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Florence Rice


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After watching Florence Rice earlier today in MGM's PARADISE FOR THREE, I looked at her fairly extensive list of credits. She worked for several major studios and appeared alongside many top-name celebrities of her day in film, radio and television. Yet today who has heard the name Florence Rice. And who knows just what kind of actress she may have been...?

 

This is what the IMDB says about her:

 

"She was everything you could want in a love interest -- pretty, wholesome, reliable, true-blue. Porcelain blonde Florence Rice would come to films in the mid-'30s but disappear within a decade, having made little of the impression she might have made."

 

Also: "Florence was overshadowed in most of her pictures by flashier dames or zany comedians." This line perhaps refers to working with the Marx Brothers in her most well-known film, AT THE CIRCUS.

 

She is also known for being paired with Robert Young six times in MGM programmers in the mid-to-late 1930s. Young supposedly said that Florence Rice was his favorite leading lady. In fact, he and his wife socialized with Rice and her husband for many years-- well after she had retired from show business and moved to Hawaii.

 

So why don't we know who Florence Rice is today? Is it because she was so good at playing the pretty lead in sparkling comedies that she was taken for granted and overlooked? Is it because she was put in modestly budgeted films and never given the chance to headline a bigger film? I don't think she had a bland personality-- she shows spunk in her roles. So why is she not better remembered?

 

Theories...?

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I'm not really familiar with Florence Rice, but I've seen her name in credits. Who knows? Many people just never made it big in Hollywood for any number of reasons (luck being one of them).........

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>Many people just never made it big in Hollywood

 

She didn't make it big, but she sure made a lot of films. Between 1934 and 1943, Florence Rice made 47 motion pictures. In over 90% of them, she is the female lead.

 

She seems to have started at Columbia, where she made 15 B films. She moved over to MGM, where she made 20 films-- a combination of B films, programmers and the occasional A picture, where she would be the second female lead. There were some loan-outs, and as a result she worked at every major studio in Hollywood, with the exception of Warners. After her contract at MGM ended, she free-lanced a bit (back at Columbia) and did a few low-budget entries at poverty row studios, before leaving the screen for good.

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>It's possible she was just happy to be working and didnt have a lot of ambition. There were some people who just saw it as a job.

 

That is possible. Probably when she found happiness with her last husband she had less ambition to be a big screen actress-- she was 36 when she left the movies. She did not appear on any television shows.

 

She was very busy during her Hollywood career. In her peak period, she made up to eight films a year-- and I would bet she did a lot of radio shows, too. Although many of her movies were B films, these were not small parts she had. My guess is she may have suffered from burn-out, and then she had reached an age where she was no longer being offered lead roles so she just decided to quit while she was ahead.

 

I am sure there is a story here, and if anyone knows about Florence Rice's life from first-hand experience (as a relative or friend of her family) please feel free to comment on this thread.

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