Monday, January 30, 2006

Mary Brian

"Return Engagement: Faces to Remember - Then & Now" (Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.; 1984) covers a wide range of Hollywood actresses of our Golden Era.
Horst's classic photographs from their heydays to ones he took for James Watters' 1984 book illustrate this incredible book.
Pages 122 - 123 cover Mary Brian, best known to some of us as Yvette Lamartine in "Charlie Chan in Paris."
According to Watters:
In her 70s, she's as animated as she was listening to Buddy Rogers strum a ukulele. Her North Hollywood home is on a secluded acre just a few blocks from freeway traffic. "We used to have sheep here to keep the lawn down." In the den, the walls are filled with WWII photos and plaques of Mary's work, when she entertained troops in Europe and North Africa. "We traveled with a combat unit on the front lines. We couldn't use scenery or anything because we had to be undercover." Mary takes a chair next to one of her paintings, a favorite, of her godchild, the daughter of Stuart Erwin, Jr. Stu Sr. and his wife, June Collyer, were friends and colleagues at Paramount. "If you witness three generations in Hollywood, does that make you a pioneer? I was so young when I started, I had to go to school on the lot." Then, sounding a sensible not of Wendy, she adds, "But I'm glad I've got my painting and not just my memories like so many other old-timers."
She died of natural causes on December 30, 2002, at the age of 96.
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