Yes, her ‘Maisie’ character was big box office.

So, how much did you really know about a woman who acted — sang and danced — in comedies and dramas in movies, and then went on to big hits on television after her film career waned?

We’re talking Ann Sothern here, the subject of this week’s Monday Quiz. A veteran of roles as deceptively ditzy blonds and seasoned madames, Sothern was offscreen a practicing Catholic and a canny, far sighted businesswoman.

She was often seen on the big screen in lighthearted comedies, performing with warmth and vitality.  Her range covered B pictures for Columbia and RKO, and a big hit series for MGM.  Along the way there was the stage and, later, television.

Her long and productive life in 2001 at age 92.  Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Ann Sothern Quiz. To review the questions just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:

1) Answer: As mentioned in our introduction, Sothern was a singer and occasional dancer (a and d) in addition to being a talented actress.  She was trained from an early age as a classical singer by her concert-soprano mother, and sang with a touring band led by her first husband, Roger Pryor.

2) Answer: c) Sothern was Oscar nominated as best actress for her role in (c) 1987’s ThWhales of August, costarring Lillian Gish and Bette Davis.

3) Answer: d) Gary Cooper.  She appeared with Eddie Cantor in Kid Millions, with Maurice Chevalier in Folies Bergere and with Fredric March in Trade Winds.

4) Answer:  Sothern’s actress-daughter (via second husband Robert Sterling) — Tisha Sterling — plays a younger version of her mother in The Whales of August.

5) Answer: b) Sothern suffered a bout of hepatitus in the Fifties which left her visibly overweight. To compensate, she wore black outfits in her tv sitcoms.

6) Answer:  a) Richard Egan, a devout Catholic and godfather of Trisha Sterling.

7) Answer:  c) Maisie, which spawned one of the most successful film series (10 titles) of the Golden Age. (See illustration above.)

8) Answer:  c) Sothern played an assistant hotel manager on The Ann Sothern Show.

9) Answer:  It was b) Nat “King” Cole who skillfully warbled the title song played throughout the movie. It’s a lushly orchestrated ballad at odds with the movie’s grim subject matter (Raymond Burr as a sleaze done in while on the make for Anne Baxter) but still great to listen to.

10) Answer: c) Madames.

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