She began her movie career as something of a Jean Harlow copy, then switched to emphasizing the kind of slightly plump and wholesome qualities that made her prefect for the wholesome and plump 20th Century Fox musicals of the mid Thirties and early Forties.
But there was no mistaking Alice Faye as a big star, Fox’s blond doyenne before Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe arrived on the scene.
She became, after her movie career wound down in the mid Forties, a familiar radio personality paired with her bandleader husband Phil Harris (there they are above.) And Faye is still not fully recognized as the excellent singer she was.
How much did you know about this underrated singer-actress? Let’s get to the answers to our Monday Quiz to find out. Here we go:
1) Question: Faye was considered at her peak Twentieth Century Fox’s resident blonde and its biggest musical star. Which of the following followed in her footsteps? a) Lana Turner; b) Betty Grable; c) Gene Tierney; or d) Marilyn Monroe.
Answer: Faye was first in line as Fox’s reigning blonde star, followed by b) Betty Grable and d) Marilyn Monroe.
2) Question: When she broke in at Fox, Faye was considered a carbon copy of: a) Jean Harlow; b) Myrna Loy; c) Carole Lombard; or d) Joan Crawford.
Answer: As mentioned in our intro, a) Jean Harlow.
3) Question: As mentioned, Faye was rated among the creme de la creme of of Fox stars in the late Thirties. Which of the following were included in this elite group? a) Tyrone Power; b) Maureen O’Hara; c) John Payne; or d) Linda Darnell.
Answer: Fox’s elite group of stars included a) Tyrone Power, b) Maureen O’Hara and d) Linda Darnell. John Payne was considered a studio stalwart but had not quite reached the elevated status of the aforementioned three.
4) Question: Which one of the following classic American composers regarded Faye as the “best singer in Hollywood.” a) Irving Berlin; b) Cole Porter; c) George Gershwin; or d) Alec Wilder.
Answer: b) Cole Porter, who believed Faye was Hollywood’s best singer of the late 1930’s.
5) Question: Faye was married twice to famous musical personalities. Which of the following were at various times her husband? a) Tony Martin; b) Rudy Vallee; c) Ted Fio Rito; or d) Phil Harris.
Answer: Fay was married to crooner-actor Tony Martin from 1937 until 1941. (For a photo of the happy newlyweds, see below.) Her second husband was, as mentioned, Phil Harris. They married in 1941. The union lasted until his death in 1995. Faye died three years later at age 83.
6) Question: Faye made some of her most popular movies playing opposite Tyrone Power, but later confessed she personally couldn’t stand the handsome actor. a) True; or b) False?
Answer: b) False. Faye is quoted as saying of Power: “He was the best looking thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Kissing him was like dying and going to heaven.”
7) Question: As mentioned, Faye had essentially a career-ending run-in with Fox mogul Zanuck. What was it all about? a) A standard contract dispute; b) Faye refused flat out to make another picture with Tyrone Power; c) Faye was angry because Zanuck had cut many of her scenes in 1945’s Fallen Angel to build up costar Linda Darnell; or d) She wanted to spend more time with her family.
Answer: Fay and Fox mogul Darryl Zanuck parted company because of c). Zanuck edited Faye severely in 1945’s Fallen Angels, supposedly to build up costar Darnell. And, in addition, Faye really did want to send more time with her family.
8) Question: Faye had her share of international fans, but she was particularly popular in which one of the following overseas markets? a) Japan; b) France; c) Great Britain; or d) Iceland.
Answer: c) Great Britain, where Faye had and still does have many fans.
9) Question: Faye was considered a much bigger star than Fox contemporary Sonja Henie. a) True; or b) False?
Answer: b) False. Faye and ice skating queen Sonja Henie were considered about equal in marquee power. Both were very big stars.
10) Question: Faye was especially keen on working with child actors, particularly Shirley Temple. a) True; or b) False?
Answer: b) False. Faye had nothing special against child actors, and she worked with the most famous of them. Faye found Temple to be precocious and perhaps a tad too bright but highly professional.