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) Answer: Faye was first in line as Fox’s reigning blonde star, followed by b) Betty Grable and d) Marilyn Monroe.
2) Answer: As mentioned in our intro, a) Jean Harlow.
3) 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) Answer: b) Cole Porter, who believed Faye was Hollywood’s best singer of the late 1930’s.
5) Answer: Fay was married to crooner-actor Tony Martin from 1937 until 1941. (For a photo of the happy young couple, check out blog of April 12, 2012, The Marrying Judge of Yuma County.) 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) Answer: b) False. Faye is quoted as saying of Tyrone Power: “He was the best looking thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Kissing him was like dying and going to heaven.”
7) 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) Answer: c) Great Britain, where Faye had and still does have many fans.
9) Answer: b) False. Faye and ice skating queen Sonja Henie were considered about equal in marquee power. Both were very big stars.
10) Answer: b) False. Faye had nothing special against child actors, and she worked with the most famous of them, Shirley Temple. Faye found temple precocious and perhaps a tad too bright but highly professional.