Saturday, September 10, 2011

Renee Randall: Paramount Starlet


According to a brief studio plant in 1947, Paramount starlets Vamere Barman, Marilyn Gray, Audrey Korn, Janet Thomas and Renee Randall “were college students becoming actresses.” Miss Randall would blithely add that her forebears counted "a grandfather who, although of pure French descent, was elected president of the Flathead Indian tribunal. He spent his life fighting for the tribe's rights.”

From Portland, OR, Renee Randall arrived in Hollywood around 1945 and was that same year one of Paramount's “Stork Club Orchids,” 10 models celebrating the famous New York nitery with a Los Angeles fashion show. Miss Randall modeled a beach costume made of several layers, each of which she removed on stage until, as intrepid reporter Bob Thomas breathlessly told his readers, she was left with “diaper-like trunks and the merest suggestion of a top piece.” Two years later, and still a starlet, she was seen riding a camel with fellow Paramount contract player Andra Verne. For publicity sake, of course.

Both girls turned up in the much ballyhooed starpacked finale of the rah-rah musical Variety Girl (1947). Renee "played" an usherette in that but was usually cast as showgirls (Stork Club,Blue Skies, The Imperfect Lady, Footlight Rhythm) or simply pretty girls (Road to Rio, Saigon, Hazard). Never a character with an actual name. She was a secretary in her penultimate film, the noir melodrama Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948) and "actress at party" in the Alan Ladd version of The Great Gatsby (1949). For which role, the studio told breathless moviegoers, she lightened her hair. And then the name Renee Randall completely disappears from cast lists.

(Some intrepid soul on the Internet Movie Database has listed Chicago as the birth place for "Renee Randall" and a ridiculous birth year of 1911. Harumph! we say. Harumph!)

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