Archive for WW 2 Pin Up Girls
The World Book Dictionary defines pinup as: “Noun 1. A picture of a very attractive or famous person, pinned up on a wall, as in a barracks, usually by admirers who have not met the subject. 2. A very attractive girl, especially one considered attractive enough to be the subject of such a picture.”
Virginia Grey was born on March 22, 1917 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of actor Ray Grey – he was one of the Keystone Kops – and director for Mack Sennett and appeared on the silent screen with Mabel Normand, Dorothy Gish and Ben Turpin, among others. He died while Virginia was still a child. One of her early babysitters was Gloria Swanson. Grey debuted at the age of ten in the silent film “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (1927) as Little Eva. She continued acting for a few more years, but then left movies in order to finish her education.
Grey returned to films in the 1930s with bit parts and extra work, but she eventually signed a contract with MGM and appeared in such movies as “Another Thin Man” (1939), “Hullabaloo” (1940) and “The Big Store” (1941). She played Consuela McNish in “The Hardys Ride High” (1939) with Mickey Rooney, and in 1942 she was in “Tarzan’s New York Adventure” with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan.
She left MGM in 1942, and signed with several different studios over the years, working steadily.
During her participation in WWII bond drives, she developed a close relationship with John Basilone, US Marine Medal of Honor winner, who was later killed on Iwo Jima.
She had an on again/off again relationship with Clark Gable in the 1940s. After his wife Carole Lombard died and he returned from military service, Clark and Virginia were often seen at restaurants and nightclubs together. Many, including Virginia herself, expected him to marry her. The tabloids were all expecting the wedding announcement. It was a great surprise when he hastily married Lady Sylvia Ashley in 1949. Virginia was heartbroken. They divorced in 1952, but much to Virginia’s dismay their brief romance was never rekindled. Her friends say that her hoping and waiting for Clark was the reason she never married.
She was a regular on television in the 1950s and 1960s, appearing on “Playhouse 90″, “General Electric Theater”, “The DuPont Show with June Allyson”, “Your Show of Shows”, “Wagon Train”, “Bonanza”, “Marcus Welby, M.D.”, “Love, American Style”, “Burke’s Law”, “The Virginian”, “Peter Gunn”, “The Red Skelton Show” and many others.
Although never a box office star, Miss Grey was as indomitable as she was versatile, acting in more than 100 films and 40 television shows — musicals, comedies, adventure films, westerns and romantic dramas.
She retired from the screen in the early 1970s and passed away due to heart failure at the Motion Picture and Television Retirement Home on July 31, 2004, at age 87.
Evelyn Ankers, a beautiful movie actress who was a staple of Universal’s horror films in the 1940s, was born in Valparaiso, Chile to English parents on August 17th, 1918. Her parents repatriated the family back to England in the 1920s, and it was in Old Blighty that Ankers developed a desire to become an actress.
She began appearing in small roles in English movies in the mid 1930s while she was still in school. She appeared in “Fire Over England” (1937) with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh and in “Bells of St. Mary’s” (1937). A beauty with talent, she soon won starring roles in the low-budget “The Villiers Diamond” (1938) and “The Claydon Treasure Mystery” (1938).
With war clouds darkening the skies over Europe, Ankers emigrated to the United States and was signed to a contract by Universal in 1940. She made her Universal debut in the Abbot and Costello comedy-horror picture “Hold That Ghost” (1941) before appearing in the horror film classic “The Wolf Man” (1941) opposite Lon Chaney, Jr. Ankers found herself cast into the horror picture ghetto, appearing in two more Chaney fright films, “The Ghost of Frankenstein” (1942) and “The Frozen Ghost” (1945) during a period in which she was cast ashore with a sarong-less Jon Hall in “The Invisible Man’s Revenge” (1944). She also appeared in support of Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes in “The Voice of Terror” (1942) and “The Pearl of Death” (1944).
Ankers married B-movie hunk Richard Denning in 1942 and made a go articulating the anxieties of the home front while her husband was off to war. Horror flicks were popular during World War II, but after the cessation of hostilities in 1945, they went out of favor with audiences. Ankers’ career, mated to the genre at Universal, suffered.
She quit Universal in 1945 and freelanced at Columbia and Poverty Row’s Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) and Republic Pictures in dramas and mysteries. Evelyn co-starred with her returned husband Richard in the major release “Black Beauty” (1946) for 20th Century Fox. For PRC, she headlined “Queen of Burlesque” (1946) and later co-starred with Lex Barker in “Tarzan’s Magic Fountain” (1949).
As the 1950s dawned, a decade of conformity and family values, Ankers quit the movies for married life and motherhood after making “The Texan Meets Calamity Jane” (1950), in which she was first-billed. She was 32 years old. A decade later, Ankers came out of retirement to make one final screen appearance, in her hubby’s “No Greater Love” (1960).
Evelyn Ankers died of ovarian cancer on August 29, 1985 in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, twelve days after her 67th birthday.
Height: 5′ 8″ (1.73 m)
She was called “Queen of the Screamers” on account of her blood-curdling vocal outbursts in “B” suspense thrillers of the ’40s.
Ankers was engaged to actor Glenn Ford, but Ankers broke the engagement when she met Richard Denning while Ford was on location.
Evelyn’s husband, Richard Denning, had a recurring role on Hawaii Five-O as the governor of Hawaii from 1968-80. Sadly, Evelyn never put in appearance as the First Lady of the Aloha State even though she’d been offered the role. She was quite contented with retirement.
Buried at Maui Veterans Cemetery, Makawao, Hawaii next to her husband Richard Denning, who served in the US Navy during WWII and served on a submarine as Yeoman 1st Class in the South Pacific.
She was born Ramsay Phillips on March 30, 1921 in Brooklyn, New York (her reported year of birth varies from 1921 to 1924, depending on the source), and was a student athlete (especially excelling as a swimmer) in high school.
She attended the Walter Hillhouse School of Dance, specializing in Latin-style dance, and also took up singing, becoming the vocalist with a top rhumba band. She later became part of a dance team under the name Ramsay Del Rico, and appeared as a model at the Eastman Kodak-sponsored fashion show at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. A back injury sidelined her from dancing and fate intervened: in the course of a trip to California to visit her mother, she had a chance meeting at the airport with Harry Cohn. He was the president of Columbia Pictures and the meeting resulted in a screen test and then her 1943 movie debut, “Two Senoritas From Chicago” (1943). From there she moved to Universal, where she was cast in key roles in movies such as “The Mummy’s Ghost”, in which she was the hapless modern victim of the ancient curse of Kharis the Mummy, and major supporting parts in pictures like “Calling Dr. Death” (1943), “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” (1944), and “Follow the Boys” (1944).
With her dark good looks and statuesque, athletic yet attractive physique, Ames was ideal in portrayals of exotic roles, such as the Egyptian student in her Mummy movie and the French and Latin women she often got to play. She was also good in physically demanding action roles. During the mid-’40s, she made a pair of Cisco Kid movies with Gilbert Roland, “The Gay Cavalier” (1946) and “Beauty and the Bandit” (1946). In the first, Ames is credited in some sources with co-authoring one of the songs, and in the second, she brought a good deal of fire and humor to a script that, for the first half, resembled a cowboy version of “As You Like It”.
Ames had small roles in major movies like “Mildred Pierce” (1945) and the epic-length “Green Dolphin Street” (1947), but by the second half of the 1940s she was locked into B-features such as PRC’s low-budget “Philo Vance Returns” (1947) and was also working at Republic in serials such as “The Black Widow” (1947) and “G-Men Never Forget” (1948). She gave up acting and Hollywood at the end of the 1940s and for many years lived in Spain, where she had her own television interview show and occasionally took acting roles in films produced in Europe. Her later movies included the features “Alexander the Great” (1956) and Carol Reed’s 1963 thriller “The Running Man”. She returned to the United States in the early ’60s and was married to playwright Dale Wasserman, best known for Man of La Mancha, until their divorce in 1980. She died of lung cancer on March 30, 1998 in Santa Monica, California.
Claire Trevor was born Claire Wemlinger on March 8, 1910 in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, the only child of Fifth Avenue merchant-tailor Noel Wemlinger, an immigrant Frenchmen from Paris who lost his business during the Depression, and his Belfast-born wife Betty. Trevor’s interest in acting began when she was 11 years old. She attended high school in Mamaroneck, NY. After starting classes at Columbia University, she spent six months at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, also in New York. Her adult acting experience began in the late 1920s in several stock productions. Her professional stage debut came with Robert Henderson’s Repertory Players in Ann Arbor, MI, in 1930. That same year she signed with Warner Bros. Not too far from her home haunts was Brooklyn-based Vitagraph Studios, the last and best of the early sound process studios, which had been acquired by Warner Bros. in 1925 to become Vitaphone. Trevor appeared in several of the nearly 2000 shorts cranked out by the studio between 1926 and 1930. Then she was sent west to do ten weeks of stock productions with other contract players in St. Louis. In 1931 she did summer stock with the Hampton Players in Southampton, Long Island. Finally, she debuted on Broadway in 1932 in “Whistling in the Dark”.
She moved to the feature screen, debuting in the western “Life in the Raw” (1933). There would be three more films (another western) that year and six or more through the 1930s. Though Trevor had been typed playing gun molls and hardcase women of the world, she displayed her already considerable versatility in these early films, as often playing competent, take-charge professional women as she did shady ladies. There was a disappointed-pout-vulnerability in her face and that famous slightly New York-burred voice that cracked with a little cry when heightened by emotion that quickly revealed an unusual and sensitive performer. Many of her early films were “B” potboilers, but she worked with Spencer Tracy on several occasions, notably “Dante’s Inferno” (1935). Hollywood finally took notice of her talents by nominating her for a Best Support Actress Oscar for her standout performance as a good girl raised in the slums who is forced by poverty to turn to prostitution in “Dead End” (1937), opposite ‘Humphrey Bogart’. That year she did the radio drama “Big Town” with Edward G. Robinson, then teamed with he and Bogart again for the slightly hokey but entertaining “The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse” (1938). Director John Ford tapped her for his first big sound western, “Stagecoach” (1939), the film that made a star of John Wayne. All her abilities to bring complexity to a character showed in “Stagecoach” as the kicked-around dance hall girl ‘Dallas’, one of her great early female roles. She and Wayne were electric, and they were paired in three more films during their careers, “Allegheny Uprising” (1939), and again in 1940 in “Dark Command”. Over a decade later, she would again costar with Wayne, gaining her final Oscar nomination for “The High and the Mighty” (1954).
In the 1940s Trevor began appearing in the genre that brought her to true stardom, known as “film noir”. She started in a big way as killer Ruth Dillon in “Street of Chance” (1942) with Burgess Meredith. She was equally convincing as the more complex but nonetheless two-faced Mrs. Grayle in the Philip Marlowe vehicle “Murder, My Sweet” (1944). However, she was something very different and quite extraordinary as washed-up, boozy nightclub singer Gaye Dawn in “Key Largo” (1948), for which she won an Academy Award, again working with Bogart and Robinson. The film hangs on her wrenching performance during a pathetic rendition of the torch song “Moanin’ Low”, sung in humiliation to gain a desperately wanted drink. There were more quality movies and an additional Academy nomination for “The High and the Mighty” (1954) into the 1950s, but Trevor was also doing stage and television. She was enthusiastic about live TV and appeared on several famous shows by the mid-1950s. She won an Emmy for Best Live Television Performance by an Actress as the flighty wife of Fredric March in “Dodsworth” (1956) on NBC’s “Producers’ Showcase” (1954). She alternated her career among film, stage and TV roles. As she aged she easily transitioned into “distinguished matron” and mother roles, one of her most unusual ones being the murderous Ma Barker in an episode of the gun-blasting “The Untouchables” (1959). Her final film role was as Sally Field’s mother in “Kiss Me Goodbye” (1982).
Trevor and her third husband, producer Milton H. Bren, had long been residents of tiny Newport Beach, CA, to which they returned in 1987 when Trevor finally retired from screen work. However, she did maintain an active interest in stage work, and became associated with The School of Arts at the University of California, Irvine. She and her husband contributed some $10 million to further its development for the visual and performing arts (that included three endowed professorships). After her death, the University renamed the school The Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Her presence on the UCI campus is in more than spirit alone-visibly so-her Oscar for “Key Largo” stands in an exterior glass window on view in the school’s Arts Plaza complex.
Claire Trevor died of respiratory failure in Newport Beach, April 8, 2000 at the age of 90.
Diana Mumby was born on July 1, 1922 in Detroit, Michigan. Diana’s first film was “A Night at Earl Carroll’s” (1940). Diana Â next appeared uncredited in “Up in Arms” (1944) with Danny Kaye, and was one of many “Goldwyn Girls”. Originally, the “Goldwyn Girls” were basically Metro-Goldwyn Mayers musical stock company of female dancers like the “Golddigers” etc. who appeared in many musicals. Many of these ladies danced as “The Goldwyn Girls”, “Golddiggers” and even “Ziegfeld Girls” as well as other musicals and movies in the 1920s-1940s. They were sometimes listed as “Models,” “Showgirls” or “Chorus Girls.”.
Diana Mumby appeared in about 30 Hollywood movies from 1940 to 1956. Her movies include “The Harder They Fall” (1956), “Son of Sinbad” (1955), “G.I. Jane” (1951), “I Can Get It for You Wholesale” (1951), “A Song Is Born” (1948,) “Winter Wonderland” (1947), “The Kid from Brooklyn” (1946) and “The Thrill of Brazil” (1946.
Diana Mumby passed away on May 19, 1974 (age 51) in Westlake, California.