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bansi4

"In the Spotlight"

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Thanks Mongo for spotlighting Joan Leslie. Last night I watched "The Hard Way", and Joan gave a fine performance as the younger sister, Katherine Blaine. A few weeks ago I watched Joan lose her fiance Zachery Scott to the coniving Joan Fontaine in "Born To Be Bad". The two roles that Joan is most remembered for are Miss Gracie in "Sergeant York" and Mary in "Yankee Doodle Dandy. Another performance of Joan`s that I enjoyed was the crippled young girl in "High Sierra". In this role, she showed another side of her personna.

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Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Weissmuller, Cheeta, & Johnny Sheffield

in "Tarzan's New York Adventure" (1942)

 

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Johnny Sheffield as Boy in his final Tarzan film "Tarzan and the Huntress" (1947) with

Johnny Weissmuller, and Brenda Joyce as Jane

 

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In the Spotlight: BUTTERFLY McQUEEN

 

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Born Thelma McQueen on January 7, 1911 in Tampa, Florida, the only child of a stevedore and a domestic worker. Although she was raised a Christian, she began to question the value of organized religion as a child. She gave up her study of nursing to become an actress and dancer in New York and achieved some measure of success.

She took her stage name from the "Butterfly Dance" after performing it in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". She performed with the dance troupes of Katherine Dunham and Janet Collins before making her professional debut in George Abbott's "Brown Sugar".

 

She auditioned for David Selznick's "Gone With The Wind", but was initially rejected for the role of Prissy as too old (at age 28), too heavy and too dignified. Yet as the whiny, incompetent house slave, would become her most identifiable role, uttering the famous words: "I don't know nothin''bout birthin' babies!"

She also played an uncredited bit part as a sales assistant in "The Women", filmed after "Gone with the Wind" but released before it.

 

Around this time McQueen also modeled for the Mrs. Butterworth syrup bottle. She also played Butterfly, Mary Livingstone's maid in the Jack Benny radio program, for a time during World War II. But by 1947 she had grown tired of the ethnic stereotypes she was required to play and ended her film career.

Other film roles included, "Cabin in the Sky" as Lily, "I Dood It" with Red Skelton, "Flame of Barbary Coast" with John Wayne, "Mildred Pierce" as Lottie, "Duel in the Sun" as Vashti, etc.

 

McQueen left the screen in 1950, working variously as a real-life maid, a waitress, a receptionist, a dance instructor, and a taxi dispatcher, with only occasional acting jobs including TVs "Beulah" with Hattie McDaniel.

 

Her acting roles after this were very few, and she devoted herself to other pursuits including study, and received a bachelor's degree in political science in 1975. In 1979 McQueen won a Daytime Emmy award for her performance as Aunt Thelma, a fairy godmother in the ABC After school special, "Seven Wishes of a Rich Kid". She had one more role of some substance in the 1986 film "The Mosquito Coast" with Harrison Ford.

 

McQueen lived in New York in the summer months and lived in Augusta, Georgia in the winter months. She liked to ride a bicycle with training wheels around the neighborhood, was a health food advocate and usually lunched at the Belle Terrace Senior Center, where she played and sang from an impressive repertoire of classical music, jazz, and show tunes.

 

She died at age 84 in Augusta, Georgia on December 22, 1995 as a result of burns received when a kerosene heater she was attempting to light malfunctioned and burst into flames. She ran from her house during the fire, engulfed by flames, suffering second- and third-degree burns over 70% of her body. She was conscious when firefighters arrived and told them how her clothes had caught fire.

Neighbors interviewed after her death said she was known just as "Thelma" by many who did not realize her identity, and as "Momma Mac" to friends. There is no info regarding a marriage.

 

A lifelong atheist, she donated her body to medical science and remembered the Freedom From Religion Foundation in her will. A cat-lover, Ms. McQueen also remembered the Humane Society, among other groups, and deeded property to renters.

 

Quoted:

?I didn?t mind playing a maid the first time, because I thought that was how you got into the business. But after I did the same thing over and over, I resented it. I didn?t mind being funny, but I didn?t like being stupid.?

 

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A weary Butterfly McQueen on the set of "Gone With the Wind"

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Regarding "Gone With the Wind":

"It was not a pleasant part to play," McQueen said. "I didn't want to be that little slave. But I did my best, my very best."

 

Indeed she did as the one and only Prissy.

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McQueen as Vashti in "Duel in the Sun" with Jennifer Jones

 

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With Gregory Peck

 

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null

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Spazhoward, thanks for your input and I'm glad that you are enjoying the profiles.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

 

Quoted:

"Now I am happy I did "Gone With the Wind". I wasn't when I was 28, but it's part of black history. You have no idea how hard it is for black actors, but things change, things blossom in time."

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In the Spotlight: TIM HOLT

 

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Born Charles John Holt III on February 5, 1919 in Beverly Hills, California, he was the son of actor Jack Holt and his wife, Margaret Woods. Nicknamed "Tim", he was raised on his father's ranch in Fresno where he performed outside chores and learned to ride a horse. Tim, in fact, made his debut at age 10 in one of his father's westerns "The Vanishing Pioneer" in 1928.

He was sent to study at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana. The boyishly rugged, athletically-inclined Tim excelled in polo. He graduated in 1936 then immediately went to work in the Hollywood film business.

 

After five minor roles, in 1938, at the age of nineteen, Holt had a major role under star Harry Carey in "The Law West of Tombstone". It was the first of the many Western films he made during the 1940s. At the same time, his sister, Jennifer Holt, also became a leading star in the Western film genre.

He earned strong notices in the classic Barbara Stanwyck tearjerker "Stella Dallas" and as Olivia de Havilland's brother in "Gold Is Where You Find It".

Holt also co-starred in "Stagecoach" with Wayne, "5th Ave Girl" with Ginger Rogers, "Laddie", "Swiss Family Robinson" good version, "Back Street" with Margaret Sullavan and Charles Boyer, "Hitler's Children", etc.

 

Tim Holt had one of the leading roles in Orson Welles's "The Magnificent Ambersons" as George, but the following year WWII interrupted his thriving career. He was a decorated hero (Dintinguished Flying Cross, Victory Medal and Presidential Citation among them) while serving in the Air Corps and discharged with the rank of Second Lieutenant. Wounded in Tokyo on the last day of the war, he was also given the Purple Heart.

 

He returned to films after the war, appearing as Virgil Earp to Henry Fonda's, Wyatt Earp in John Ford's Western "My Darling Clementine". Holt was next cast in the role that he is probably most remembered for, in a film in which his father also appeared in a small part, portraying "Bob Curtin" next to Humphrey Bogart's character "Fred C. Dobbs" in John Huston's "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre". He made two dozen more Western films until 1952, when the genre's popularity waned.

He left RKO and retired for the most part to his Oklahoma ranch with his third wife, Birdee Stephens, and three children. He later became a manager for a radio station in Oklahoma City.

 

He was then absent from the screen for five years until he starred in a less than successful horror film "The Monster That Challenged the World" in 1957. He then appeared in only two more uninspiring motion pictures during the next fourteen years.

 

In 1973, at the age of 54, Tim Holt died from bone cancer in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where he had been managing a radio station.

He was interred in the Memory Lane Cemetery in Harrah, Oklahoma. Harrah, the town in which he and his wife resided, subsequently named Tim Holt Drive in his honor.

 

In 1991 Tim Holt was inducted posthumously into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

 

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