Saturday, July 14, 2012

From my collection: More hopefuls of 1961:

According to Hedda Hopper in 1949, Muriel Maddox, of Washington, D.C., was seen about town with writer Sy Bartlett. Muriel was, it appears, what we today call an “army brat,” the daughter of Captain and Mrs. Charles Maddox, and when she made her screen debut opposite Marlon Brando and Theresa Wright in The Men, it was a paper in Oil City, PA, that could proudly call her the “hometown” girl. Actually, when it came down to it, Muriel's role, if you can call it that, is listed in the cast as “woman in street,” i.e. she was an extra. A few other roles followed most notably the Guy Madison vehicle Red Snow (1952), a Cold War exploitation melodrama set in Alaska in which she played a nurse. She began dating another bit player, Bert Arnold, while filming this, her final film, married him and retired. Why she listed herself available for screen work as late as 1961 is anyone's guess. Later in life she became a popular writer of romance novels, some of which are even available today on Kindle. Born in San Diego in 1921 and passed away at Bel Air, CA, April 30, 2010.

Much more prolific on screen than Miss Maddox, Jeanne Manet was originally from France, the daughter of a banker. By 1936 she was squired around Paris by pugilist Jack Doyle and the following she was seen, stateside, on the arm of another boxer, Tommy Farr. She left the latter in the pursuit of cinematic fame but would instead be embroiled in a colorful court case the press would nickname “The Loves of Jack Doyle.” The boxer/troubadour's wife, screen starlet Judith Allen, a Joan Crawford lookalike, sued Mrs. Delphine Dodge Cromwell Baker Godde of the society pages for “alienation of affections” to the hefty tune of $2.000.000. Now stick with me here as this will get complicated. I'll let a syndicated news item explain the further court shenanigans:

“Still on the stage but into the background [is] Elinor Troy who dances seminude in a fish bowl. She apparently got into the scrambled drama by proxy, although her press agent insists she is a good friend of Doyle's and 'they spent a very pleasant evening together.' That Doyle was nighclubbing all hours with the shapely Miss Troy was denied by J.B. [last name unintelligible], who described himself as a friend of Doyle and Mrs. Godde. Waiting for her cue was French actress Jeanne Manet, who arrived in town today, said in Hollywood to have been Doyle's heart interest last year ...”

That claim was immediately dismissed by the next witness, who termed her a “casual acquaintance,” although the two allegedly had cohabited for a while. And on it went. We don't really know the outcome of the suit – and do we really care? – but Judith Allen received her divorce and good for her. Jeanne Manet, meanwhile, found that the movie studios had gone off on her and she didn't really do much in America until after the war when she turned up in the very appropriately titled Slightly French (1949) starring Adele Jergens. That was followed by television exposure until she emerged as one of the title characters in the circus melodrama The Flying Fontaines (1959), which was mainly an excuse for introducing to America a blonde Miss Denmark who was to become Mrs. James Darren, Evy Norlund.

In 1963 Paramount Pictures released Stopover in Hollywood, a 16 minutes short film depicting a young girl visiting various Hollywood landmarks including Grauman's Chinese and, eerily, Forest Lawn cemetery. The girl was played by Lori Lyons, whose main screen credit this would be. She was also in The Phantom Planet (1961), playing a radar operator no less, the year her photo graced this particular edition of the Academy Players guide. But that, it appears, was about it for Lori Lyons, who naturally is mentioned here entirely for the sake of completion. Now at least there is a photo out there of Lori Lyons. So there.

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