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"In the Spotlight"

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Hi Mongo, What a lovely photo of Van and Frances with baby Vana. While making "Shane", Van and Alan Ladd became close friends. Van always believed that Alan was underrated as an actor, and Alan turned to him in times of trouble,

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Thanks for featuring Van Heflin in your spotlight, Mongo.


I was delighted to discover that *The Three Musketeers* (1948) was on TCM last weekend (and is currently on TCM on Demand on Time Warner Digital Cable). This movie not only features *Gene Kelly* at his most rambunctious as a youthful D'Artagnan, (in a performance that is a fitting homage to his boyhood hero, Douglas Fairbanks), but *Van Heflin* as the secretly heartbroken Athos, and *Lana Turner* as Lady de Winter are both terrific in this movie. Too bad the latter two didn't work together more often. Clearly he brought out an interesting quality in the actress, (who was a fine villainess in this movie).


While his work continued to be interesting as movies changed, it sometimes seems as though the playful quality and depth that Heflin could bring to his work left him by the 1960s. Do you think that Van Heflin was chagrined by the coarseness of newer movies or was he more deeply affected by some personal disappointments later in his life and career? Thank you for any light that you may shed on this aspect of his work.

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Cashette, thanks for the additional info regarding Alan Ladd. Also glad that you appreciatd the picture of Heflin with his family.


Moira, your most welcome, it was my pleasure to put Van Heflin 'In the Spotlight'.


I found this article in Classic Images that may shed some light on Heflin's change of heart toward acting later in his career.


By the 1960s the production code was starting to crumble and as an actor looking for work, Heflin was forced to go along with the trend.. Movies became much more graphic in sex, violence, and language. Even earlier, in 1963, Heflin played a rapist in the Philippines in "Cry Of Battle" (1963).

Audiences were changing too, and the youth market was targeted by Hollywood. With The "Big Bounce" (1969), producers tried to capitalize Ryan O?Neal?s puppy dog charm with Leigh Taylor-Young?s ?60s? sensuality. Heflin plays "Sam" a justice of the peace who picks up drifter O?Neal and sets the plot in motion. The caliber of the movie is shown in the last scene when Taylor-Young gives O?Neil "the finger." Luckily, Heflin didn?t have to end his career with a rude gesture.

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Mongo, Mongo, Mongo, that's part of the set of pictures of the "Kings of Hollywood" that I mentioned. I'm sure that was taken on the same night as the glorious picture of those men in their capes and tails.


Beautiful, Thanks as always...

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In the Spotlight: BARBARA HALE




The charming and soft-spoken actress was born on April 18, 1922 in DeKalb, Illinois, the daughter of Willa and Luther Ezra Hale, who was a landscape gardener. She has Scottish-Irish ancestry.


Shortly after Barbara's birth, her parents moved to Rockford with her and her elder sister Juanita, who was born in 1913. Here, the actress grew up and started to take lessons in ballet and tap dancing at the age of twelve. Barbara also started to participate in local theater plays. Already, during her time in school, she discovered her talent and interest in painting. That's why Barbara decided to enroll in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts after her graduation from high school in Rockford.


Her life in Chicago was more difficult than expected and the competition at the Academy of Fine Arts was huge. Barbara's aim was to work for the advertising industry, but she realized fast that it was a tough business. Thereupon, she started to concentrate on working as a model. She collected first experiences while posing for a comic strip named "Ramblin' Bill."


Shortly after that, Barbara coincidentally met the head of the Chicago Model Bureau, who was so enthusiastic about his new discovery that he sent photos to RKO Studios. An audition was arranged and eventually Barbara signed a stock contract and went on to California.


After some small parts Hale's first big performance was in "Higher and Higher" (1944) opposite Frank Sinatra. After that, supporting roles followed, in "The Falcon out West" (1944) and "First Yank Into Tokyo" (1945).

Starting from these first successes in B-Movies, she began to steadily establish her reputation. New opportunities for Barbara showed up so that she could prove her talent as an actress. Besides appearing in Westerns like "West of the Pecos" (1945), "Lone Hand" with Joel McCrea (1951) and "Last of the Commanches" (1952), she also took miscellaneous roles in Dramas and Comedies.

Although she never became a major star, she was very good in films like 1946's "Lady Luck" opposite Robert Young and Frank Morgan as well as "The Boy with Green Hair", "Jolson Sings Again", 1949's "The Window" with Bobby Driscoll, beside James Stewart in "The Jackpot" an underrated comedy, and a unusual role as Zoe in "The Houston Story".

In 1970 she played the wife of a cheating Dean Martin in "Airport".


Hale played a significant role as the loyal and knowledgeable secretary in the "Perry Mason" series with Raymond Burr that ran from 1957 to 1966 and was reprised in a number of television movies afterwards. The show was so successful that the actress's contribution was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was nominated for the Emmy Award twice, in 1959 and 1961, winning in 1959.


In 1946 she married actor Bill Williams, a union that produced two daughters and actor William Katt and four grandchildren.

The marriage lasted for forty-six years until his death in 1992 from brain cancer. Hale herself has survived several bouts of cancer.

She has also been a spokeswoman for Amana appliances. She is an adherent of the Bah?'? Faith.


At 86, the lovely Barbara Hale is retired and resides in Palm Desert, California.


Miss Hale has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Thanks for turning your spotlight on Barbara Hale!


I live in the neighborhood here in the Valley where she and her husband raised their children


It's a great neighborhood and according to some historians, she and hubby were one of the first to move into the neighborhood when it was first built.

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Lynn, thanks for sharing that info wih us. It's no doubt that Barbara Hale and her husband Bill Williams were a loving couple and and enjoyed family life. Rare in Hollywood.

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