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"In the Spotlight"


bansi4

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In the Spotlight: MIRIAM HOPKINS

 

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She was known as "the Golden Girl" in the 1930s when she was a very popular star. Petite at 5' 3", lithe and lovely with golden hair, sleepy blue eyes and a trace of a southern accent she was most often cast as a brash floozy, bitchy blonde and even well-bred ladies.

 

Ellen Miriam Hopkins was born into wealth on October 18, 1902 in Savannah, Georgia, and raised in Bainbridge, a town in southwestern Georgia near the Alabama border.

She attended a finishing school in Vermont and later Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.

 

Studying dance in New York, she received her first taste of show business as a chorus girl at twenty. She appeared in local musicals before she began expanding her horizons by trying out dramatic roles four years later. By 1928, Hopkins was appearing in stock companies on the East Coast and her reviews were getting better after having been vilified earlier in her career.

In 1930, she decided to try the silver screen and signed with Paramount Studios, and made her official film debut in "Fast and Loose".

 

Her first great success was in Ernst Lubitsch's masterpiece "Trouble in Paradise" (1932), in which she proved her charm and her wit as a beautiful and jealous pickpocket. During the rest of the 1930s she appeared in such films as "The Smiling Lieutenant", "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", "Two Kinds of Women", "World and the Flesh", "The Story of Temple Drake", "Design for Living", "Barbay Coast", "Splendor", "These Three", and "Woman Chases Man".

 

She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress as "Becky Sharp" in 1935. It was one of the first full color films ever produced.

Hopkins was one of the actresses who auditioned to portray Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, having one advantage that no other leading lady had: she was a native Georgian; however she did not get the part, which went to Vivien Leigh, with Paulette Goddard close behind.

 

She also appeared in, "Virginia City" with Errol Flynn, "Lady with Red Hair" with Claude Rains, "The Heiress" (Golden Globe nominee best support), "The Children's Hour" (remake of "These Three"), "The Chase" with Brando, etc.

 

Hopkins had well-publicized fights with her arch-enemy Bette Davis (who had an affair with Hopkins?s then husband, diector Anatole Litvak), when they co-starred in their two films "The Old Maid" (1939) and "Old Acquaintance" (1943).

One of the scenes in "Old Acquaintance" which Davis admitted to enjoying very much was one where she shakes Hopkins hard. There were even press photos taken with both divas in boxing rings with gloves up and director Vincent Sherman between the two (wish I had a photo).

Although she was good friends with actress Kay Francis.

 

After "Old Acquaintance" Hopkins didn't work again in film until 1949's "The Heiress". In Mitchell Leisen's 1951's classic screwball comedy "The Mating Season" she gave a comic performance as Gene Tierney's over the top mother, Thelma Ritter also co-starred as Tierney's maid-mother in law.

 

Hopkins made only three films in the 1950's, but she had begun making appearances on television programs. She returned to the stage turning in a strong performance in the 1958 Pulitzer prize winning play "Look Homeward Angel".

 

She was married and divorced four times: first to actor Brandon Peters, second to aviator Austin Parker, third to the director Anatole Litvak, and fourth to war correspondent Raymond B. Brock.

In 1932, at a time when single-parent adoption was illegal in most states, she adopted a baby boy while between marriages. She adored her son, Michael, and always called him the most important man in her life.

 

She was also known for throwing wild parties that bordered on **** and engaging in a bisexual lifestyle, as chronicled in The book 'Sewing Circle'

 

Hopkins died in New York, on October 9, 1972 (aged 69) from a heart attack nine days before her 70th birthday.

She was laid to rest at Oak City Cemetery in

Bainbridge, Georgia.

 

She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for motion pictures, and one for television.

 

Quoted: "I'm a bad judge of a play or film. I turned down 'It Happened One Night'. It won Claudette Colbert an Oscar. I said it was just a silly comedy."

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I thought she would have made more films. I finally watched "The Story of Temple Drake" and I must say, she was fantastic. another good role was Ivy in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" What a waste of talent.

 

 

vallo

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I also wanted to speak of my appreciation for Miriam Hopkins. She's an actress that really captivates me.

 

I'd also like to speak of my appreciation for your thread, Joe. As long as your wonderful thread continues, you will hear this from me. Thank you for the enlightenment. Here's to many more "Spotlights."

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