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"In the Spotlight"

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Roddy, Carol Lynley, Red Buttons, Ernest Borgnine & Stella Stevens in

"The Poseidon Adventure"



Roddy as Acres in "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972)


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A big THANK YOU again, Mongo!


R. McDowall is a favorite of mine. The two performance that stand out for me are

"How Green Was My Valley" and "The Planet of the Apes" series.


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In the Spotlight:




The talented actress was born as Jean Shirley Verhagen on August 3, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois, to a Dutch immigrant and his Chicago-born wife. The family moved to Elkhart, Indiana when she was 12 and she subsequently graduated from Elkhart High School.


After majoring in drama and music at Northwestern University, Jean Hagen went to New York, where she worked as an usherette by day and a radio actress by night, before making her Broadway debut in "Another Part of the Forest"in 1946.


In 1949, Hagen was one of several "new face" Broadway performers (including Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell and David Wayne) selected to appear in the supporting cast of the Tracy/Hepburn comedy "Adam's Rib"; she played the slatternly "other woman" who comes between Judy Holliday and Tom Ewell.

This led to a long-term MGM contract in which she co-starred in "Ambush" with Robert Taylor, "Side Street", a telling dramatic role as Sterling Hayden's doomed girlfriend in John Huston's "The Asphalt Jungle", "A Life of Her Own" with Lana Turner, and "Night Into Morning" with Ray Milland.


She is arguably best remembered for her comic performance in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952). As the vain and talentless silent movie star Lina Lamont, Hagen received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Jean seemed a shoo-in to win the award, but was beaten out by Gloria Grahame for "The Bad and the Beautiful". It was highway robbery.


MGM failed to provide her with a quality follow up role to enable her to build on her growing popularity and put her in, "Carbine Williams" with James Stewart, "Shadow in the Sky", "Arena", "Latin Lovers", "Half a Hero" with Red Skelton, and "The Big Knife" with an all star cast.



By 1953 she had joined the cast of TVs "Make Room for Daddy". As the first wife of Danny Thomas, Hagen received three Emmy Award nominations, but after three seasons she grew dissatisfied and left the series. Thomas, who also produced the show, didn't appreciate Jean's departing the successful series, and replaced her with a new wife without offering viewers any explanation.


Hagen later made a notable appearance as Frida Daniels in Disney's "The Shaggy Dog" (1959 film) starring with Fred MacMurray, followed by "Sunrise at Campobello", and "Panic in the Year Zero!".


Although she made frequent guest appearances in various television series, she was unable to successfully resume her film career, and for the remainder of her career played supporting roles, such as the friend of Bette Davis in the chiller "Dead Ringer" (1964).


In the 1960s Hagen's health began to decline and she spent many years hospitalized or in care.


Jean married actor/agent Tom Seidel in 1947 and had 2 sons. They divorced in 1965.


After undergoing radical surgery and cobalt treatment for throat cancer, Hagen valiantly attempted a comeback in character roles.

In 1976, she appeared in episodes of the television series "Starsky and Hutch" and "The Streets of San Francisco" .

She made her final film appearance in a 1977 television movie (Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn).


In 1977 Jean Hagen died at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital at the age of 54.

She was cremated at the Chapel Of The Pines Crematory in Los Angeles.


Her last appearance was released posthumously, a reprise of her role in "The Shaggy Dog" for the "The Wonderful World of Disney" in 1978.


The valiant actress has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to television.


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