Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Edmund Burns, Clara Bow, Lloyd Nolan, Donald O'Connor

Who was born on this date:

Actor Edmund Burns was born on September 27, 1892 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was an actor who appeared in nearly one hundred films from 1915 to 1936.  Notable film credits include D. W. Griffith’s epic, Birth of a Nation (1915), and Frank Capra’s Academy Award winning film, It Happened One Night (1934), starring Clark Gable, and Claudette Colbert. Burns died on April 2, 1980, and his grave is located at Pacific View Memorial Park in Newport Beach, California.

Who died on this date:

On September 27, 1965, actress Clara Bow died. She was born on July 29, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York. Her high spirits and acting artistry made her the quintessential flapper and the film It brought her global fame and the nickname "The It Girl." Bow came to personify the roaring twenties and is described as its leading sex symbol. She appeared in 46 silent films and 11 talkies, including hits such as Mantrap (1926), It (1927) and Wings (1927). She was first box-office draw in 1928 and 1929 and second in 1927 and 1930. Her presence in a motion picture has been described to have ensured investors, by odds of almost 2-to-1, a "safe return" with only two exceptions. At the apex of her stardom, in January 1929, she received more than 45,000 fan letters. Bow ended her career with Hoop-La (1933), and became a rancher in Nevada. In 1931 she married actor Rex Bell, later politician and Lieutenant Governor, with whom she had two sons. 

In 1944, while Bell was running for the U.S. House of Representatives, Bow tried to commit suicide. A note was found in which Bow stated she preferred death to a public life. In 1949 she checked into The Institute of Living to be treated for her chronic insomnia and diffuse abdominal pains. Shock treatment was tried and numerous psychological tests performed. Her pains were considered delusional and she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, despite experiencing neither sound nor vision hallucinations, or psychosis. Bow spent her last years in Culver City, Los Angeles under the constant care of a nurse, living off an estate worth about $500,000 at the time of her death. She died on September 27, 1965 of a heart attack. She was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

On September 27, 1985, actor Lloyd Nolan died. He was born on August 11, 1902 in San Francisco, California. He began his career on stage and was subsequently lured to Hollywood, where he played mainly doctors, detectives, and police officers in many movie roles. Although Nolan's acting was often praised by critics, he was, for the most part, relegated to B pictures. The majority of Nolan's films comprised light entertainment with an emphasis on action. His most famous films include: Atlantic Adventure, Ebb Tide; Wells Fargo; Every Day's A Holiday, Bataan, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Peyton Place. Later in his career, he returned to the stage and appeared on television to great acclaim in The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, for which he received an Emmy award. He also appeared in other numerous television shows throughout the 1960’s. Nolan died of lung cancer in Los Angeles on September 27, 1985 and is buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

On September 27, 2003, actor Donald O’Connor died. He was born on August 28, 1925 in Danville, Illinois. O'Connor began performing in movies at the age of 12 in 1937. In 1942 O'Connor joined Universal Pictures and achieved stardom with Mister Big (1943). In 1949, he played the lead role in Francis, the story of a soldier befriended by a talking mule. The film was a huge success. However, his musical career was constantly interrupted by his making one Francis film a year until 1955. O'Connor's role as Cosmo the piano player in Singin’ in the Rain (1952), earned him a Golden Globe Award. He died from heart failure on September 27, 2003 and his burial place is in dispute, some sources state that he is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Hollywood Hills and others have his ashes with family.

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