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CaveGirl

Elusive Stars

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When one first becomes a movie buff, they receive every new film they watch, even if it is decades old, as fodder for future choices. Occasionally one becomes a fan of an actor or actress and hopes to see them again, then finally realizes that perhaps they didn't appear in much after the film one just saw. I remember being a fan of Ross Alexander from my first viewing of "Captain Blood" at the age of about twelve. A local station must have owned a Warner Bros. package of films so I did see him in a few more flicks, mostly light hearted but then realized I'd never seen him in any films of the 1950's. I then looked him up in one of my film books and realized why...he had committed suicide. Such a sad revelation, and in the film world, not so surprising an end. Reading about the whys was engrossing and depressing.

Another star who seemingly disappeared is Dorothy Comingore of "Citizen Kane" fame. Such a sterling performance and then...whammo! She seems to have mostly disappeared from films, but when one reads up on her they find another tragedy of the HUAC days and blacklisting times. They really could make a movie of her life and if so, I suggest Naomi Watts play her since they seem to resemble each other in my eyes, but I digress.

Name a star who you wished to see in more things, but finally realized they had disappeared almost as quickly as Ambrose Bierce did, and future films were not to be seen by you sadly.
 

Potential stars who willingly left show biz on their own volition, are also of interest if you would like to submit their names for the title of an Elusive Star.

 

 

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I wouldn’t exactly call her elusive, but I sure do wish Judy Holliday had made more movies before her untimely death.  Also I wish that she had lived longer.

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44 minutes ago, starliteyes said:

I wouldn’t exactly call her elusive, but I sure do wish Judy Holliday had made more movies before her untimely death.  Also I wish that she had lived longer.

What a wonderful choice! You are a true film fan to appreciate her talents, Starliteyes.

Thanks for reminding us all of such a superlative talent who is still missed...

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Sometimes actors are deemed to be more trouble than they are worth. For instance, Brenda de Banzie was terrific in Hobosn's Choice and The Man Who Knew Too Much, but according to Kevin Brownlow's biography of David Lean, she was considered difficult to work with, and Britain had so many fine character actresses that she was passed over for other roles.

Tom Bell is quite good in The L-Shaped Room as the troubled young man who messes up his chance at love with Leslie Caron. However, at an awards ceremony he was drunk and insulted Prince Philip, who was present, so that his career was toast.

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Joan McCracken. Great dancer, good actress, and not a bad singer. She was terrific in Good News, and her "Pass That Peace Pipe" number is a showstopper. She preferred the stage, but I wish she'd made more film musicals.

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12 hours ago, starliteyes said:

I wouldn’t exactly call her elusive, but I sure do wish Judy Holliday had made more movies before her untimely death.  Also I wish that she had lived longer.

*"THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD: FRANCIS (Albert) SINATRA-(l95-98) always said everytime Judy sang, she died a little bit more and more  unquote   She was barely 4'11 & 1/2 as well

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12 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

When one first becomes a movie buff, they receive every new film they watch, even if it is decades old, as fodder for future choices. Occasionally one becomes a fan of an actor or actress and hopes to see them again, then finally realizes that perhaps they didn't appear in much after the film one just saw. I remember being a fan of Ross Alexander from my first viewing of "Captain Blood" at the age of about twelve. A local station must have owned a Warner Bros. package of films so I did see him in a few more flicks, mostly light hearted but then realized I'd never seen him in any films of the 1950's. I then looked him up in one of my film books and realized why...he had committed suicide. Such a sad revelation, and in the film world, not so surprising an end. Reading about the whys was engrossing and depressing.

Another star who seemingly disappeared is Dorothy Comingore of "Citizen Kane" fame. Such a sterling performance and then...whammo! She seems to have mostly disappeared from films, but when one reads up on her they find another tragedy of the HUAC days and blacklisting times. They really could make a movie of her life and if so, I suggest Naomi Watts play her since they seem to resemble each other in my eyes, but I digress.

Name a star who you wished to see in more things, but finally realized they had disappeared almost as quickly as Ambrose Bierce did, and future films were not to be seen by you sadly.
 

Potential stars who willingly left show biz on their own volition, are also of interest if you would like to submit their names for the title of an Elusive Star.

 

 

She died fairly young of the drink

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Others must have to be ELUSIVE STARS are>*Brando, Dietrich, Garbo, of course Howard Hughes & many others

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     I remember the first time I saw Platinum Blonde many years ago.  Although the film starred Jean Harlow and Loretta Young an actor named Robert Williams stole the picture from them. He wasn't good looking by Hollywood standards but he had a certain charisma about him along with a quick wit. He was the perfect actor for the screwball comedy genre. I had wondered why I never saw or heard of him again until years later when I got more involved in films and discovered that he died after surgery for a burst appendix right as Platinum Blonde was released. He was right on the threshold of fame when he tragically died. 

 

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This one isn't from Classic Hollywood, but it still fits. Jonathan Brandis was a teenage heartthrob who was best known for his role on SeaQuest DSV. After the series was cancelled, the roles were few and far between, and he suffered from depression. Brandis committed suicide on November 12th, 2003.

 

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4 hours ago, spence said:

Hope this is the correct thread, but GARBO must take the cake!

She came immediately to my mind when I saw this thread. 

When exactly did she quit the movies for good? 

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5 hours ago, spence said:

She died fairly young of the drink

There was a lot of interesting stuff she lived through though before the "drink" got her, Spence. That's what could make a movie. Thanks for your thoughts!

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14 hours ago, kingrat said:

Sometimes actors are deemed to be more trouble than they are worth. For instance, Brenda de Banzie was terrific in Hobosn's Choice and The Man Who Knew Too Much, but according to Kevin Brownlow's biography of David Lean, she was considered difficult to work with, and Britain had so many fine character actresses that she was passed over for other roles.

Tom Bell is quite good in The L-Shaped Room as the troubled young man who messes up his chance at love with Leslie Caron. However, at an awards ceremony he was drunk and insulted Prince Philip, who was present, so that his career was toast.

I love both performances by those you mention, Kingrat! I had no idea though at career bumps of these two due to such personality issues so thanks for the update.

Tom Bell was so convincing in "The L-Shaped Room" at being a serious pain in the you-know-what, but now I'm wondering if he could have just been playing himself? Who knew!

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Speaking of Dorothy Comingore, I noticed a movie she was in prior to CK is on later tonight at TCM.

If you'd like to see her previously to her turn as Susan Alexander Kane, check her out in the film "Five Little Peppers and How They Grew" from 1939, in the bit role of an uncredited "nurse".

If you blink and miss her you can still enjoy seeing "Butch" [aka Tommy Bond] from the "Our Gang" comedies as a Pepper in one of his less bullying roles.

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To me( and I thought the intended direction of this thread) an "elusive star" is, as some have brought up, those actors and actresses who seemed to some viewers to have been excellent at their craft, but for some reason never quite seemed to "make it".  I'm not sure that dying early on in their careers really counts as they were never given a fair chance to "make it" or not.  And we'd probably peter out quickly after JAMES DEAN gets mention.

As for the "classic" library, most of us "film buffs" would feel that the largest part of those referred to as "character actors"  can easily fall into the "elusive stars" category, And regrettably, over the years I've noticed several who've showed up for a small part in some great film and IMHO outshined the MAIN "star" of the film, but now confronted to give a name, escapes me entirely.  :wacko:

In more modern times, one actor I can think of that hasn't really disappeared from view but has never gone as far as  long thought he should have is MATTHEW MODINE.

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

To me( and I thought the intended direction of this thread) an "elusive star" is, as some have brought up, those actors and actresses who seemed to some viewers to have been excellent at their craft, but for some reason never quite seemed to "make it".  I'm not sure that dying early on in their careers really counts as they were never given a fair chance to "make it" or not.  And we'd probably peter out quickly after JAMES DEAN gets mention.

As for the "classic" library, most of us "film buffs" would feel that the largest part of those referred to as "character actors"  can easily fall into the "elusive stars" category, And regrettably, over the years I've noticed several who've showed up for a small part in some great film and IMHO outshined the MAIN "star" of the film, but now confronted to give a name, escapes me entirely.  :wacko:

In more modern times, one actor I can think of that hasn't really disappeared from view but has never gone as far as  long thought he should have is MATTHEW MODINE.

Sepiatone

I agree, Sepia and like Modine a lot too. You make very good points and just last night I saw someone who could fit into my imposed category of "Elusive Star" which would be Brandon de Wilde.

They were showing the banned from original run of the "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" series, episode called "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". DeWilde stars as a less than up to reality youth, who is taken in by carny workers, Diana Dors and her magician hubby, who looks a lot like Mephistopheles [sp?]. Due to the cutting in half scene of Dors executed by Brandon, it originally was removed from tv viewing on first run. Sadly, DeWilde's career was aborted by his being killed in an accident in New York as I recall when he was hit by a car. This leaves a very short body of work but a brilliant one, with "Shane" and "The Member of the Wedding" in his resume at such a young age, and later things like "Hud". I still miss seeing him grow up and be in films as an adult actor. I think he would have continued on to much glory.

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Y'know,  you could put Brandon's name on the list of "child stars", but one who sadly was taken before he'd much of a chance to succeed or fail at "adult stardom".  And, IMHO, he did have the stuff.

Sepiatone

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On 5/15/2018 at 4:54 PM, kingrat said:

Sometimes actors are deemed to be more trouble than they are worth. For instance, Brenda de Banzie was terrific in Hobosn's Choice and The Man Who Knew Too Much, but according to Kevin Brownlow's biography of David Lean, she was considered difficult to work with, and Britain had so many fine character actresses that she was passed over for other roles.

Sometimes these "difficult" stars are very choosy and have gaps in their movie career because they only want to work with certain directors or costars. They don't need the money and don't just accept any old script or offer. However, Brenda de Banzie does have a considerable film resume. She was in 27 motion pictures, and appeared in 14 television productions. I would imagine she was also working on stage during some of these years.

In her case I would suspect she was "difficult" because she was a perfectionist. So that's why she kept getting hired, because she was known for bringing a certain level of quality to her performances, which outweighed any difficulty she created on set.

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On 5/15/2018 at 3:12 PM, CaveGirl said:

When one first becomes a movie buff, they receive every new film they watch, even if it is decades old, as fodder for future choices. Occasionally one becomes a fan of an actor or actress and hopes to see them again, then finally realizes that perhaps they didn't appear in much after the film one just saw. I remember being a fan of Ross Alexander from my first viewing of "Captain Blood" at the age of about twelve. A local station must have owned a Warner Bros. package of films so I did see him in a few more flicks, mostly light hearted but then realized I'd never seen him in any films of the 1950's. I then looked him up in one of my film books and realized why...he had committed suicide. Such a sad revelation, and in the film world, not so surprising an end. Reading about the whys was engrossing and depressing.

 

I loved Ross Alexander too! Part of me thinks he would have had a long, prosperous career had he not committed suicide. But because he was gay, the other part of me thinks he would have been miserable & either drank/drugged himself into an early grave or committed suicide anyway.

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2 hours ago, DawnM74 said:

I loved Ross Alexander too! Part of me thinks he would have had a long, prosperous career had he not committed suicide. But because he was gay, the other part of me thinks he would have been miserable & either drank/drugged himself into an early grave or committed suicide anyway.

Sounds depressing! Well at least we'll always have his film performances.

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Carole Landis springs to mind. It is unfortunate that her death came about so prematurely. I think my favorite thing I've seen of hers is the obscure 1946 comedy, "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog" (also starring Allyn Joslyn, a somewhat underrated performer). Landis and Josyln were very well matched in this movie, I thought. I don't remember who it was who said this (it might have been TopBilled), but I seem to remember a comment saying that Landis might have made a good transition to television. Something I found interesting.

 

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17 hours ago, DawnM74 said:

I loved Ross Alexander too! Part of me thinks he would have had a long, prosperous career had he not committed suicide. But because he was gay, the other part of me thinks he would have been miserable & either drank/drugged himself into an early grave or committed suicide anyway.

I so agree with you, Dawn. Very astute observation and thanks for posting!

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12 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

Carole Landis springs to mind. It is unfortunate that her death came about so prematurely. I think my favorite thing I've seen of hers is the obscure 1946 comedy, "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog" (also starring Allyn Joslyn, a somewhat underrated performer). Landis and Josyln were very well matched in this movie, I thought. I don't remember who it was who said this (it might have been TopBilled), but I seem to remember a comment saying that Landis might have made a good transition to television. Something I found interesting.

 

I always think of that police photo of Carole Landis after her suicide. So sad and thanks for your thoughts on her film with Joslyn, an actor I always enjoyed in comedies.

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