Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nancy Carroll

Christened Ann Veronica Lahiff in New York City on November 19, 1903, Nancy Carroll began her acting career in Broadway musicals.

Her first film was the silent Ladies Must Dress (1927). Between 1928 and 1929 she made thirteen films including her first talkie, Shopworn Angel, where she says only two words and is heard singing the film's theme song, and Easy Come, Easy Go (1928), co-starring Richard Dix, the film that helped make her a star. In 1930 she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Devil's Holiday. Among her other well liked films are Hot Saturday (1932) with Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, Broken Lullaby (1932) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, and The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933), directed by James Whale.

Nancy was reported to have received more fan mail than any of her Hollywood peers of the same era. However, while under contract to Paramount, Nancy earned a reputation as difficult and temperamental, usually not agreeing with the roles being offered. Consequently, in spite of her ability to successfully handle comedy, melodrama and musicals, as well as garnering considerable praise by the critics and public, she was released by the studio. She joined Columbia in the mid-thirties, but was unable to regain the momentum she had earlier in the decade.

Though I'm certainly not sure her private live shaped her aforementioned attitude, this news item that appeared in the New York Times for September 5 1935, would indicate things were far from stable on the home front.

Asks Own Divorce in Nevada From Mallory, Already Re-wed.
CARSON CITY, Nev., Sept. 5 Nancy Carroll, motion-picture star, filed suit for a Nevada divorce here today, charging the already re-married Bolton Mallory with non-support and cruelty. Apparently not completely satisfied as to the legality of the Mexican divorce obtained by Mr. Mallory prior to his recent marriage to 14-year-old Carlota Lobato in Mexico, the actress has resided on a guest ranch south of Reno for the last six weeks, determined to obtain her own divorce decree. Miss Carroll and Mr. Mallory, to whom she was married in January, 1931, have been separated for about a year and a half. Mr. Mallory, former editor of Life, started his divorce proceedings against Miss Carroll in Ometepec, State of Guerrero, Mexico. He alleged incompatibility. He met the present Mrs. Mallory about three months ago in a restaurant owned by her father.

What a charmer he was.

Nancy retired from Hollywood in 1938 after 37 films, returned to the stage, and starred in the early television series The Aldrich Family in 1950. While performing on Broadway in 1965, she was found dead of a heart attack after failing to arrive at the theater for a performance.

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1719 Vine Street.

Photoplay - September, 1929

Motion Picture Classic - April, 1930

Scene postcard from Laughter, 1930

Among the elephants.

They appeared together in five films.

Publicity still from 1928's Manhattan Cocktail.

Nancy Carroll - What do you think - Allure?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sue Carol

Sue Carol was born Evelyn Lederer in Chicago on October 30, 1906. One of the WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1928, Sue made 26 films from 1927 to 1937, a number in starring roles, but never really "hit the big time" during her acting career. Almost none of her films, half of which are silent, are available for viewing today; some are lost films and the others are in private or library hands. The one film readily available is the Amos n' Andy picture Check and Double Check(1930). If you can get past the stereotyping of the day, you can at least get a glimpse of Sue on film. Among the movies in which she appeared are Soft Cushions (1927), her first film, Girls Gone Wild (1929), and The Big Party (1930).

On the personal level, Sue went through a couple of marriages before retiring from the screen to head her own talent agency, the Sue Carol Agency. It was through the agency that she met, managed, and married Alan Ladd in 1942. With Ladd she had a daughter and a son, the successful and still active actor and producer David Ladd, and remained married to Ladd until his death in 1964.

Sue Carol has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1639 N. Vine Street. She died in 1982.

Sue in wonderful deco inspired lounging pajamas,
perfect for mandolin playing.

Sue's page in the 1930 Stars of the Photoplay book.
Read the text for a bit more information on Sue.

A publicity still from what I believe to be Soft Cushions.

Sue Carol - What do you think - Allure?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sidney Fox

Sidney Fox, born Sidney Leiffer in New York City on December 10, 1907 (though 1910 was the publicized year), for a time considered studying law, but caught the acting bug instead. She joined a Johnstown, Pennsylvania stock company where she cut her performing teeth.

Her Nov 19, 1929 Broadway debut was in It Never Rains and the New York Times called her "pretty and demure". However, her second play, Lost Sheep, which debuted on May 5, 1930, garnered this from the Times: "As Rhoda, little Sidney Fox won the hearts of the audience at once with her frail, girlish beauty and her pert spirit. Nothing could be more tenderly disarming than the freshness of her acting." And it was film mogul Carl Laemmle, Jr, in the audience of Lost Sheep, who was disarmed and brought Sidney to Hollywood.

She made her film debut in the 1931's The Bad Sister (her role) opposite Conrad Nagel, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart and Zasu Pitts. Bette (in the role of the good sister and her debut also) said over the years that Sidney got the title part because of her "relationship" with Carl. Fox was also named a Wampas Baby Star that year. 1931 also saw her in Preston Sturgess' Strictly Dishonorable where her performance was well received.

However, Sidney is best recalled, and in some cases derided, for her starring role as 'Madamoiselle Camille L'Espanaye' in the 1932's Murders in the Rue Morgue opposite Bela Lugosi. Her last of 14 film appearances would be in the 1934's Down to Their Last Yacht opposite Mary Boland, Polly Moran and Ned Sparks.

It was primarily rumors of her continuing relationship with Carl Jr. and some said even Carl senior, that blunted her career. Then after a rocky, contentious and physically abusive marriage to film writer Charles Beahan, Sidney died of an overdose of sleeping pills which may have been suicide, but was officially ruled as an accidental death, on November 14, 1942.

Cover girl for the January 1933 issue of Modern Screen.

Strictly Dishonorable, a Carl Laemmle, Jr. production.

Picture Play , March 1932

Silver Screen, January 1933

Movie Mirror, January 1933 - Inside back cover
Bonus points to anyone who can identify the actor shown in the picture - I can't.

Publicity Still

Publicity Still

Sidney Fox - What do you think - Allure?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Asides - Woof! Woof!

W.C. Fields once said, “Never work with children or animals." I guess it's fine to pose with them though, as these cards attest. Not sure if these were actual pets or merely props.

Marion Davies and friend

The dog for lounging around.

The dog for taking a walk and feeling safe.

Brigitte and friend leaving the florist.

A quiet day in the park.

This card is the only one I have seen from a series entitled Film Stars and Their Pets. Therefore there must be more and I guess this is actually her pet.

This is the back of the Miriam's card and it provides a short bio.

The August 20, 1934 text on the card is:
Miss J. Stapley, Butts Villa, Wisborough Green, Billingshurst, Sussex
Chatham, Monday - We have had a nice time here, hope you are having as nice weather as we are. Our dear love to the three of you and Auntie. Try to be good. Love, Missy.

Minus the address it's short enough to be a Twitter message.

Not everyone had dogs.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Irene Ware

Irene Ahlberg was born November 6, 1910 in Pelham, NY. Several references state she was crowned Miss America of 1926. Not so, she was named Miss Greater NY in 1929, and then Miss United States for the Miss Universe competition. However, this is not the Miss Universe you have come to know and love/hate. This "Miss Universe" was the Galveston, Tex., International Beauty Contest. Virtually ignored by the U. S. press, the Galveston tournament was big news elsewhere in the world. In Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Rio de Janeiro, editors reported on just what Miss France, Miss Spain, Miss Austria, Miss Brazil were doing, wearing, saying at each instant of the final ceremony. For the record, Austria won and Irene took second, and it was reported as "Irene Ahlberg, a Manhattan stenographer, 18 and blond, won $1,000 and second honors".

I'm guessing she took that $1000 to help the move to show business. From late 1929 through early 1932 Irene appeared in several of Earl Carroll's Vanities broadway productions. Hollywood and a name change to Irene Ware came in 1932 when she signed a contract with Fox. Her first credited film was as the mysterious Princess Nadji, in Chandu the Magician(1932). In the film she was menaced by Bela Lugosi and would find herself in similar circumstances in 1935's The Raven, also starring Lugosi. Irene never reached true stardom, though she worked in a few films featuring leading actors of the day. Most of the 29 films she appeared in from 1932 to 1940 were what we would call "programmers or B-movies". A
side note - In Federal Agent (1936), she starred with William Boyd in his final non-Hopalong Cassidy vehicle.

Irene was married to film writer John Meehan. She died on March 11, 1993 in Santa Ana, California.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Screen Shots from Chandu The Magician

Publicity still from The Raven

Screen shots from Murder At Glen Athol (1936)

Publicity still from Whispering Smith Speaks (1935)

Publicity still

Irene Ware - What do you think - Allure?