Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gloria DeHaven turns 88

July 23 marks the 88th birthdy of actress Gloria DeHaven, who did some fine movie work in the 1940s, before going to TV and doing steady guest work for much of the rest of her career. One of her very first movies was as a teenage friend of Joan Crawford's daughter in Susan and God, followed by one of Lionel Barrymore's granddaughters in The Penalty, a movie which really deserves a fuller posting if only it were on DVD.

But MGM wanted DeHaven to be a musical star, casting her in several musicals in the 1940s and early 1950s, although one of the only ones in which she was actually the female lead would be Summer Holiday, the musical remake of Ah, Wilderness!. In Summer Holiday, she plays the girl opposite Mickey Rooney, so you could argue even here she wasn't really the star. I can understand why Gloria might have wanted to try TV if her movie career wasn't really going anywhere.

DeHaven's final film was 1997's Out to Sea, a gentle little comedy where she plays an older woman on a cruise who become the love interest of Jack Lemmon.

There's a "Word of Mouth" piece that appears on TCM in which DeHaven talks about washing her hair at MGM, and getting helped by Marlene Dietrich, who was making Kismet at the time; that help involved Dietrich pushing DeHaven's face down into the bowl of water, with DeHaven having no idea who was doing the pushing. DeHaven probably would have been making Step Lively at the time, as she isn't in Kismet. I haven't been able to find that "Word of Mouth" segment either in the TCM Media Room, or on Youtube, however.

1 comment:

Mark Cohen said...

Hi Cineast,

I am trying to contact Gloria DeHaven because she knew the New York showman Billy Rose, and I'm researching him for a biography.

Any ideas?

Thanks very much for any help or advice you can offer.