Monday, November 7, 2011

Grace Stafford, 1903-1992

This is actually a photo of Grace StaffordToday marks the birth anniversary of actress Grace Stafford. It's a name you might not recognize from movies, since the first decade of her career was spent playing a bunch of bit parts, many of which weren't even credited. I've mentioned her, though, in movies like Confessions of a Nazi Spy before. Stafford spent 20 years married to actor Tom Keene, whom you might recall from Our Daily Bread, until being divorced in 1940. As for those movies, IMDb lists her as having a part in Warner Bros. mid-1930s costume epic Anthony Adverse, which will be coming up at 6:00 AM Thursday on TCM.

It was Stafford's second husband who made Stafford remembered as she is today. That husband was Walter Lantz, who created the Woody Woodpecker character for whom Grace provided the voice from 1950 until the 1980s, both in short films and on TV. Grace's name shows up in the credits for most of them, as Stafford and not Lantz. The two remained married until her death in 1992. My birthday post for Walter Lantz has a typo in the title, suggesting that he died in 1984; he actually died in 1994. I should have caught the typo back then, as I remember seeing the obit come across the AP wire back when I was in college working at the college radio station. The actual noisy newswire printer is a story in itself, and much louder than any of the news tickers you see in Hollywood movies.

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