Saturday State Post: Classic Movie Actors from Connecticut

It was my intention to publish this state post last Saturday, which was during the week of Katharine Hepburn’s 104th birthday, but I wasn’t able to get it done in time. So although I’m a bit late, this week’s post is in honor of Katharine’s birthday and will highlight movie stars from her home state of Connecticut. To add a little something different, this week I decided to also list my personal favorite from the filmography of each actor.

A few of the actors and actresses from the state of Connecticut are:

Katharine Hepburn

Born:  May 12, 1907 in Hartford, CT

Died:  June 29, 2003 (age 96)

Married once

Known for the Movies:  Morning Glory, Little Women, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Adam’s Rib, The African Queen, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Wow, looking at her filmography, I could have gone on and on with this list, but these are just a few of the highlights.)

My Favorite Katharine Hepburn Movie:  The Philadelphia Story
Interesting Facts About Katharine Hepburn:

  • Despite holding the record for the most Oscars with four, she never attended the Academy Awards ceremony as a nominee. She did attend once in 1974 to present an award to her friend, Lawrence Weingarten.
  • She claimed to have never watched the movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, the last movie she made with Spencer Tracy, because the memories it would evoke of him were too painful.
  • She served as Maid of Honor at the wedding of Vivien Leigh and Lawrence Olivier in 1940.

Robert Mitchum

Born:  August 6, 1917 in Bridgeport, CT

Died:  July 1, 1997 (age 79)

Married once – for 57 years until his death in 1997

Known for the Movies:  Crossfire, Out of the Past, Holiday Affair, Where Danger Lives, The Night of the Hunter (I consider this to be one of the scariest movies ever! I had a difficult time watching it.)

My Favorite Robert Mitchum Movie:  Holiday Affair (What can I say? I’m a sucker for Christmas movies!)

Interesting Facts About Robert Mitchum:

  • He turned down the role of George S. Patton in the movie Patton, and recommended George C. Scott to the producers of the film. Scott went on to star in the role and win the Academy Award for best actor, which he declined.
  • Two of his hobbies were playing the saxophone (just like me) :-) and writing poetry.
  • He died one day before Jimmy Stewart, who was his co-star in the movie The Big Sleep.

Ernest Borgnine

Born:  January 24, 1917 in Hamden, CT

Still living

Married 5 times including once to the actress Ethel Merman

Known for the Movies:  Marty, McHale’s Navy, The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch

My Favorite Ernest Borgnine Movie: Marty


Interesting Facts About Ernest Borgnine:

  • He was in the Navy for 10 years before he started his acting career.
  • From the early 1970’s until 2002, he often performed as the “Grand Clown” in the Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • He became the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor to still be alive on his 90th birthday. As of the date of this post, he is 94 years old.

Rosalind Russell

Born:  June 4, 1907 in Waterbury, CT

Died:  November 28, 1976 (age 69)

Married once – for 35 years until her death in 1976

Known for the Movies:  The Women, His Girl Friday, My Sister Eileen, Auntie Mame

My Favorite Rosalind Russell Movie: His Girl Friday (This is one of my favorite movies in general – what a great pairing with Cary Grant!)


Interesting Facts About Rosalind Russell:

  • She won the Golden Globe award all five times she was nominated, a record she shared with Meryl Streep until Streep won a sixth in 2007.
  • She refused to be put in the Supporting Actress category for her role in the movie Picnic, an award many people felt she would have won had she accepted the nomination.
  • She was introduced to her husband Frederick Brisson by Cary Grant. Grant served as Best Man at their wedding.

Ed Begley

Born:  March 25, 1901 in Hartford, CT

Died:  April 28, 1970 (age 69)

Married 3 times – he was married to his first wife (mother of Ed Begley, Jr.) for 35 years until her death in 1957

Known for the Movies:  12 Angry Men, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

My Favorite Ed Begley Movie: 12 Angry Men

Interesting Facts About Ed Begley:

  • He was the father of Ed Begley, Jr., perhaps best known for his role in the television show St. Elsewhere.
  • He left home at age 11 and took several odd jobs before starting his career on Broadway as a teenager.

Gary Merrill

Born:  August 2, 1915 in Hartford, CT

Died:  March 5, 1990 (age 74)

Married twice including once to the actress Bette Davis

Known for the Movies:  Twelve O’Clock High, All About Eve, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Decision Before Dawn

My Favorite Gary Merrill Movie:  All About Eve
Interesting Facts About Gary Merrill:

  • He adopted two children, Margot and Michael, with his then wife Bette Davis. Their daughter was named after Davis’ character Margot Channing in All About Eve.
  • After divorcing Bette Davis, he was in a relationship with Rita Hayworth, and later wrote his autobiography entitled Bette, Rita, and the Rest of My Life.

What is your favorite movie from these actors?

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  1. John says:

    Rosalind Russell was a unique actress. She had that “tough broad” exterior. She could rub people the wrong way. However, I really enjoyed her in His Girl Friday with Cary Grant. The rapid fire dilaogue is a one of kind treat and I doubt anybody could make a film like this today.

    There was a certain honesty in the way people talked back then, no phoniness. Straight, direct and to the point. Getting back to the film HGF, my favorite scene is when character actor Billy Gilbert is delivering a message. He practically steals the film with his few minutes of screen time. Billy Gilbert was great in all the Laurel and Hardy films especially THE MUSIC BOX (30 min. short). The greatest 30 minutes of comedy you will ever see.

    I wonder if you have ever seen Rosalind Russell in the film ROUGHLY SPEAKING? It is a hidden gem with Jack Carson. It starts out real slow but when she remarries Carson’s character things really take off. It is about a woman’s life and all the obstacles she faces and overcomes. Russell was definitely the actress to play this part.

  2. John says:

    Robert Mitchum was the definition of cool to me.Two of his films really stand out to me: The Charles Laughton directed Night Of The Hunter and Cape Fear. He is the definition of sleazy and evil in both these films. Especially in Cape Fear. He gives a fine villainous portrayal of a con harssing the lawyer(Gregory Peck) who had put him away. It was a really gripping film. Deniro’s remake is good but just can’t touch the original Peck/Mitchum masterpiece.

    I also enjoyed him in a Christmas film he did with Janet Leigh but the name escapes me right now.