Wednesday, April 4, 2012
From my collection: Coulter Irwin
“SEVEN NEW PROSPECTS COASTBOUND FOR TESTS”
The seven screen “discoveries from the Warner Bros. talent bureau in the East” were models Patricia Clark, June Fleming and Frances Chisholm; Evelyn McRae, “Miss Canada of 1943”; and George Lambert, Coulter Iwin and Miss Sammie Hill, “from the radio and theatrical fields.”
Of the seven, June Fleming, Frances Chisholm, Evelyn McRae, George Lambert and Sammie Hill made little or no impact on screen, at least in 1944, but Patricia Clark and Coulter Irwin stayed around long enough to actively fail becoming screen commodities. Miss Clark came closest when cast as the much hyped if little seen Mrs. Mona Mars in the Bogie-Bacall noir The Big Sleep (released 1946), but when the powers-at-be demanded new and better footage of the photogenic Miss Bacall, Patricia Clark was summarily replaced by another WB starlet, Peggy Knudsen. As compensation she earned a minor, but featured, role in the Spencer Tracy-Lana Turner failure Cass Timberlane (1947). And that, as they say, was that.
Coulter Irwin, meanwhile, earned a breakthrough of sorts at Columbia Pictures playing the ingenue male lead in a Crime Doctor movie, Crime Doctor's Warning (1945), and that, too, was that. Except for unbilled bit parts in scores of other films and television shows. By the late 1950s, he had become an announcer on a local Long Beach, CA, radio station, famously surviving a 1959 heart attack on the air. He also proved a busy letters-to-the-editor writer, railing against the ever-present threat of communism. Coulter Irwin died on Christmas Eve 1998 in Las Vegas, NV. He was 80 years old.