Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who's Who This Week In Pictures

Elissa Landi, who acts the principal role in "Devil's Lottery" at the Roxy Theater, is a Venetian, but was brought up in England. Her mother is the Countess Zenardi-Landi. Before taking to the stage and screen seriously, she wrote two novels, "Neilson" and "The Helmers." She joined an English stock company at Oxford in order to secure material for the writing of plays. After minor parts, she scored in the leading feminine role in “Storm,” and later played in “Lavender Ladies,” “The Constant Nymph” and “The Stag.” She left the stage for motion pictures and appeared in eight film productions made in England, France and Sweden. In January, 1930, she appeared with Adolphe Menjou in a French picture, “My Kind of a Father.” Miss Landi went to Hollywood in the Fall of 1930, and has appeared in the films “Body and Soul,” “Always Good-bye,” “Wicked” and “The Yellow Ticket.”

Alexander Kirkland, also in “Devil's Lottery,” was born in Mexico City. He was educated at Taft School, Waterbury, Conn., and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The stage attracted him, and he made his debut in “R. U. R.,” a New York Theater Guild production. Remaining with the Theater Guild for two years, he appeared in several plays, including “Yellow Jacket,” “Month in the
Country,” “l'Aignon,” “Marseillaise” and “Wings Over Europe.”

On a vacation trip to the West he got as far as Hollywood, where he drifted into the motion picture field. He has appeared in such screen works as “Surrender,” "Charlie Chan's Chance” and “Almost Married.” Mr. Kirkland's father is an attorney in Mexico City. His grandfather was Rear Admiral Kirkland of the United States Navy.

Barbara Stanwyck, the stellar performer in “Shopworn,” the feature at the Paramount, was christened Ruby Stevens. She developed into a graceful dancer as time went by, and being forced to earn her own living, through being left an orphan, she worked as a telephone operator for two years, after which she was employed in the pattern room of the Conde Nast Publications. She latter applied for a position as typist for a music publishing concern. While waiting to see the manager she heard some people talking about the revue then being rehearsed on the Strand Roof, and this she joined. Next, she was in the chorus of “Keep Cool,” known for the first time as Barbara Stanwyck. After stage experience in “The Noose” and “Burlesque,” she took up screen acting. Her first part was in “Behind Locked Doors,” but it was her role in “Ladies of Leisure” that brought her a contract with Columbia. Since then she has acted in “Ten Cents a Dance,” “The Miracle Woman” and “Forbidden.”

Lucien Littlefield, who takes an important part in “Shopworn,” was born at San Antonio, Texas. After appearing in stock shows he went to Hollywood, where he played first in “Rose of the Rancho.” He has been seen in “Tom Sawyer,” “Scandal Sheet,” “Reducing,” “Queen of Main Street,” “No, No, Nanette” and 'Young as You Feel.”

Zasu Pitts, the comedienne, who also appears in “Shopworn,” was born at Parsons, Texas, and reached the screen via amateur theatricals. She first appeared in “The Little Princess” and other parts without any marked attention. But when von Stroheim cast her in the feminine lead in “Greed” she was hailed as a clever actress. Since then she has contributed to the success of “The Big House,” “The Squall,” “Seed,” “War Nurse,” “The Secret Witness” and other productions.

In “Ladies of the Jury,” at the Mayfair, Edna May Oliver takes one of the leading parts. Miss Oliver was born at Boston and educated there. She began her stage career as an opera singer, but turned to the stage and appeared in her first Broadway role with Arnold Daly. Her successes include the plays, “Cradle Snatchers” and “Show Boat.” In the motion pictures she has won favor in “Cimarron” and “Laugh and Get Rich.”

Marian Marsh, a featured player in “Beauty and the Boss,” now at the Strand, was born in Trinidad, her real name being Violet Krauth. She says that she is a mixture of English, Irish, French and German. When she was a child her parents came to America and lived in Springfield, Mass., Boston, New York and latterly Hollywood. Her sister is Jean Morgan, also a film player, She took Marian to a studio to have a test made. Marian then appeared in minor parts in several films, and, for a brief period, she was on the stage, playing in “Young Sinners,” Miss Marsh's favorite role is that of Trilby in “Svengali.” To keep physically fit, Miss Marsh plays tennis, skates, rides horseback, swims and dances. Miss Marsh is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 102 pounds. Her most recent pictures include “Five Star Final,” “The Road to Singapore,” “The Mad Genius,” “Under Eighteen” and “Alias the Doctor.”

Charles Butterworth, who is also to be seen in “Beauty and the Boss,” was born at South Bend, Ind., the son of a physician. His career had been mapped out for the law, but the college theatricals took his mind to the stage. He made an immediate hit as a comedian , but kept to the amateur stage. After having over come an early childhood ambition to become a piano tuner, Mr. Butterworth drifted into journalism for a brief spell and worked for a while on The South Bend Times. Then he went to New York and worked for a while on The New York Times. He became acquainted with J. P. McEvoy, who, after hearing Mr. Butterworth reciting “A Day at the Rotary Club,” engaged him for his revue, “Americana.” This was Mr. Butterworth's first professional theatrical test and he soon followed up his early success in such Broadway plays as “Allez Oop,” “Good Boy” and “Sweet Adeline.” After this last hit he was engaged by Warner Brothers and went to Hollywood.

Of his likes and dislikes Mr. Butterworth has said that his favorite picture is “Custer's Last Fight,” which he saw in the good old days in the saloons, and that his present ambition is to guess his weight on a penny slot machine. But he is more serious when he speaks of music, for which he has a genuine passion.

Mr. Butterworth wrote recently: “My hobbies are bobbing for apples, reading pamphlets, watching water go over a dam, and watching men hoist safes into high office windows. I feel terrible most of the time. I have spots before my eyes, but perhaps no one has noticed them. My heart pounds rather badly after running up twelve flights of stairs. I have an aunt in Flint, Mich., who wears birds on her hats.” Mr. Butterworth's latest pictures include “Life of the Party,” “Illicit,” “Fame,” “The Mad Genius” and “Side Show.”

Warren William went into picture work comparatively recently. He was born at Aitkin, Minn., his father being a newspaper man. The reputed lure of journalism, however, had no fascination for the younger William, and he expressed a desire to become a marine engineer. When the war broke out he joined up. And when he returned he drifted to the stage, having taken a part in army theatricals in France. He has acted in Ibsen and Strindberg plays.


Juliette. said...

'Twas super cool reading about an early Barbara Stanwyck. Lovely pictures.

GAH1965 said...

And hard to picture her as a dancer, since she's so known for drama rather than anything musical.

diane said...

It was interesting reading about
the lovely Elissa Landi. Apparently
the fan magazines of the day placed
much emphasis on the facts that she
had royal blood and that she not
only read but had written books.
Unfortunately it turned the movie
going public off - they thought
she was too high brow!!
"Beauty and the Boss" was a super
little pre-code film. Marian Marsh
played a mousey little secretary
(as if she could be anything but
beautiful) who becomes beautiful to
impress her boss (Warren William).

Mary said...
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