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.”
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.
The ever-lovely, poised and vivacious blonde Anne Jeffreys was born Anne Carmichael on January 26, 1923 in 1923 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Firmly managed by her mother, she trained in voice at a fairly early age and received her first break in the entertainment field after signing with the John Robert Powers agency in New York as a junior model. In the interim, she prepared herself for an operatic career and made her debut in a production of “La Boheme” in 1940. The following year, however, Anne won a role in the musical review “Fun for the Money” that was to be staged in Hollywood. This, in turn, led to her first movie role in the tuneful Rodgers & Hart adaptation of “I Married an Angel” (1942) starring her singing idols Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in their last cinematic pairing.
Put under contract respectively by Republic then RKO studios, Anne was utilized as a plucky heroine in a flux of 40s “B” westerns and crimers opposite such stalwarts as Robert Mitchum and Randolph Scott. Also among her roles was the part of Tess Trueheart in the “Dick Tracy” series with Morgan Conway as the steel-jawed hero, and a co-star role opposite Frank Sinatra in the war-era musical “Step Lively” (1944). None of these, however, were able to propel her into the “A” ranks and her film career quickly dissipated by the end of the 40s. In the meantime, Anne continued to prod her vocal skills with symphonic and stage appearances including “Tosca” at the Brooklyn Opera House, Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene” and the Broadway musical “My Romance”.
Divorced in 1949, Anne met handsome actor Robert Sterling during an extended run (887 performances) of “Kiss Me Kate” on Broadway. She and Sterling married in 1951 and had three sons. In an attempt to revive their flagging careers, the singing couple toured nighteries and hotels in the early 1950s with a highly successful club act. This led to them being cast as sly, engagingly cavalier spirits in the classic “Topper” (1953) sitcom. Anne played Marion Kirby (“the ghostess with the mostest”) alongside Sterling’s dapper husband George. Successfully, undertaking the ectoplasmic roles originated on film by Constance Bennett and Cary Grant, the two were an absolute hit as the party-hearty ghosts who reclaim their home to the dismay of current owner Leo G. Carroll.
Anne and Robert weren’t able to recreate that same kind of magic when they subsequently co-starred in the short-lived series “Love That Jill” (1958). In the 1960s Anne semi-retired to raise her family, but occasionally took on musical leads (“Camelot”, “The King and I”) both on Broadway and in regional productions. She later returned full time to TV and became known for her chic, gregarious, sometimes double-dealing matrons on soap operas (“Bright Promise” (1969) and “General Hospital” (1972)). She was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her supporting work in “The Delphi Bureau” (1972) adventure series, and appeared occasionally as the mother of David Hasselhoff on “Baywatch” (1989).
Unlike her husband, who retired decades ago (he died in 2006), Anne remains a tireless performer past age 80. Still quite a beauty, she has been recognized over the years for her civic and humanitarian efforts.
Gene Eliza Tierney was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 19, 1920, to well-to-do parents. Her father was a very successful insurance broker and her mother was a former teacher. Her childhood was lavish indeed. She also lived, at times, with her equally successful grandparents in Connecticut and New York. She was educated in the finest schools on the East Coast and at a finishing school in Switzerland. After two years in Europe, Gene returned to the US where she completed her education.
By 1938 she was performing on Broadway in “What a Life!” and understudied for “The Primerose Path” (1938) at the same time. Her wealthy father set up a corporation that was only to promote her theatrical pursuits. Her first role consisted of carrying a bucket of water across the stage, prompting one critic to announce that “Miss Tierney is, without a doubt, the most beautiful water carrier I have ever seen!” Her subsequent roles “Mrs O`Brian Entertains” (1939) and “RingTwo” (1939) were meatier and received praise from the tough New York critics. Critic Richard Watts wrote “I see no reason why Miss Tierney should not have a long and interesting theatrical career, that is if the cinema does not kidnap her away”.
Gene was Â spotted by the legendary Darryl F. Zanuck during a stage performance of the hit show “The Male Animal” (1940), Gene was signed to a contract with 20th Century-Fox. Her first role as Barbara Hall in “Hudson`s Bay” (1941) would be the send-off vehicle for her career. Later that year she appeared in “The Return of Frank James” (1940). The next year would prove to be a very busy one for Gene, as she appeared in “The Shanghai Gesture” (1941), “Sundown” (1941), “Tobacco Road” (1941) and “Belle Starr” (1941). She tried her hand at screwball comedy in “Rings on Her Fingers” (1942), which was a great success. Her performances in each of these productions were masterful. In 1945 she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Ellen Brent in “Leave Her to Heaven” (1945). Though she didn’t win, it solidified her position in Hollywood society. She followed up with another great performance as Isabel Bradley in the hit “The Razor`s Edge” (1946). In 1944 she played what is probably her best-known role (and, most critics agree, her most outstanding performance) in Otto Preminger`s “Laura” (1944), in which she played murder victim named Laura Hunt. In 1947 Gene played Lucy Muir in the acclaimed “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” (1947). By this time Gene was the hottest player around, and the 1950s saw no letup as she appeared in a number of good films, among them “Night and the City” (1950), “The Mating Season” (1951), “Close to My Heart” (1951), “Plymouth Adventure” (1952), “Personal Affair” (1953) and “The Left Hand of God” (1955). The latter was to be her last performance for seven years.
The pressures of a failed marriage to Oleg Cassini, the birth of a daughter who was mentally retarded in 1943, and several unhappy love affairs resulted in Gene being hospitalized for depression. When she returned to the the screen in “Advise & Consent” (1962), her acting was as good as ever but there was no longer a big demand for her services. Her last feature film was “The Pleasure Seekers” (1964), and her final appearance in the film industry was in a TV miniseries, “Scruples” (1980). Gene died of emphysema in Houston, Texas, on November 6, 1991, just two weeks shy of her 71st birthday.
Height: 5′ 7″ (1.70 m)
Nickname: The Get Girl
Howard Hughes provided the funds for her retarded daughter’s medical care.
Had her share of love affairs during her Hollywood reign, including a notorious one with John F. Kennedy, whom she met while filming Dragonwyck (1946). Kennedy broke it up because of his political aspirations. She also had dalliances with Tyrone Power during production of The Razor’s Edge (1946) and with Prince Aly Khan in the early 1950s.
Received extensive shock treatment in the 1950s while battling her mental instability.
Tierney was in the throes of suicidal depression and was admitted to the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, on Christmas Day in 1957, after police talked her down from a building ledge. She was released from Menningers the following year.
When Gene saw herself on screen for the first time, she was horrified by her voice (“I sounded like an angry Minnie Mouse”). She began smoking to lower her voice, but it came at a great price – she died of emphysema.