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"In the Spotlight"

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Mr. Mongo, thanks for shining the spotlight on Carmen Miranda. You also mentioned her sister Aurora. I just wanted to point out that many people might be acquainted with Aurora without realizing that she was Carmen's sibling; for Aurora also came to Hollywood. She made a few pictures at various studios (like Universal's Phantom Lady), but is best recognized as the resplendent Brazilian in Disney's homage to the Good Neighbor Policy, The Three Caballeros. The fabulously surreal musical number "Os Quindins de Yay?" with its colorful combination of animation and live action featured Aurora Miranda dancing and singing in an explosion of flowers and color.


'Twas quite a family!

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Dear Mongo,

I was so excited that the great Mongo replied to my first post about Betty Hutton. I wanted you to know that I love "In The Spotlight" and really appreciate all the great stories and pictures you have on all these wonderful actors. I have a few requests and you may have most of them on your list already. They are:

Theresa Harris

Mary Wickes

Virginia Weidler

Carole Landis

Ilka Chase

Charles Winniger

Helen Broderick

Alan Hale Sr.

Charlotte Greenwood

Keye Luke

Andrea Leeds

Again, thank you so much for the entertaining and informative posts!

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I loved her in The Three Caballeros. Not many folks realized it was Carmen's

sister! I used to show this as a video for my students and many went

away humming or trying to sing that Portuguese number.


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In the Spotlight: John Payne


John Howard Payne was born May 23, 1912 in Roanoke, Virginia. His mother had been a successful opera singer and encouraged her son to sing.

Payne enrolled at Columbia University in the fall of 1930. He studied drama at Columbia and voice at Juilliard. To support himself, he took on a variety of odd jobs, including wrestling and singing in vaudeville.

In 1934, he was spotted by a talent scout for the Schubert Theater and was given a job as a stock player.


He toured with several Shubert Brothers shows, and frequently sang on New York-based radio programs.

In 1936, the handsome actor was offered a contract by Samuel Goldwyn, and he left New York for Hollywood. In 1940 he signed with 20th-Century Fox, where he achieved stardom in a number of early 1940s musicals, including "Sun Valley Serenade" (1941) and "Weekend in Havana" (1941).

Other films include, "Dodsworth", "Kid Nightingale", "Star Dust", "Tin Pan Alley", "Hello Frisco, Hello", "The Dolly Sisters", "Sentimental Journey", "The Razor's Edge", "The Saxon Charm", etc.

Also appeared in the 1939 musical short "The Royal Rodeo" which is shown on TCM.

His songs are featured on numerous soundtracks.


Later in his career he changed his image and began playing tough-guy roles in Hollywood films noir and westerns including "99 River Street" (1953), "Silver Lode" (1954), "Tennessee's Partner" (1955), "Slightly Scarlet" (1956) and "Kansas City Confidential" (1952).


Payne's most popular role may be that of Fred Gailey in "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947). It is almost certainly his most visible role, as it typically receives frequent airplay during the Christmas season.


Payne also starred in a television western series "The Restless Gun" as Vint Bonner (1957-59).


In 1955, he paid a $1,000-a-month option for 9 months on the Ian Fleming James Bond novel "Moonraker" (he eventually gave up the option when he learned he could not retain the rights for the entire book series).


In late 1959, he suffered extensive, life-threatening injuries when struck by a car in New York City and was hospitalized for two and a half years. Because of that, Payne didn't appear in any films from 1962?1968.

In his later roles, facial scars from the accident can be detected in close-ups. One of Payne's first public appearances during this period was as a guest panelist on "What's My Line", the popular CBS-TV game show. Dorothy Kilgallen and the other panelists on the episode congratulated Payne on his recovery and wished him well.


He directed one of his last films, "They Ran for Their Lives" (1968). One of his last appearances was on an episode of "Columbo". Later in life, Payne became wealthy through real estate investments in Southern California.


Payne was once married to actress Anne Shirley; they had a daughter, actress Julie Payne. He was the father-in-law of writer-director Robert Towne. Also married to Gloria DeHaven (2 children), and to his 3rd. wife for 36 years until his death.


He was a direct descendant of John Howard Payne, composer of the classic song "Home! Sweet Home!" (Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home).


He died in Malibu, California of congestive heart failure, aged 77 on December 6, 1989.


Payne has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One for movies and one for TV.

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John Payne was a triple threat, Great at Dramas,Comedy and Musicals. I like his musicals but really liked him as a Dramatic Actor."The Razor's Edge", "The Crooked Way" and " Tripoli " are some of my favorites.

He would have made a Good James Bond, He had the look...



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