For this week’s entry in my Saturday State Post series, I chose the state of Kentucky because it is the home state of an actress I’ve recently been learning more about, Patricia Neal.
As I mentioned in my post about movie podcasts, I’ve been listening to interviews that were conducted by Turner Classic Movies’ host Robert Osborne as part of the TCM series called Private Screenings. I found the interview he did with Patricia Neal to be very inspirational, and I admire the courage she showed in dealing with the many difficulties in her life, some of which you can read more about below.
A few of the actors and actresses from the state of Kentucky are:
Born: December 20, 1898 in Louisville, KY
Died: September 4, 1990 (age 91)
Married once for 27 years until her husband’s death in 1965
Known for the Movies: Cimarron, Roberta, Show Boat, Theodora Goes Wild, The Awful Truth, Love Affair, My Favorite Wife, Penny Serenade, Life with Father, I Remember Mama
My Favorite Irene Dunne Movie: The Awful Truth
Interesting Facts About Irene Dunne:
- Her mother was a concert pianist and music teacher, and Irene said that growing up, “music was as natural as breathing in our house.” She attended the Chicago Music College, graduating with honors in 1926.
- Cary Grant called her the finest comedienne he had ever worked with. According to Irene, Grant told her that she “had perfect timing in comedy and that I was the sweetest-smelling actress he ever worked with.”
- She was good friends with actress Loretta Young. Both devout Catholics, they often attended Mass together.
Born: May 23, 1928 in Maysville, KY
Died: June 29, 2002 (age 74)
Married three times although two of her marriages were to the same man, actor and director José Ferrer
Known for the Movies: Here Come the Girls, Red Garters, White Christmas
My Favorite Rosemary Clooney Movie: White Christmas
Interesting Facts About Rosemary Clooney:
- She campaigned for Senator Robert F. Kennedy in his run for President and was in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles when he was assassinated in 1968.
- In 1997 she married her long time companion, dancer and former co-star Dante DiPaolo, who she had dated before eloping with José Ferrer in 1953.
- She had five children with husband José Ferre. Their son Gabriel is married to singer Debby Boone.
Born: December 10, 1903 in Covington, KY
Died: January 2, 1986 (age 82)
Known for the Movies: Abraham Lincoln, Private Lives, 42nd Street, The Merry Widow, Evelyn Prentice, Destry Rides Again, The Parent Trap, Summer and Smoke
My Favorite Una Merkel Movie: 42nd Street
Interesting Facts About Una Merkel:
- She was once a stand-in for Lillian Gish because of her resemblance to the actress, the most notable time being for the silent film The Wind (1928).
- She often worked on Broadway early in her career and returned to the stage after her film career started to decline in the 1940′s. In 1956, she won a Tony Award for her role in the play The Ponder Heart.
Born: January 20, 1926 in Packard, KY
Died: August 8, 2010 (age 84)
Married once for 30 years to author Roald Dahl
Known for the Movies: The Fountainhead, The Hasty Heart, The Day the Earth Stood Still, A Face in the Crowd, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hud
My Favorite Patricia Neal Movie: The Fountainhead
Interesting Facts About Patricia Neal:
- In the Private Screenings interview with Robert Osborne, she told the story of how she got her distinctive husky voice; when she was 3 or 4 a neighbor started choking her and she screamed loudly for help, finally being rescued by her mother.
- In 1960 her son Theo suffered severe neurological damage when his stroller was struck by a taxi, and in 1962 her daughter Olivia died at age 7 of measles encephalitis.
- In 1965 while pregnant with her daughter Lucy, she suffered a series of strokes that left her in a coma for three weeks. At one point she was not expected to live, but she survived and with the help of her husband Roald Dahl, learned to walk and talk again. In 1981, the story of her illness and recovery was made into a tv movie called The Patricia Neal Story.
Born: January 29, 1913 in Louisville, KY
Died: August 4, 1999 (age 86)
Married five times
Known for the Movies: I Wake Up Screaming, My Darling Clementine, Kiss of Death, Cry of the City, Samson and Delilah, The Robe
My Favorite Victor Mature Movie: Kiss of Death
Interesting Facts About Victor Mature:
- Like many other actors, he started his acting career at the Pasadena Community Playhouse, where he appeared in over 60 plays.
- He retired from acting in 1959 to pursue his love for golf, but came back several years later and appeared in a few additional films.
- He appeared in both the film and television versions of Samson and Delilah, in 1949 and 1984 respectively, but played different roles. He played Samson in the film version and Samson’s father in the tv version.
For my next post in the series, I will be covering my neighbor to the south, Illinois.