Throughout Hollywood history there have been actors and actresses who seemed to have a shot at stardom and then fizzled. We like to highlight those folks every once in a while.
Warner Brothers had high hopes for Andrea King when they signed her in 1944 after she had bombed her screen test at Paramount Pictures. She was in her mid-20s at the time. At Chez Jack Warner, she flourished. By one count, she appeared in nine movies in 18 months.
Warner didn’t particularly like her name — King was born Georgette Andre Barry in Paris in 1919. Her mother drove an ambulance in France during World War I. She was also a dancer and hung out with the likes of Isadora Duncan.
Getting back to the history of her marquee name, Warner Bros. at the time of her studio signing dubbed her “Georgia King.” She hated the monicker, claiming that it made her sound like a “burlesque queen on the Mississippi.” Warner then decreed that forever more, she should be known as “Andrea.” The actress consented gleefully — “that I like.”
In 1945, in what was undoubtedly a publicity ploy to hype her burgeoning career, King was voted by Warner photogs as the year’s most “photogenic” actress. Okay. No doubt King was a looker (see below).
Among her notable films was Delmer Daves 1944 outing, The Very Thought of You.
Another notable title for Andrea was 1945’s Hotel Berlin, a wartime thriller starring Faye Emerson (now there is a name to conjure with).
Andrea worked pretty steadily throughout the Forties and Fifties, usually in secondary roles as women of mysterious origins or outright “bad girls.” But as capable as she was, the movie public never really took to her. So, in the Fifties, Andrea wisely shifted her career to television, perhaps most memorably on the Perry Mason series.
King, who died in 2003 at the age of 84, never became anything like a top line star. Today, perhaps except for her tv appearances, she is virtually forgotten. Stardom is a fiendishly elusive thing, and despite her winsome looks and talent to match, King never quite achieved it.