Saturday State Post with a Twist: Classic Movie Actors from Europe/Asia

A list that doesn’t include Cary Grant, no matter the topic, just doesn’t seem right to me. So in this week’s Saturday State Post I’ll be mixing things up a little by venturing outside of the United States and into Europe and Asia. There are sooo many great actors and actresses including Cary Grant who were born in other countries that it only seemed fair to “bend the rules” a little bit and include them in my “state’ series.

A few of the actors and actresses from Europe and Asia are:

Claude Rains

Claude Rains

Born:  November 10, 1889 in Camberwell, London, England

Died:  May 30, 1967 (age 77)

Married six times

Known for the Movies:  Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Four Daughters, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Now Voyager, Casablanca, Mr. Skeffington, Notorious, Lawrence of Arabia

My Favorite Claude Rains Movie:  Casablanca

Interesting Facts About Claude Rains:

  • He once had a very serious Cockney accent and a speech impediment, which were corrected with the help of elocution lessons paid for by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, founder of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Rains later served as a teacher there before coming to Hollywood, with Laurence Olivier being his best known student.
  • He was one of Bette Davis’ favorite actors (she had great taste!), and they made four films together; Jaurez (1939) Now Voyager (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944) and Deception (1946).
  • Unlike many Hollywood actors, he is not buried in Hollywood but in New Hampshire, a state in which he lived for a brief time. He is buried at Red Hill Cemetery in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. You can read more about his burial place and see a few cool pictures including his headstone on J.W.’s blog Odd Things I’ve Seen. I would love to go visit the site myself someday.

Charles Boyer Continue reading →

Saturday State Post: Classic Movie Actors from the Carolinas

This week’s Saturday State Post highlights actors and actresses from both North and South Carolina. I am combining both in one post, not because I think they aren’t worthy of being covered individually, but I just simply could not find enough familiar names from South Carolina to fill a separate post.

A few of the actors and actresses from North and South Carolina are:

Actress Esther Dale

Esther Dale

Born: November 10, 1885 in Beaufort, SC

Died: July 23, 1961 (age 75)

Married Once

Known for the Movies: Curly Top, Fury, The Awful Truth, The Mortal Storm, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Holiday Affair, The Egg and I, Monkey Business

My Favorite Esther Dale Movie: The Awful Truth


Interesting Facts About Esther Dale:

  • Before she became an actress, she studied music in Berlin, Germany and had a career as a lieder singer. The Encyclopedia Britannica can explain what that means better than I can. :-)
  • She appeared in three of the nine Ma and Pa Kettle films that were made following the success of the The Egg and I (1947), the movie in which the characters first appeared.

Actor Barton MacLaine

Barton MacLaine

Born: December 25, 1902 in Columbia, SC

Died: January 1, 1969  (age 66)

Married twice. He was married to his second wife Charlotte Wynters for 30 years.

Known for the Movies: High Sierra, Come Live With Me, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Glenn Miller Story

My Favorite Barton MacLaine Movie: The Glenn Miller Story Continue reading →

Saturday State Post: Classic Movie Actors from New Jersey

My inspiration for choosing which state to cover next in this series was Joan Bennett, who starred in a few movies I’ve watched recently including, Secret Beyond the Door (1947) earlier this week. She was born in the state of New Jersey so that is the state I’m covering today.

A few of the actors and actresses from the state of New Jersey are:

Actor Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell

Born: July 11, 1892 in Elizabeth, NJ

Died: December 17, 1962 (age 70)

Married twice

Known for the Movies: Lost Horizon, The Hurricane, Make Way for Tomorrow, Stagecoach, Only Angels Have Wings, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gone With the Wind, The Dark Mirror, It’s a Wonderful Life, High Noon

My Favorite Thomas Mitchell Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

Interesting Facts About Thomas Mitchell:

  • A very versatile performer, Thomas Mitchell worked on Broadway in various capacities for almost 20 years before starting his very successful film career. He then worked extensively on television in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.
  • When he won the Tony Award for his performance in the musical Hazel Flagg in 1953, he became the first actor to win the “triple crown” of acting awards. He had previously won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the movie Stagecoach (1939) and an Emmy for his performance as Father Devlin in The Good of His Soul on “The Ford Television Theatre” in 1953. Thomas Mitchell is the second actor I’ve featured in this series to have won the triple crown. Melvyn Douglas from my post about the state of Georgia also accomplished the feat in 1967.
  • In what is often considered the greatest year of movies, 1939, he starred in three of the films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Gone With the Wind. Continue reading →

Saturday State Post: Classic Movie Actors from Minnesota

For this week’s Saturday State Post, I decided to highlight some actors and actresses from my neighbor to the west, Minnesota since I recently watched a few movies with two of the actors on this list, Lew Ayres in Remember? (1939) and The Unfaithful (1947) and Warren William in The Case of the Howling Dog (1934).

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

Actor Warren William

Warren William

Born: December 2, 1894 in Aitkin, MN

Died: September 24, 1948 (age 53)

Married once – to his wife Helen for 25 years before his death in 1948

Known for the Movies: Three on a Match, Employees Entrance, Gold Diggers of 1933, Lady for a Day, Imitation of Life, Satan Met a Lady, The Wolf Man

My Favorite Warren William Movie: Three on a Match

Interesting Facts About Warren William:

  • He was the first actor to portray the character of defense attorney Perry Mason on the big screen, the first time was in the movie The Case of the Howling Dog (1934) which I recently watched on TCM. He played the character in a total of four movies.
  • He is sometimes referred to as “The King of Pre-Codes” because of his frequent portrayal of amoral, ruthless, and heartless businessmen in movies made in the early 1930s before the advent of the Production Code.
  • He was an amateur inventor who created items such as a lawn vacuum, a recreational vehicle, a rolling picnic table, and custom barbecue grills, receiving patents for a few of his inventions.
  • If you would like to learn more about Warren William, be sure to check out Cliff’s blog devoted solely to the actor! Continue reading →

Saturday State Post: Classic Movie Actors from Illinois

In this week’s Saturday State Post, I will be highlighting actors from my neighbor to the south, the state of Illinois, simply because there are so many great names to choose from.

And . . . I kind of like it that most of them were born in my favorite city in the whole world, Chicago, and one is from a city with the same name as one of my cats, Quincy. :-)

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

Beulah Bondi

Born: May 3, 1888 in Chicago, IL

Died: January 11, 1981 (age 92)

Never Married

Known for the Movies: The Gorgeous Hussy, Of Human Hearts, Make Way for Tomorrow, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Penny Serenade, It’s a Wonderful Life

My Favorite Beulah Bondi Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life Continue reading →