Well, now that we think about it, you may well have. So, let us refresh.
Spring Byington seemed to be in every other movie that came out of the MGM factory in the Thirties and Forties. She specialized in playing mothers, ditsy women, or an older and wiser friend. She made her mark as a genuine kindly character on the big screen — and later on tv.
Born in 1886 in Colorado Springs, she made her Broadway stage debut at the age of 31, and was soon scouted and signed by RKO, which promptly cast her as a mother — what else? — in the big screen version of Louisa May Alcott’s novel, Little Women. The die (her movie career) was cast; Byington never returned to the stage.
She wasn’t always cast in kindly maternal roles. Byington occasionally turned up as a scene-stealing socialite or eccentric mischief-maker. (Check her out as a saucy journalist in 1942’s Roxie Hart.)
It’s been nearly a half century since Byington’s death (of cancer at the age of 84) so you may well be a bit foggy about the ins and outs of her career. In any case, let’s see. Our Spring Byington Quiz questions today, answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: As mentioned, Byington played a mother in Little Women. Which of the following were cast as her daughters? a) Joan Bennett; b) Jean Parker; c) Katharine Hepburn; or d) Frances Dee.
2) Question: Which of the following actors played BOTH a father and a husband to Byington in separate films. a) Boris Karloff; b) Fredric March; c) Lionel Barrymore; or d) Harry Morgan.
3) Question: Byington was nominated for an Oscar for which one of the following titles? a) 1935’s Ah Wilderness; b) 1941’s When Ladies Meet; c) 1938’s You Can’t Take It With You; or d) 1936;s Dodsworth.
4) Question: As mentioned, Byington carved out a pretty solid tv career as the star of which of the following series? a) Laramie; b) 77 Sunset Strip; c) December Bride; or d) Pete and Gladys.
5) Question: Despite playing all those maternal roles, Byington was widely known in Hollywood as a fast-living woman off-screen, who went through several marriages. a) True; or b) False.