One of the marvels of Hollywood’s classic movie period is its plentiful supply of supporting actors and actresses, who collectively propped up stars on bad movie days and inspired them on the good.

Today we honor one of the most durable of those players — Iris Adrian. The name may not immediately ring a bell, but once you heard that voice you were not likely to soon forget it.

Adrian, the wise cracking dame of the movies was, began onscreen in the 1930’s and kept at it for a half century before retiring — shortly before her death at age 82 of injuries suffered during the devastating Northridge, California earthquake of January 1994. She excelled at playing gangsters’ molls, waitresses, chorines and, on occasion, working girls.

The petite Adrian (she stood all of five feet, four inches) had a tart tongue and a way of spicing up scenes while at the same time stealing them from marquee cast members. She was a standout, naturally enough, in comedies and crime dramas.

Beneath that brassy panache, Adrian expressed a certain intelligence and sardonic humor. Her characters, she once said, were tough broads who were never mean.

Ok, let’s see how much you recall about this highly distinctive character actress.  As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow.  Here we go:

1) Question: Adrian started her career by being named “Miss Lake Arrowhead” (Cal.) which landed her a job in the Ziegfeld Follies and then with Fred Waring’s Orchestra. a) True; or b) False?

2) Question: Which one of these nickname/descriptions was NOT applied to Adrian in her peak years?  a) Bubbles; b) Sunny; c) Smartypants; or d) Pepper.

3) Question: Which one of the following star personalities did Adrian NOT appear with onscreen? a) Jack Lemmon; b) Jerry Lewis; c) Bob Hope; or d) Elvis Presley.

4) Question: Although her screen characterizations displayed subtle intelligence, Adrian was not especially a bright bulb offscreen, and died in dire financial straits.  a) True; or b) False.

5) Question: Adrian was also a tv personality of sorts as well as a sought-after character actress in movies.  Which one of the following showcased her on the tube the most often? a) Dinah Shore; b) Jack Benny; c) Fred Allen; or d) Milton Berle.

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