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"In the Spotlight"


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Although Faye might have been blackballed from appearing in films at any studio other than FOX, Zanuck did try to entice Faye to return to the screen since she was still a big star at the time of her departure from the studio. He offered her roles in such films as THE RAZOR'S EDGE but she always turned Zanuck down. I think Faye felt it was time to leave the screen anyways and wanted to devote more time to her home and family. Unfortunately she picked a dud film to return to the screen. She was the best thing about the STATE FAIR remake. But why oh why was she photographed so unflatteringly in this film? Watching later clips of Faye on her television appearances as posted on YouTube, she looks absolutely radiant as well as beautiful. I met Miss Faye several times, and she was always sweet about autographing photos.

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I just wonder what part Zanuck had intended for (Alice Faye) in "The Razor's Edge"?


According to Matthew Kennedy's bio of the director in Edmund Goulding's Dark Victory, the part that Zanuck dangled in front of Alice Faye was that of Sophie MacDonald, the showy role that eventually won Anne Baxter an Oscar.


BTW, your fond profile of Ms. Faye makes me realize that few of her films have been shown on TCM, alas--though she does pop up in other spots on cable and a few more of her movies seem to be on dvd in the last few years. I love her way with a ballad. A very nicely done piece of work, Mongo. Thank you.

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Once Alice Faye gave up those Harlow brows and grew them in...my gosh she's gorgeous. Wonderful color shot below, Mongo. How the heck did the bombastic Phil Harris ever get a honey like her???


I remember seeing her interviewed and asked what it was like to kiss Tyrone Power. She responded: "it was like dying and going to heaven." Hmmm.


And Edgecliff...you actuallyMET her? God you lucky dawg!!!!


Thanxx again Mongo!

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In the Spotlight: JAMES GLEASON




One of the most recognizable and popular of the old character actors, James Austin Gleason was born on May 23, 1882 in New York City, the son of parents, William Gleason and Mina Crolius, who operated a theatre stock company.

He was carried on stage at the age of two, then performed around the country with numerous touring and stock companies, so he was destined to become an actor.

After returning as a veteran of the Spanish-American War he took up the profession but was again interrupted by World War I.


He then returned to Broadway and in the mid-20s began writing a number of plays and musicals which were actually produced.

Gleason co-wrote "The Broadway Melody", the second film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and had a small uncredited role in it. He also co-wrote and briefly appeared as a hot dog vendor in the 1934 Janet Gaynor vehicle "Change of Heart". He was also a dialogue coach.


Affectionately called Jimmy Gleason, with his New York accent, lean and wiry physique and wisecracking style, he most often was cast as a tough but warm-hearted type. Almost always sporting a suit and a fedora and with his flatly toned voice, he was a gem among character actors. He was most often a good guy; a reporter, detective, cab driver or Runyonesque type.


He made his film debut in 1922 and in 1928 starred regularly in films. Always the tough, but lovable, New Yorker, he appeared in an impressive listing of films including:

"Meet John Doe", "Babes on Broadway", "A Guy Named Joe", "Once Upon a Time", "Arsenic and Old Lace", "The Bishop's Wife" as a cabbie, "When My Baby Smiles at Me", "Key to the City", "Come Fill the Cup" with Cagney, "Suddenly" with Sinatra, "Loving You" with Elvis", "The Last Hurrah" with Spencer Tracy.


He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as boxing manager Max 'Pop' Corkle in the 1941 film, "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" with Robert Montgomery.


He also played a milk cart driver who gives lessons in marriage to Judy Garland and Robert Walker in the 1945 film, "The Clock", while Lucile Gleason played his wife. In the same year he played the bartender in the film adaptation of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn".


Gleason is also remembered for playing police Inspector Oscar Piper in a series of Hildegarde Withers mystery films during the 1930s (which first starred Edna May Oliver in the role of the schoolteacher detective in three films. Helen Broderick starred in one, and Zasu Pitts finished out the series with two movies.


He was married to actress Lucile Webster in 1905 and they had a son Russell also an actor. The trio appeared in a comedy series of movies about the adventures of the Higgins family.

Sadly their son Russell died from an accidental fall from a hotel window in 1945 at age 37, leaving behind a wife and a child. Lucile Gleason past away in 1947.


We lost Jimmy on April 12, 1959 in Woodland Hills, California of complications of asthma at age 76.

He was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.


The grand character actor has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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