Day 29 of Noirvember: Trivia Tuesday
I simply can’t get enough of movie trivia. I hope you can’t, either . . .
At the age of 17, Yvonne DeCarlo was chosen as first runner-up in the Miss Venice bathing beauty contest, and a short time later, she was hired for the chorus line at the Florentine Gardens in Hollywood. There, her dark, exotic looks caught the attention of a number of celebs, including bandleader Artie Shaw, who urged DeCarlo to see a career in film.
Four of the principal stars of Laura (1944) – Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Vincent Price, and Judith Anderson – all died within three years of each other.
For several years during his Hollywood career, Richard Conte worked under contract for the Hallmark company, supplying paintings for greeting cards. (As if I needed something else to make me love this guy!)
Ann Blyth was eating lunch at the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan when she caught the eye of playwright Lillian Hellman. She was eventually cast as Paul Lukas’s daughter in Hellman’s play, Watch on the Rhine. She was only 13 years old.
Leo G. Carroll played in more Alfred Hitchcock movies than any other actor – Rebecca, Suspicion, Spellbound, The Paradine Case, Strangers on a Train, and North by Northwest. The only person who can claim more appearances is Hitchcock himself, who turned in a cameo in each of his films since 1926.
Detective Story (1951) was based on a stage play that ran on Broadway for 581 performances. The production starred Ralph Bellamy in the role played by Kirk Douglas in the film. (Can you imagine?)
In The Lady in the Lake (1947), actress Ellay Mort is credited in the role Chrystal Kingsby, the name of the deceased dame of the film’s title. The credit is an inside joke – there is no such actress. The name is actually the phonetic pronunciation of the French phrase “elle est morte,” which means “she is dead.”
Coleen Gray, who had an affair with her Kansas City Confidential co-star John Payne, said that before she worked with him, she “didn’t find him appealing. He seemed to have a pout – I just thought he was a spoiled pretty boy.”
Born Jane Sterling Adriance, Jan Sterling dropped her last name out of deference to her father, a well-known New York advertising exec who disapproved of her acting aspirations. After a suggestion from actress Ruth Gordon, she also eliminated the “e” from her first name.
Mike Mazurki was born Mikhail Mazurwski in Tornopol, Austria, on December 25, 2909. He attended Manhattan College on a sports scholarship and graduated in the upper tenth of his class.
While under contract at Warner Bros. from 1939 to 1946, John Garfield was suspended more than a dozen times for refusing to work in what he considered to be inferior films.
Robert Ryan signed a contract with RKO in the early 1940s after he was spotted by a studio director while performing in the play Clash by Night, which ran on Broadway for less than two months (despite direction by Lee Strasberg and a cast that included Lee J. Cobb and Tallulah Bankhead).
Rumor has it that comedian Rodney Dangerfield appears as an extra in the racetrack fight scene in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (1956). I’ve yet to spot him, but I get a kick out of the idea.
Join me tomorrow for the last day (sniff!) of Noirvember!