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Obscure Actors


PsycheScribe
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Do you have a favorite actor or actress, a 'star' in your eyes, and unknown to everyone else? S/he, perhaps, starred or potrayed a character part in a handful of films, seemed to have that 'it' that attracts a viewer...and, strangely, lived in obscurity, his/her/their career not taking off. (Even an extra crossing the screen can be included.) International or Hollywood, old or new, it would be a pleasure to hear about our obscure favorites.

 

Suggestions, anyone?...

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Someone that comes to mind is Barbara Pepper. She and Lucille Ball began in Hollywood about the same time, and Lucy never forgot her friends. Barbara never did anything more than play bit parts, but Lucy used her in numerous episodes of I Love Lucy. Sometimes she would just be in the background, other times she had some lines of dialog. That says a lot for Lucy, doesn't it?

 

Terrence.

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His name also came up-by me-on the Twilight Zone thread where somebody mistook him for Dom Deluise and I tried to set things straight. He was in several TZ episodes and even played an outlaw on Maverick. I always thought he and Jack Weston were dead ringers-looks and voice- and I usually had to look twice to see which one was on the screen. Another thing they had in common was that both were fine actors.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jacques Sernas was selected by director Robert Wise in 1955 to play the part of Paris in his foray into the epic genre "Helen of Troy." Wise wanted the cast to be unknown to American viewers so that his characters would not carry baggage from other films. Although Sernas spoke English as well as several other languages fluently, his voice and those of his costars Rossana Podesta and Brigitte Bardot were dubbed as the rest of the cast were British.

Under contract to Warner's, Hollywood did not know what to do with Sernas, he made a couple of very brief support role appearances and a couple of tv anthology stories, one opposite Natalie Wood and then returned to France where he continued to make many French and Italian films. He certainly was not obscure in Europe, but remains fairly obscure in the U.S. where most of his susbsequent films are still largely unknown accept for a brief cameo satire of himself as a film actor idol in Fellini's "La Dolce Vita."

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Jacques Sernas was selected by director Robert Wise in 1955 to play the part of Paris in his foray into the epic genre "Helen of Troy." Wise wanted the cast to be unknown to American viewers so that his characters would not carry baggage from other films. Although Sernas spoke English as well as several other languages fluently, his voice and those of his costars Rossana Podesta and Brigitte Bardot were dubbed as the rest of the cast were British.

Under contract to Warner's, Hollywood did not know what to do with Sernas, he made a couple of very brief support role appearances and a couple of tv anthology stories, one opposite Natalie Wood and then returned to France where he continued to make many French and Italian films. He certainly was not obscure in Europe, but remains fairly obscure in the U.S. where most of his susbsequent films are still largely unknown accept for a brief cameo satire of himself as a film actor idol in Fellini's "La Dolce Vita."

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  • 3 months later...

Frederick Sullivan, the nephew of Arthur Sullivan (the second half of Gilbert and Sullivan), had many bit parts in the 1930s before his death in 1937. He has earned some latter-day infamy for his part in *DUCK SOUP*, in which the actor, who looked *a lot* like Saddam Hussein, sings the lines, "Freedonia's going to war/ Each native son will grab a gun/ And run away to war."

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Terrence1, I totally remember Barbara Pepper walking through the ladies room at the final scenes of "THE WOMEN." But I mostly remember her as Mrs. Ziffel from "GREEN ACRES."

 

PsycheScribe one of my favorite actresses may not quite be obscure...her name is known to real movie buffs. But she's not a name like Bette Davis or Susan Hayward. But I'm a real fan of MARGARET LINDSAY.

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Robert Williams----- the awesome lead actor in PLATINUM BLONDE who died way too young. I LOVE him, and no one else knows him, and those that do forget what his name is. You Philistines!

 

There are other character actors I adore that aren't obscure exactly but definitely do not get enough credit. One is Ward Bond. He is incredible and so underappreciated. WARD BOND FOREVER!!!

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Terrence--Lucy wanted Barbara to play Ethel--But Desi had already cast William Frawley, a known drunk. So casting him opposite another known drunk was not feasible. Other people wouldn't use Frawley for that reason. But Desi had no trouble with him. And Lucy got Barbara other jobs on CBS shows--I've seen her on "Perry Mason" for one.

 

Barbara is most outstanding in the Butcher scene for the "Lucy and Ethel Buy a Freezer" show. By the way, my favorite show.

 

FYI--Barbara played the beautiful second lead in King Vidor's great classic, *Our Daily Bread*. and Terrence, that was no bit part!

 

Edited by: cujas on May 14, 2011 5:58 PM

 

Edited by: cujas on May 14, 2011 6:00 PM

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One of the "least known" but "most famous" actresses is Mae Marsh, the girl who jumped off the cliff in "Birth of a Nation".

 

She was in about 200 films, well into the 1960s, mainly playing small roles. I love to watch for her whenever one of her films is aired by TCM.

 

Some of her famous films were:

 

The Searchers (Dark Cloaked Woman at Fort Guarding Deranged Woman)

The Wings of Eagles (Nurse Crumley)

A Star is Born (1954) (Malibu Party Guest)

The Robe (Jerusalem Woman Aiding Demetrius)

Titanic (1953) (Woman to Whom young Norman Gave His Seat)

The Quiet Man (Father Paul's Mother)

3 Godfathers (Mrs. Perley Sweet)

The Snakepit (Tommy's Mother)

My Darling Clementine (Simpson's Sister)

The Grapes of Wrath (Muley's Wife)

Drums Along the Mohawk (Pioneer Woman)

Sergeant Rutledge (Mrs. Nellie Hackett)

While the City Sleeps (Mrs. Manners)

Donovan's Reef (Family Council Member)

Cheyenne Autumn (woman)

From the Terrace (Sandy's Governess)

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Cujas, thanks for informing me of some parts that Barbara Pepper played. I didn't mean to imply that she had never risen above bit parts. And that's interesting that Lucy wanted her to play Ethel. I think she would have been terrific in that role. I love all of her little bits on that show.

 

Terrence.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I never missed a chance to see Bethel Leslie in anything growing up but had almost forgotten her. She popped up on Wagon Train today and I was reminded of why I liked her work. Her beauty was more interesting than "raving" but perhaps that's why she was able to play so many varied roles from movies to soaps including Richard Boone's repotory company. She never failed to deliver.

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Bethel Leslie---there's a name I had almost forgotten. I remember seeing her in many TV shows and always thought she would become a major star in the movies. I don't recall seeing her in many movies, though, but always enjoyed seeing her. She had a very unique quality about her.

 

Terrence.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This week-end I watched a couple of old timers who really were but seemed to be in just about everything made in the 40's and 50's-Don Beddoe and Lloyd Corrigan. They did Western, gangster, drana and comedy roles with equal believability as good or bad guys. They deserve some praise.

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