayer (played by James Stewart) who makes a comeback after losing a leg in a hunting accident.

Sadly he died of a heart attack in 1949 while filming "Annie Get Your Gun" and was replaced by Louis Calhern as Buffalo Bill. He was only 59 years old.
Morgan was the one major player from "The Wizard of Oz" who did not live to see the film become both a television fixture and an American institution recognized by virtually everyone living in the United States.

The gent was married for 35 years up until his death and had one son George who died in 2003 at age 86.

He was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (where my family is resting). I have visited his grave.

The lead/character actor has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1708 Vine Street.
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

In the Spotlight: Coral Browne
Image
A superior stage and screen actress, famous for her wit.

She was born Coral Edith Brown on July 23, 1913 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, where she began her stage career.
Browne began her stage career in Melbourne but moved to England at the age of 21 and quickly brightened the West End with her sharp delivery and stylish sense of comedy. She specialized in superior, upper-crust sorts.

She began film acting in 1936, with her more famous and memorable roles being Vera Charles in "Auntie Mame" with Rosalind Russell, Mercy Croft in "The Killing of Sister George", and particularly "The Ruling Class" (1972) as the libidinous Lady Claire.
Oher films include, ""Let George Do It!", "Piccadilly Incident", "Twist of Fate" with Ginger Rogers, "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone", "Dr. Crippen", "The Night of the Generals", "The Legend of Lylah Clare" with Kim Novak, "The Drowning Pool", "Xanadu" (voice), "Dreamchild" (award winning role), etc.

She married actor Philip Pearman in 1950; he died in 1964. She also allegedly conducted affairs with Firth Shephard, Jack Buchanan, Maurice Chevalier, Michael Hordern and costume designer Cecil Beaton, as well as bisexual affairs.

In 1969 she played in the original production of Joe Orton's controversial farce "What the Butler Saw" in the West End at the Queen's Theatre in 1969 with Sir Ralph Richardson.

While touring the Soviet Union in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of "Hamlet" in 1958, she met spy Guy Burgess. This meeting became the basis for the television movie "An Englishman Abroad" (1983) (TV), for which Browne won the BAFTA Best Actress award for playing herself.

While filming "Theatre of Blood" she met actor Vincent Price and they later married on October 24, 1974.
She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1987 as a gift to Price, in exchange for which he converted to Roman Catholicism as a gift to her (she had converted many years previously).

Quoted: "I married Vincent Price very late in both our lives. It was chiefly because, even if Vincent can be a bit moody and frightening at times, loneliness is even more frightful. Without a husband, even an actress doesn't get invited out much."

She died in Los Angeles, California of breast cancer at the age of 77 on May 29, 1991. Her ashes were scattered in the Rose Garden at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood.

She was a hoot:

While visiting backstage at the National Theatre one day, Coral Browne was asked for her opinion of the set of "Oedipus Rex" which primarily consisted of an 18-foot golden phallus. "Well my dear" Coral replied, "it's no one I know!"

"I could never understand what Godfrey Tearle saw in Jill Bennett, until I saw her at the Caprice eating corn-on-the-cob."
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

Coral Browne

Memorial service 9/05/91


Coral Browne was ill during the filming of "An Englishman Abroad." She lived to receive awards for her remarkable role both in the creation of the story and her performance. At a memorial service held for her at the Farmers Church in London, a letter written by her husband, Vincent Price, was read by filmmaker John Schlesinger and is printed here.



Dear John:

WHEN I WAS courting Coral, the first gift she gave me was a photo of herself simply signed: "Remember Coral" -- not really a challenge as the problem was: how could you forget her? I've come to believe remembering someone is not the highest compliment -- it is missing them. I find I miss every hour of Coral's life -- I miss her morning cloudiness, noon mellowness, evening brightness. I miss her in every corner of our house, every crevice of my life. In missing her, I feel I'm missing much of life itself. Over her long illness, as I held her hand or stroked her brow, or just lay still beside her, it was not the affectionate contact we'd known as we wandered down the glamorous paths we'd been privileged to share in our few years together; we were marching towards the end of our time and we both knew it. But, in our looks, our smiles, the private, few, soft-spoken words, there was hope of other places, other ways, perhaps, to meet again.
One fact of Coral I'll always miss: her many, many devoted friends -- many here, today, in this beautiful church, celebrating her life more than mourning her death, and missing the liveliness of her wit, her personal beauty, her outgoing self. I love them all for loving her. Many of you have shared more of her life than I have, but that very private and intense passion for her is mine alone.
She survived that last long year on the love of her friends, their caring and concern -- and very especially yours, dear John. I miss you all, and though we may not meet as often, nor in the great good company of my wife, you are in my memory locked.

All my love,
Vincent
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

In the Spotlight: Alan Hale
Image
Alan Hale born Rufus Edward Mackahan, February 10, 1892 was an American movie actor and director, best known for his many supporting character roles, in particular as frequent sidekick of Errol Flynn (12 films together).

He was born in Washington, D.C., The son of a patent medicine manufacturer, Alan Hale chose a theatrical career at a time when boarding houses would post signs reading "No Dogs or Actors Allowed." Undaunted, Hale spent several years on stage after graduating from Philadelphia University, entering films as a slapstick comedian for Philly's Lubin Co. in 1911. Bolstering his acting income with odd jobs as a newspaperman and itinerant inventor (at one point he considered becoming an an opera singer and even a osteopath!).

Hale finally enjoyed a measure of security as a much-in-demand character actor in the 1920s, usually as hard-hearted villains.
His first film role was in the 1911 silent movie "The Cowboy and the Lady". He played "Little John" in the 1922 film "Robin Hood" with Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery, reprised the role sixteen years later in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938) with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone, then played Little John again in "Rogues of Sherwood Forest" in 1950 with Bo Derek's future husband John Derek as Robin Hood, 28 years after his initial performance in the original Fairbanks classic (this might be the longest period for any actor to appear in the same role in movie history). Other films include "Susan Lenox" with Garbo, "So Big!", "The Lost Patrol", "It Happened One Night", "Of Human Bondage", "Imitation of Life", "Our Relations" with Laurel & Hardy, the sound version of "Stella Dallas" (1937) and "High, Wide, and Handsome".

He was one of the featured members of what became known as the "Warner Brothers Stock Co.", a core of character actors and actresses who appeared in scores of Warner Bros. films of the 1930s and 1940s, including "The Sisters", "Dodge City", "Dust Be My Destiny", "The Fighting 69th", "Virginia City", "The Sea Hawk", "Santa Fe Trail", "The Strawberry Blonde", "They Drive By Night" with George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, and Humphrey Bogart; "Manpower" (1941) with Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, and George Raft, "Juke Girl", "Gentleman Jim", "Roughly Speaking", "Night and Day", "My Wild Irish Rose", and as the cantankerous Sgt. McGee in the 1943 movie "This Is the Army".
He directed eight movies during the 1920s and 1930s and acted in 235 theatrical films (according to the Internet Movie Database).

Hale's son Alan Hale, Jr. played the Skipper in "Gilligan's Island" on television, and the two blond and heavy-set actors closely resembled each other. Oddly, while the father had a long and extremely successful movie career as a supporting actor, his son might actually be seen by more people over time as the Skipper, his only major role aside from a few other television and film appearances. Hale Jr. died at age 68 in 1990.

Alan Hale died at age 57 on January 22, 1950 in Hollywood, California following a liver ailment and viral infection and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
He was married to silent screen actress Gretchen Hatman, parents of 3 children.

The hearty actor has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Post Reply