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Whatever happened to 50's actress Norma Randall?


falsealarms
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I'm a researcher with The Three Stooges Journal, and along with a few others, I research supporting players who were in the Stooge films. Specifically, we concentrate on those who dropped off the map long ago and whose fates remain a mystery.

 

Easily the biggest mystery is Norma Randall, who was in three Stooges shorts from 1953-1954. The usual sources, like IMDB and TCMDB, are of no help. But maybe someone here knows something. Leads have been known to be unexpected.

 

The Journal publishes mini-bios on supporting players in each issue, and those are hard to complete without sufficient info.

 

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Something I wrote earlier this year, discussing our ongoing search for the actress.

 

Norma Randall is by far the most frustrating case for people like me who research lost supporting players from the Three Stooges films.

 

Unlike most "lost players," she could still be alive, and she was in multiple shorts. I've been researching her for two years without much luck, but others have been looking for her for much longer than that.

 

We've combed through census records, birth and death records, multiple genealogy sites, Variety's archives, newspaper archives, player directories, and even a fan magazine of the day.

 

We have asked some of Randall's contemporaries if they remember her, but none do. Our search has even been plugged by Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Tonight), Frank Thompson (The Commentary Track podcast), and Stu Shostak (Stu's Show).

 

"I'm as curious as any other Stooge fan," Maltin wrote.

 

*WHAT WE DO KNOW*

 

On January 28th 1953, Variety reported that "Norma Randall, 21-year-old grad of local little theaters, has been inked to a term contract by Columbia." The "local little theaters" is a likely reference to the Los Angeles area, but nothing has been found in that direction.

 

If she was 21-years-old in early 1953, it would dispute the September 5th 1930 birthdate listed at the Internet Movie Database. Where IMDB obtained that birthdate is a mystery.

 

In early March 1953, Randall was chosen "queen" of the California International Flowers Show.

 

On April 27th 1953, Randall was busy filming Musty Musketeers, a remake of an earlier Stooge short called Fiddlers Three (1948). The next day, Randall was back in front of the camera working on another Stooges remake, Pals and Gals, a re-do of 1947's Out West. Both Musty Musketeers and Pals and Gals would be in the can for a year as neither were released until well into 1954.

 

Randall's biggest Stooges role came in Spooks, a 3-D short filmed from May 11th-14th 1953. Ironically, Randall portrays a missing blonde who the Stooges find. Spooks was released a month after filming to capitalize on the then current 3-D craze.

 

On May 19th 1953, Randall was one of ten "stars of tomorrow" as honored at the American Legion Hollywood Post 43. Others honored included Roberta Haynes and Lisa Gaye.

 

Aside from her work with the Stooges, Randall had three other known film roles, all small roles in a trio of 1953 Columbia features, Cruisin Down The River (released August 1953), Mission Over Korea (released August 1953; filming began in February), and The Big Heat (released October 1953; filming began on March 17th).

 

When announcing that Randall was cast in The Big Heat, Variety touted her as a former USC co-ed, an angle which has never been substantiated. Another supporting player researcher, Frank Reighter, contacted USC a few years ago and there wasn't anyone named "Norma Randall" at the school around that time.

 

Someone reading a newspaper in the spring of 1953 probably saw a publicity photo of Randall after she was crowned "Miss Powered Flight" in honor of the 50th anniversary of powered flight. An image of her holding an miniature airplane appeared in countless newspapers across the country in the spring of 1953.

 

It appears as if Randall was active in Hollywood for only a matter of months in 1953. It looks like her six film roles were all shot in the first half of 1953. There is no known record of her prior to getting signed by Columbia and no record of her activities after mid-1953.

 

Norma Randall may be a stage name or maiden name. If alive today, Randall would likely be in her early 80's.

 

If anyone reading this knows anything about her, leave a comment below. No detail is too small.

 

PICTURE OF HER: http://threestooges.net/albums/cast/Norma%20Randall%20pair.jpg

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