How much did you know about Fay Bainter, one of Hollywood’s hardest working supporting actresses?

(Note that she was popular enough to be besieged by fan requests for photos; the above shot was autographed to a fan, as far as we can make out, one “Mr. Sternupj.”)

Did you know that before her Hollywood career began in 1934, Bainter had carved out a formidable as a stage actress.

She moved in heady artistic circles back then. A age 25, for example, she was the subject of a handsome 1918 portrait by American artist Robert Henri (ne Robert Henry Cozard of Cincinnati, Ohio), part of what is called the the “Ashcan School of American Realism”. It remains today one of the artist’s most popular works.

Her Hollywood career didn’t begin until she was in her early Forties. By the time it concluded Bainter was renowned as a solid supporting actress who collected her share of awards and worked with some of the biggest stars of her period.

Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Fay Bainter Mini-Quiz.  To see the questions, just scroll down to the blog below.  Here we go:

1) Answer: This is a bit of a trick question. In 1939 Bainter won her Oscar for “best actress in a supporting role” for (b) 1938’s Jezebel, playing Bette Davis’ stern Aunt Belle. She was nominated for “best actress” that same year for her role as housekeeper Hannah Parmelee in 1938’s White Banners. But Bainter lost out in the “best actress” category to — Bette Davis.

2) Answer:  (d) None of the above. As indicated in our first answer, Bainter won her Oscar as “best actress in a supporting role” for 1938’s Jezebel, which is not among the choices. How tricky we are!

3) Answer:  d) Terry Moore, an actress who arrived after Bainter’s generation had pretty much departed the Hollywood landscape.

4) Answer:  Bainter costarred with (a) Danny Kaye, playing his mother in 1947’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

5) Answer:  Bainter was born in Los Angeles in 1893.  The month and date? Dec. 7 — the day in 1941 that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.   

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