When the suggestion was made to put together a Monday Quiz about today’s subject, Joe asked, “Denise Darcel? Really?”
You can’t blame him. Darcel’s movie career was all too brief (a mere 14 credits over 15 years), and although she appeared with some of the biggest stars of the late Forties and Fifties, her Hollywood days seemed over in a blink of an eye.
But that doesn’t mean that she is easily forgotten. She was French. She was warmly buxom. She was a sex symbol of the first order. And, she displayed those marvelous qualities in a wide range of show biz forums from late vaudeville to early television, night clubs, the stage and even light opera.
Darcel remains Frank’s amour fou — emblazoned in his 1950-ish sensibility via her appearance in one of MGM’s most profitable post-World War II films, 1949’s Battleground. Sparking even more interest were Darcel’s off-screen adventures.
She burned through five marriages, at least one highly publicized interracial affair, and at least one personal bankruptcy. Hard not to cherish this fille mauvaise.
So let’s try our Denice Darcel Quiz. You may surprise yourself by knowing more about this piquant French import than you had previously thought. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow.
1) Question: Darcel was hardly in the same league as Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, but she was part of a European talent infusion into Hollywood after World War II which did NOT include which one of the following? a) Corinne Calvet; b) Bella Darvi; c) Claudette Colbert; or d) Leslie Caron.
2) Question: Born in Paris in 1925 as Denise Billecard, Darcel took the time-honored beauty-contest-winner route to Hollywood. a) True; or b) False?
3) Question: Darcel was originally slated by Hollywood to be a singer, not an actress. a) True; or b) False.
4) Question: Darcel costarred with some of the biggest male stars of Fifties Hollywood. Which one of the following did she miss? a) Glenn Ford; b) Burt Lancaster; c) Gary Cooper; or d) Van Johnson.
5) Question: Which one of the following descriptions apply to both Darcel and Hedy Lamarr? a) Both came to Hollywood from Europe; b) Both were sexpots; c) Late in life both had trouble with the law over shoplifting allegations; and d) Both died in financially strained circumstances.
6) Question: In which of Esther Williams’ swimming pool extravaganzas did Darcel have a principal role?
7) Question: With which one of the following musicians did Darcel have an interracial affair? a) Count Basie; b) Lionel Hampton; c) Billy Eckstine; or d) Miles Davis?
8) Question: After her movie career was over Darcel turned to stripteasing to pay the bills. a) True; or b) False?
9) Question: Darcel turned up on American television (the DuMont network) in the mid-Fifties hosting what type of show? a) A What’s My Line? spinoff; b) A suggestive quiz show featuring newly married couples; c) An early financial advice show; or d) A current events program.
10) Question: Darcel ended her life working as a Las Vegas casino dealer. a) True; or b) False?