Without Sonja Henie there would have been no Esther Williams. Think about it. She invented the concept of the movies being built around a particular athletic skill.
Still in all, it might be something of a stretch for contemporary audiences to fully comprehend how in the Thirties and Forties ice skating skills could propel actresses to the heights of Hollywood box office fame.
With all due respect to the magnificent Williams, there was no better example of this phenomenon than our Monday Quiz subject Sonja Henie, a 10-time world champion ice skater who was perhaps the best known non-movie personality of 1938 when she was discovered by 20th Century Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck.
Henie’s movie have become immersed in the fog of Hollywood history, but they remain upbeat and enjoyable. Nary a dark thought here. Take a look when you can.
In any case, Henie was a enormously important star for at least one studio. She was an astute businesswoman as well long before she died of leukemia in 1969 (she was just 57). Ok, let’s see how much you know of Henie and her times. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Henie was born in which one of the following countries? a) Finland; b) Sweden; c) the Czech Republic; or d) Norway.
2) Question: Henie’s success in Hollywood spurred the aspirations of ice skaters turned actresses. Which of the following attempted to follow this career path? a) Belita; b) Tonya Harding; c) Oksana Baiul; or d) Vera Ralston.
3) Question: In 1937, Henie emerged as Hollywood’s highest paid actress. a) True; or b) False.
4) Question: In her personal life, Henie formed a bigtime connection to an American major league baseball franchise. How did this happen?
5) Question: Henie’s 1939 outing, Second Fiddle with Tyrone Power, marked the major film debut of a little known actress who went on with her husband to become one of America’s premier tv and radio couples. Can you name her?
6) Question: Just how many movies did Henie make anyway? a) 47; b) 13; c) 22; or d) nine.
7) Question: One of the swing era’s most prominent talents figures in one of Henie’s more enjoyable movies. Can you name the film and identify our musical hero?
8) Question: Henie and Lana Turner shared an interesting connection. What was it? a) Their skating skills; b) husbands that were brothers; c) a loathing for all studio bosses; or d) a fat respect for a buck.
9) Question: During her Hollywood years and after, Henie had a number of romantic affairs with which of the following? a) Tyrone Power; b) Van Johnson; c) boxer Joe Louis; d) Liberace.
10) Question: Which of the following were nicknames were applied to Sonja Henie? a) The White Swan; b) Pavlova of the Ice; c) Nasturtium of the North; or d) Little Miss Moneybags.