Actor Peter Lawford was born on September 7, 1923 in London, England. He was a member of the "Rat Pack", and brother-in-law to President John F. Kennedy. In his earlier professional years (late 1930s through the 1950s) he had a strong presence in popular culture and starred in a number of highly acclaimed films. Lawford made his film debut in Poor Old Bill (1930). His first major movie role was A Yank at Eton (1942), where he played a snobbish bully opposite Mickey Rooney. The picture was a smash hit, and Lawford's performance was widely praised. He won even greater acclaim for his performance in The White Cliff of Dover (1944), in which he played a young soldier in World War II. MGM gave him another important role in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Son of Lassie (1945).
Director Elia Kazan was one of the giants of American film; he was respected by many and despised by others. He was born Elias Kazanjoglou on September 7, 1909 in Constantinople, Turkey. Kazan immigrated to the United States in his late teens to attend college at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts and after graduation studied drama at Yale University. In 1932, he joined the Group Theater in New York City, there he met and became good friends with Lee Strasberg. This group evolved and began to advocate for social change through political agitation. It was during this time that Kazan joined the Communist Party and embraced left-wing politics, which had become popular among the theater crowd. After two years he became disenchanted with the party and left the organization but he continued to be an advocate of free speech and discussion.
Actress Merna Kennedy was born on September 7, 1908 in Kankakee, Illinois. She is best-known for her film role opposite Charlie Chaplin in the silent film The Circus (1928). A dancer, she had muscular legs which helped her gain the role of the circus bareback rider. Kennedy continued acting after The Circus, starring in early sound films, but retired in 1934, when she married choreographer/director Busby Berkeley. Their marriage broke up a year later. Other notable film credits include King of Jazz (1930) and Lady with a Past (1932). Kennedy died from a heart attack on December 20, 1944 at age 36 in Los Angeles, California. She is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, Califiornia.
Who died on this date:
On September 7, 1994, actor Dennis Morgan died. He was born on December 20, 1908 in Prentice, Wisconsin. Morgan was a leading man with Warner Bros. in the 1940s, starring with best friend Jack Carson in many movies, several of which were "two guys" buddy pictures. His peak years were 1943 to 1949. He appeared in sporadic TV guest roles in the 1950s and quietly retired with an occasional spot on TV after 1955. Notable film credits include Kitty Foyle (1940), The Desert Song (1943), Christmas in Connecticut (1945), God is my Co-Pilot (1945), and Perfect Strangers (1950). He died on September 7, 1994 in Fresno, California and is buried at the Oakhill Cemetery in Oakhurst, California.
On September 7, 1951, actress María Montez died. She was born on June 6, 1912 in the Dominican Republic. She was an actress who gained fame and popularity in the 1940s as an exotic beauty starring in a series of filmed-in-Technicolor costume adventure films. Her screen image was that of a hot-blooded Latin seductress, dressed in fanciful costumes and sparkling jewels. She became so identified with these adventure epics that she became known as "The Queen of Technicolor." Over her career, Montez appeared in 26 films some of her notable credits include Arabian Nights (1942), White Savage (1943), Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944), Cobra Woman (1944), Gypsy Wildcat (1944), and Sudan (1945). She suffered a heart attack and drowned in her bathtub on September 7, 1951in Suresnes, France and is buried at the Cimetiere du Montparnasse in Paris.
On September 7, 1965, actress Catherine Owen died. She was born on July 28, 1900 in Louisville, Kentucky. Owen graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She appeared on Broadway in the 1920s through early 1930s in productions including The Mountain Man, The Whole Town's Talking, Trelawny of the Wells, The Love City and The Play's the Thing. In films, Owen appeared in His Glorious Night (1929), The Rogue Song (1930), Born Reckless (1930), and Behind Office Doors (1931). Owen movie career ended in 1931 after appearing only nine feature films. She died on September 7, 1965 from a stroke in New York City and is buried at the Old Tennent Churchyard Cemetery in Tennent, New Jersey.