O.K., classic movie fans, you have your work cut out for you this time.
Hi, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers here today to present another snapshot from our special Donald Gordon Collection of never-before-seen photos taken way back in early-Forties Hollywood.
Who is this woman? (And, by the way, don’t you love that headpiece?)
A totally stumped Frank took a wild stab, and identified her as Lupe Velez. Wrong!, said Joe, who knew better. (Hint: she’s was more than a decade younger than “the Mexican spitfire.”)
Since we as classic movie fans are tender of heart and always willing to assist, we can provide this general clue — the woman above was minor (and we mean minor) movie star of the 1940s who also did a lot of stage work.
Although never a top tier star, she had a long and successful career and starred with some of the top names in the business — Rosalind Russell, Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth, Henry Fonda and Red Skelton.
Our man-about-town Donald Gordon, who worked at Columbia Pictures (another hint) in the early Forties, took this snap outside a theatre in Los Angeles when our mystery woman was costarring with George Raft and Lloyd Nolan in a radio version of the play “Broadway,” for the Lux Radio Theatre.
Some more clues about our mystery woman:
– She was of Irish descent, born in 1921 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Her real name is Martha Janet Lafferty.
– She started out not as an actress but as a singer. She eventually complained that her Hollywood career comprised largely of movies in which she played “princess parts.”
– She had an enormous career in television, spanning the so-called Golden Age of 1950′s right through to “Murder, She Wrote” in the 1990′s.
– Our mystery woman married and divorced two husbands, toured on the road in one of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein’s most successful musicals, and made night club appearances after her movie career ended.
– She died at the ripe age of 85 just four years ago.
Who is our mystery woman?