Ok, we admit that there have been better-known female imports from France to Hollywood. Michele Morgan and Daniele Darrieux leap to mind not to mention the younger wave that arrived after the second world war.
Our Monday Quiz subject was part of that second wave, and you can be forgiven if you don’t know a lot about Denise Darcel. Her career was miniscule relative to classic Hollywood’s biggest stars but it was catholic — from late vaudeville to early tv and nightclubs to the stage to the movies.
Darcel was a minor presence in the late Forties and Fifties, but what an enjoyable one. She seem to embody knowing French sauciness combined with a sly smile and a knockout figure. (She appears oddly demure in the photo above.)
In any case, we hope that you now know more about Darcel after taking our Monday Quiz, to which the answers are provided below. For the questions, just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: c) Claudette Colbert arrived in the U.S. in 1906 at the age of three, and made her first movie in the late 1920’s.
2) Answer: a) True. When she arrived in Hollywood in the late 1940’s Darcel was a former The Most Beautiful Girl In France beauty contest winner.
3) Answer: b) False. Although she had sung in her French nightclub act mounted before she emigrated, Darcel was cast on her appearance and acting skills in her first movie, 1948’s To The Victor, in which she convincingly portrayed a nightclub singer.
4) Answer: This was a bit of a trick question. Darcel played opposite all four actors. You get full credit no matter the choice.
5) Answer: Again, you get credit no matter your choice since all four descriptions apply equally to both Darcel and Hedy Lamarr.
6) Answer: 1953’s Dangerous When Wet. Darcel played a character named “Gigi Mignon.”
7) Answer: In the early Fifties, Darcel and crooner-bandleader Billy Eckstine were an item. Their relationship was characterized by Jet magazine as a “hot romance” cut short by the publicity it generated.
8) Answer: a) True. Darcel at age 41 became an “ecdysiast” after her movie carer flagged. It was short lived, with the actress returning to her conventional night club act.
9) Answer: b) In the Fifties, Darcel turned up on tv as the hostess of a Gamble On Love summer show featuring newly married contestants seeking various prizes. One critic found Darcel Gallic to the point of unintelligibility. (DuMont, then vying with ABC to become “the third network” in the U.S., specialized in low-budget variety and quiz shows. It went out of business in 1955.)
10) Answer: a) True.