Saturday, December 01, 2012

Screen Extras: Part 3, "I Can't Help It"...

Paul Bradley (1901-99)
*Born as Anthony Poliseno in Ohio
*Came to Hollywood in 1922
*Height: 5',11"
*First film with western star Hoot Gibson
*Roomed with character actor Fletcher Norton in 1930
*Served as an officer of Screen Extras Guild
*Died in Tarzana, California just short of 98 years
 Okay, just one more post for right now on Screen Extras, these folks all identified for your future recognizing pleasure with a little bit of trivia to go along with the photos...
Bobby Gilbert (1898-1973)
*Born as Robert Wolf in Philadelphia
*Wife was Fannie Gartner (1894-1985)
*He was also a musician and dancer

Harold Miller (1894-1972)
*Born as Harold Kammermeyer
in Redondo Beach, Calif.
*Height: 6',1"
*Made first film in 1919
*Portrayed the Judge in the opening
credits of tv's Perry Mason
Leoda Richards (1907-98)
*Born as Leoda Carole Knapp in Columbus, OH
*She appeared in a least 3 Broadway shows between
 1927-1935 including the original  Anything Goes 
*She married Chas. Richards in 1928; daughter, Barbara
*She may have not started film work until after husband's death in 1950
*Eventually retired to an upscale community in Laguna Niguel, CA where she died in 1998, only about five weeks before her 91st birthday.

William H. O'Brien (1891-1981)
*Born in Peak Hill, New South Wales, Australia
*Married to wife Ruby  until 1962 (48 years)
*Younger daughter Betty was an actress in the 1940s
*Served as an officer of Screen Extras Guild

Cosmo Sardo (1909-89)
*Born in Boston of Italian decent
*Was a barber in Los Angeles
for many years in addition to Extra work
*Appeared as the Bartender in over 70
episodes of tv's Bonanza
*Married in 1974 to a woman
 23 years his junior
*Died in West Hollywood

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Screen Extras: Part Two

Kenner Kemp (1908-85)
*Born as Kennard Grant Kempe
in Concho, Arizona
*Married British-born wife Kathleen
from 1933-80
*Sister Donna Kempe also an Extra
*Performed as Walter Pidgeon's stand-in
*Longtime officer in the Screen Extras
 Guild, including Treasuer & V.P.
*Died in Oceanside, California
Here are several more of the Extras they look familiar to you?
Arthur Tovey (1904-2000)
*Born as Arthur Roland Tovey
in Douglas, Arizona
*A musician all his life, Tovey was
particularly adept at the piano
*Doubled for Leslie Howard in the 
classic Gone With the Wind
*A lifelong bachelor
*Died in Van Nuys, California just
three weeks short of 96 years
George DeNormand (1903-76)
*Born in New York City
*An experienced stuntman for 30+ years
*Second wife Wanda Tuchock (1898-1985) 
was a longtime screenwriter 
*He died at the Motion Picture Home
from cancer

Tony Regan (1908-88)
*Former Casting Director
*Held offices in the Screen Extras Guild
*Retired to the Las Vegas area

Charles Sherlock (1900-83)

Mathew McCue (1895-1966)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now, here are two more that I've yet to identify... can anyone out there put names to the familiar faces?

Clark Ross
                             Both Ross and Power are pictured from the 1962 film Advise & Consent
Paul Power ?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Screen Extras... Who Were They?

Frank Baker (1892-1980)
*Born in Melbourne, Australia
*Made his first film in 1912 !
*Married wife Helen Bruno in 1920
*Came to U.S. in 1929
*A member of director John Ford's
stock company of actors for 40 years
*Worked as a stuntman as well, 1930s
*Died at the Motion Picture Home

Leon Alton (1907-95)
*Born in New York
*Worked on Broadway from 1927-41
*Served in the military 1942-45
*Often appeared in dance scenes
*Worked 40+ years as an Extra
*Owned a health food store in
Toluca Lake for many years
 One of the most frustrating things for me is not being able to identify the name of a character actor. The age of the internet has certainly made it easier. But due to the nature of their work, screen extras are rarely, if ever, given their due. In this first piece on Extras, I would like to identify several and then post some photos that I am not able to identify by name at this point. Any information any reader has on these "unidentified" individuals would be much appreciated...
Duke Fishman (1906-77)
*Born as Marcus Leo Fishman to American
parents in the Phillipines
*Came to Avalon, CA in 1934 and became
a lifeguard and official greeter of
Catalina Island
*Reportedly, the tv commercial character
of "Mr. Clean" was based on Duke
*Though only 5',6", always played tough guys
*Appeared most frequently as a citizen
of Dodge on tv's Gunsmoke
Major Sam Harris (1877-1969)

                                           As time allows, I'll add information about each of them, but we'll start with their vital stats to go along with the photo.

Joe Extra #1
                                    Can you identify "Joe Extra #1"? The photo is from a mid-1960s television western, so he clearly was probably born around 1900 or very shortly after. He worked at least from the early 1950s through 1975.

Joe Extra #2
What about "Joe Extra #2"? The photo is from Don Knotts' film The Incredible Mr. Limpet from 1964. Again, an actor probably born around 1900 or so. He worked from the early 1950s until the early 1970s at least.

The Frenchmen: Part Two

One of the trickier aspects of dealing lesser known character actors is simply the accurate identification of them. In this screen grab from Disney's Million Dollar Duck from 1971, we seen the well known veteran Edward Andrews (1915-85) in the foreground. He is on the telephone with the fourth in our group of Frenchmen we've been looking at. This film is the last credit I can find for the actor Peter Camlin. I have been able to find out almost nothing about him. One source says he was born on Septermber 5, 1902 in Enghein, France under the name Pierre Gansevoort Nazzari. He appears to have died December 17, 1985 in Los Angeles. I can find no theatrical or dramatic radio credits for him. The earliest film credit of his appears to be 1938's Artists and Models Abroad; followed by such well known pictures as Passage to Marseille (as a French Sergeant); The Razor's Edge; Show Boat (1951 version as a Croupier); An American in Paris; Gentlmen Prefer Blondes (as a Gendarme); Hitchcock's Man Who Knew Too Much (Headwaiter); Unskinkable Molly Brown (French Waiter); Boeing, Boeing (French Taxi Driver); and Disney's Monkeys Go Home! (Cabinet Maker). He worked in television as well, appearing in Hitchcock's series; Climax!; One Step Beyond; Boris Karloff's Thriller; Combat!; Bewitched; and Mayberry RFD in 1970 as what else...? a Maitre d'. How can someone whose career is at least 35 years long simply disappear. Can anyone out there answer the question... whatever happened to Peter Camlin ? Certainly the most familiar Frenchman from the 1950s to the 1980s would be the remarkably prolific Maurice Marsac.
He was born in LaCroix, France March 23, 1915 as Maurice Louis Ferrat. He changed his name after coming to America in 1947 to Maurice Marsac and he worked under that name ever after. Before leaving his native France, he had served in the French Army reserves as a captain, and worked as a secretary for the French Embassy in London until the outbreak of World War II. He returned to France and worked for the French Resistance during the war. His film debut appears to be Paris After Dark in 1943; followed by a good number of well known films including To Have and Have Not; The Razor's Edge (as a Maitre d'); Assignment Paris (Gendarme); April In Paris; How to Marry a Millionaire; Lafayette Escadrille; Gig; Can-Can; King of Kings (barely recognizable as Nicodemus); Poseidon Adventure; The Jerk; The Big Red One; and his last known feature, the 1987 Dragnet, as what else... a Maitre d'! There was probably no more familiar Frenchmen in television during the 1950s and 1970s than Monsieur Marsac. His credits read like the history of classic television...He fed snails to Lucy Ricardo on I Love Lucy; taught French at Our Miss Brooks' high school; was a villain on Superman; he worked multiple times with Burns and Allen and Red Skelton on their series in the 1950s; he provided French support on 
westerns when called for, such as Adventures of Jim Bowie; Northwest Passage; and Daniel Boone. He appeared in many police/detective series such as Public Defender; Peter Gunn; Markham; The Rogues; It Takes a Theif; Mission: Impossible; Mannix; Columbo; McCloud; The New Avengers; The Rockford Files; Barnaby Jones; Hart to Hart; The A-Team; and L.A. Law. He was particularly adept at comedy and in addition to those already mentioned, he continued to appear in top sitcoms such as Real McCoys; My Favorite Martian; Beverly Hillbillies; Hazel; Green Acres; Hogan's Heroes; My Three Sons; Bewitched; Soap; Family Ties; Facts of Life; and Night Court, just to name a small sampling. Maurice appears to have retired from acting in 1988, but he hardly decided to sit at home! For years, he and his wife Melanie (they married in 1952) participated in the world of Croquet. They would tour the world playing in tournaments and it became such an obsession that they remained active in this endeavor for the rest of their lives. Maurice was named resident pro at two Croquet clubs in Newport Beach and he was considered a valuable teacher at the famed Beverly Hills Croquet Club. Around 1996 the Marsacs moved from southern California to northern California (the outskirts of Santa Rosa), where they continued their love for croquet. At one point, late in his life, Marsac was considered in the top 5% of croquet players worldwide! Maurice's wife of 55 years Melanie, died at age 90 in April of 2007 at their home in Oakmont. Less than three weeks later, on May 6, Maurice passed away at 92 from cardiac arrest at a hospital in Santa Rosa. The couple was once described as..."Maurice and Melanie were lively, exciting and wonderful, wonderful people who did not know how to have a dull conversation".