Monday, June 27, 2011

John McIntire, Alberta Vaughn, Moroni Olsen, Jack Lemmon, Mona Barrie

Who was born on this date:

Actor John McIntire was born on June 27, 1907 in Spokane, Washington. A graduate of USC, McIntire began acting in radio and on stage, before embarking on a lengthy film and TV career as a character actor. He was already 40 when he made his big-screen debut in 1947, but went on to appear in over sixty films, often playing police chiefs, judges, crazy coots and western characters. His films include The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Psycho (1960), and Elmer Gantry (1960), but some of his more memorable roles were in western such as the acclaimed Winchester '73 (1950), The Far Country (1955), The Tin Star (1957). He also played a judge in Rooster Cogburn (1975), the sequel to True Grit featuring John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn. His final film role was in 1989's "Turner and Hooch."

In the mid-'50s, McIntire moved into television, appearing in anthology series, sitcoms and dramas, including a regular role on ABC's Naked City, before his character was killed off. Though McIntire had never had the lead role in a film, TV earned him his most prominent and long-running role when in 1961 he replaced the late Ward Bond in the popular NBC-ABC series Wagon Train, played trailmaster Chris Hale in more than 150 episodes between 1961 and 1965. He subsequently replaced actors Lee J. Cobb and Charles Bickford on NBC's The Virginian in 1967, playing Bickford's character's brother. Prior to his Wagon Train role, he guest starred as William Palmer in the series finale, "The Most Dangerous Gentleman", of the short-lived 1960 NBC western Overland Trail, starring William Bendix and Doug McClure, his subsequent co-star on The Virginian. He died from emphysema and lung cancer in Pasadena, California on January 30, 1991 and is buried at the Tobacco Valley Cemetery in Eureka, Montana.

Actress Alberta Vaughn was born on June 27, 1904 in Ashland, Kentucky. Her movie career began in 1921 and continued until 1935. She often co-starred with actor Al Cook in comedies of the late silent era. In 1934, she starred opposite John Wayne in Randy Rides Again. Her last film was in 1935’s, The Live Wire opposite Richard Talmadge. Scandals plagued Vaughn’s career and in March of 1949 Vaughn was jailed on an intoxication violation in Pasadena. She chose incarceration instead of paying a $25 fine. Her jail term was twelve and a half days. A previous drunken charge, then pending, would have added an additional four months to her sentence. Vaughn was arrested after an argument with her husband, John R. Thompson. The incident followed her release after serving eight months of a one year sentence on the earlier instance. She died in Studio City, California on April 26, 1992 and is buried at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California.

Actor Moroni Olsen was born on June 27, 1889 in Ogden, Utah. In 1923 Olsen organized the "Moroni Olsen Players" out of Ogden. They performed at both Ogden's Orpheum Theatre and at various other locations spread from Salt Lake City to Seattle. After having worked on Broadway he made his film debut in a 1935 adaptation of The Three Musketeers. He later played a different role in a 1939 comedy version of the story, starring Don Ameche as D'Artagnan. One of his most famous roles was as “the voice” of the Magic Mirror in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Olsen died from a heart attack on November 22, 1954 and is buried at the Ogden City Cemetery in Ogden, Utah.

Who died on this date:

On June 27, 2001, actor Jack Lemmon died. He was born on February 8, 1925 in Newton, Massachusetts and starred in more than 60 films including Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Mister Roberts (for which he won the 1955 Best Supporting Actor Academy Award), Days of Wine and Roses, The Great Race, Irma la Douce, The Odd Couple, Save the Tiger (for which he won the 1973 Best Actor Academy Award), The Out-of-Towners, The China Syndrome, Missing, Glengarry Glen Ross, Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men.

Lemmon's film debut was a bit part as a plasterer/painter in the 1949 film The Lady Takes a Sailor but he was not noticed until his official debut opposite Judy Holliday in the 1954 comedy It Should Happen to You. He became a favorite actor of director Billy Wilder, starring in his films Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Irma la Douce, The Fortune Cookie, Avanti!, The Front Page and Buddy Buddy. He also had a longtime working relationship with director Blake Edwards, starring in My Sister Eileen (1955), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Great Race (1965) and That's Life! (1986).

Lemmon pictured in the center with Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like It Hot"

Lemmon won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1956 for Mister Roberts (1955) and the Best Actor Oscar for Save the Tiger (1973). He was also nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role in the controversial film, Missing (1982) and for his role in Some Like it Hot. He often appeared in films partnered with Walter Matthau. Among their pairings was 1968's The Odd Couple, as Felix Ungar (Lemmon) and Oscar Madison (Matthau). They also starred together in The Fortune Cookie (for which Matthau won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), The Front Page and Buddy Buddy. In 1971, Lemmon directed Matthau in the comedy Kotch. It was the only movie that Lemmon ever directed and Matthau was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance. In 1993, the duo teamed up again to star in Grumpy Old Men. The film was a surprise hit, earning the two actors a new generation of young fans. During the rest of the decade, they would go on to star together in Out to Sea, Grumpier Old Men and the widely panned The Odd Couple II. Lemmon died of colon cancer and metastatic cancer of the bladder on June 27, 2001 and is buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, California. His grave is near that of his good friend and co-star, Walter Matthau, who died almost exactly one year before Lemmon.

On June 27, 1964 actress, Mona Barrie died. She was born Mona Barlee Smith on December 18, 1909 in London. She made her professional debut as a ballet dancer in Sydney at the age of sixteen. This led to a solo act in musical comedies. In 1933 she immigrated to the U.S. and was given a screen test, which led to a movie contract with 20th Century Fox Studios. She made her film debut in 1934’s Sleepers East using the stage name Mona Barrie. While her lack of a glamorous beauty resulted in her generally being cast in important but secondary roles, during a film career spanning almost twenty years she appeared in more than fifty motion pictures. She co-starred with Buck Jones in 1942's Dawn on the Great Divide. She died on June 27, 1964 in Los Angeles, California and is buried at the Knox United Church Cemetery in Agincourt, Ontario, Canada., author of "Fade to Black: Graveside Memories of Hollywood Greats, 1927-1950"

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