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Jean Arthur, Comedic Actress From '30S-'40S, May 29, 1991

 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:28 am    Post subject: Jean Arthur, Comedic Actress From '30S-'40S, May 29, 1991 Reply with quote

Filmdom's Jean Arthur dies Starred opposite Stewart, Cooper, Grant in '30s-'40s hits
Evening Tribune (San Diego, CA) - June 20, 1991

Actress Jean Arthur, who portrayed a savvy political aide in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and starred in other Hollywood hits of the 1930s and 1940s, has died at the age of 90.

The actress died of heart failure at Carmel Convalescent Hospital yesterday, according to Ronald Siebe of the Paul Mortuary of Pacific Grove. She had lived in the Carmel area about 35 years.

Arthur began her film career with small parts in silent westerns and went on to starring roles as an urbane, witty woman.

"Jean had a very rare and special talent," former co-star Jimmy Stewart said yesterday. "My experience in working with her is something I will never forget."

The two starred in Frank Capra's 1939 classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Arthur played the savvy political aide who befriends and eventually falls in love with the naive, newly appointed senator played by Stewart. Stewart and Arthur also co-starred in "You Can't Take it With You," in 1938.

Arthur, a husky-voiced blonde, also played opposite such stars as Gary Cooper (in "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" and "The Plainsman"), Cary Grant ("The Talk of the Town"), John Wayne ("A Lady Takes a Chance"), Charles Boyer and Ronald Coleman.

She worked for several of Hollywood's greatest directors, including Capra, Howard Hawks, John Ford and George Stevens and was once nominated for an Oscar, for her starring role in Stevens' 1943 film "The More the Merrier." However, the Best Actress award that year went to Jennifer Jones for her role in "The Song of Bernadette."

Arthur's final movie role, after a five-year absence from Hollywood, was a starring one in Stevens' 1953 western classic "Shane," which co-starred Alan Ladd.

Arthur was born Gladys Georgianne Greene in Plattsburgh, N.Y. She began her film career under a one-year contract with Fox and worked nearly a dozen years before stardom struck.

She worked on Broadway early in her career, and in the 1950s she made stage appearances in productions of "Peter Pan" and "Saint Joan."

After a hiatus from Hollywood of more than a decade, she made a guest appearance in television's "Gunsmoke" in 1965 and returned in 1966 to star in the short-lived series "The Jean Arthur Show." She played a lawyer in partnership with her son.

In an interview that year, she said she dropped out of films because "I hated the place -- not the work, but lack of privacy, those terrible, prying fan-magazine writers and all the surrounding exploitation."

Though many of her films -- she made about 70 -- were box-office and critical successes, Arthur was always uncertain of her own abilities and backed out of many commitments over the years.

At Arthur's request, no funeral services will be held, Siebe said.

PHOTO: JEAN ARTHUR, Heart failure at age 90

Edition: 1,2,3,4
Page: A-8
Copyright 1991 Union Tribune Publishing Co.

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JEAN ARTHUR, COMEDIC ACTRESS FROM '30S, '40S
Daily News of Los Angeles (CA) - June 20, 1991

Jean Arthur, the husky-voiced star of a series of classic Hollywood comedies from the 1930s and 1940s, died Wednesday at a convalescent hospital in Carmel, Calif.

Peter Wright, a friend and financial adviser, put her age at 90, although several reference books list her year of birth as 1905. She had lived in the Carmel area for 35 years.

Cause of death was given as a heart ailment.

Her notable movies include "The More the Merrier", for which she received an Oscar nomination; "Shane," her final film; and three of Frank Capra's classics, "You Can't Take It With You," "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

In the latter film, Arthur played the cynical political aide who befriends and eventually falls in love with the naive, newly appointed senator played by Jimmy Stewart.

"Jean had a very rare and special talent," Stewart said Wednesday. "My experience in working with her is something I will never forget."

Arthur, who was born Gladys Greene, was the daughter of a New York City photographer. She quit school at age 15 to become a model and later switched to acting, making her film debut in 1923 in John Ford's "Cameo Kirby."

What one critic called her "long and dreary apprenticeship" followed, in which she played small roles in a number of low-budget Westerns. She wasn't noticed until John Ford's 1935 comedy "The Whole Town's Talking," in which she first demonstrated the light touch she would utilize in her most popular films.

She stopped making films in the mid-1940s, declaring at the time that she ''hated" Hollywood - "not the work, but the lack of privacy." She returned to the screen only twice. Her last film was the classic Western ''Shane" in 1953.

George Stevens, who directed "Shane" and "The More the Merrier," called her "one of the greatest comediennes the screen has ever seen." Capra called her "my favorite actress."

She won critical acclaim in a Broadway production of "Peter Pan" in the early 1950s, and played a lawyer on a short-lived TV series, "The Jean Arthur Show," in 1966. She taught drama at Vassar and other colleges.

At Arthur's request, no funeral services will be held. Her remains will be cremated and her ashes will be scattered at sea. Divorced from Hollywood producer Frank Ross, she left no survivors.

Edition: Valley
Page: N14
Copyright (c) 1991 Daily News of Los Angeles

--------------------------------------

JEAN ARTHUR, 90, ONE OF LEADING LADIES IN HOLLYWOOD DURING 1930S AND '40S
San Jose Mercury News (CA) - June 20, 1991

Actress Jean Arthur, who began her career with small parts in silent Western films and went on to starring roles as an urbane, witty woman in Hollywood hits of the 1930s and '40s, died Wednesday.

Miss Arthur, who had lived in the Carmel area about 35 years, died at Carmel Convalescent Hospital, said Ronald Siebe of the Paul Mortuary in Pacific Grove. She was 90, according to Peter Wright, a retired banker who was a friend and financial adviser. Some reference books put her age at 82 or 85.

Miss Arthur and Jimmy Stewart starred in Frank Capra's 1939 classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," with Arthur playing the savvy political aide who befriends and eventually falls in love with the naive, newly appointed senator played by Stewart.

''Jean had a very rare and special talent," Stewart said Wednesday. "My experience in working with her is something I will never forget."

The two also co-starred in "You Can't Take it With You," in 1938.

Miss Arthur, a blond with a distinctive, husky voice, also played opposite such stars as Gary Cooper (in "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" and "The Plainsman"), Cary Grant ("The Talk of the Town"), John Wayne ("A Lady Takes a Chance"), Charles Boyer and Ronald Colman.

Directors she worked under included Capra, Howard Hawks, John Ford and George Stevens.

She was nominated once for an Oscar, for her starring role in Stevens' "The More the Merrier," in 1943, but the Best Actress award for the year went to Jennifer Jones for her role in "The Song of Bernadette."

Arthur's final movie role, after a five-year absence from Hollywood, was a major one in Stevens' 1953 western classic, "Shane," starring Alan Ladd.

Miss Arthur was born Gladys Georgianne Greene in Plattsburgh, N.Y. She began her Hollywood career under a one- year contract with Fox and worked nearly a dozen years before attaining stardom.

She did some acting on Broadway early in her career, and in the 1950s she made stage appearances in productions of "Peter Pan" and "Saint Joan."

After a hiatus from Hollywood of more than 10 years, she made a guest appearance in television's "Gunsmoke" in 1965 and returned in 1966 to star in the short-lived series "The Jean Arthur Show." She played a lawyer in partnership with her son.

In an interview with The Associated Press that year, she said she had dropped out of films because "I hated the place -- not the work, but lack of privacy, those terrible, prying fan magazine writers and all the surrounding exploitation."

Miss Arthur was married once, to Hollywood producer Frank Ross, who later married Joan Caulfield. On Tuesday, Caulfield died of cancer in Los Angeles.

At Miss Arthur's request, no funeral services will be held, Siebe said. Arthur's remains will be cremated and her ashes will be scattered at sea off Point Lobos. She left no survivors.

PHOTO: AP File Photograph
IN 1939 CLASSIC -- Jean Arthur, who starred in witty roles in Hollywood films of the 1930s and '40s, starred with Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Edition: Morning Final
Page: 5B
Copyright (c) 1991 San Jose Mercury News

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Actress Jean Arthur Dies in Carmel
San Francisco Chronicle (CA) - June 20, 1991

Jean Arthur, whose wit and cracked husky voice made her one of Hollywood's most popular comedians of the 1930s and 1940s, died yesterday of a heart ailment in Carmel. She was 90.

Propelled to stardom partially by Hollywood's 1933 Production Code, which prompted screenwriters to substitute quips for double entendres, Miss Arthur cheerfully twitted the top leading men of the era - Gary Cooper in "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" and "The Plainsman," Cary Grant in "Only Angels Have Wings," and James Stewart in perhaps her best-known film, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

She credited Frank Capra with nurturing her skill in "Mr. Deeds" (1936) and "Mr. Smith" (1939).

Although she was praised for her role as the fledgling Senator Smith's savvy political aide, who teaches him the Washington ropes and then falls in love with him in that 1939 film, the Academy Award eluded her that year and throughout her career.

Her only Best Actress nomination was for "The More the Merrier" in 1943. George Stevens, director of that film, once called Miss Arthur "one of the greatest comediennes the screen has ever seen."

Asked why she left Hollywood after more than 70 films, Miss Arthur said in 1966, "I hated the place - not the work, but the lack of privacy, those terrible, prying fan magazine writers and all the surrounding exploitation."

Very shy, she resisted posing for the "leg art" obligatory for female stars in the 1930s and was said to lock herself in her dressing room and cry after film takes.

Her elusiveness led to stories about self-doubts and later psychoanalysis with Dr. Erich Fromm. In 1972, she remarked, "I guess I became an actress because I didn't want to be myself."

Born Gladys Georgianna Greene in New York City, Miss Arthur dropped out of school to become a model when she was 15. (When pressed by Hollywood to take a euphonious name, she chose one honoring two idols - Jeanne d'Arc and King Arthur.)

She made her film debut in a bit part in the 1923 film "Cameo Kirby" and followed with several undistinguished roles in low-budget comedy shorts and Westerns.

Returning to Broadway hoping to boost her career, she won critical acclaim in "Foreign Affairs" and "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head" in the early 1930s.

Her Hollywood breakthrough came in 1935. She showed her light comedic touch as a witty girl-next-door in director John Ford's "The Whole Town's Talking."

She returned to Broadway for a triumphant "Peter Pan" in the early 1950s and made her final film, "Shane," in 1953, as the frontier mother opposite Alan Ladd and Van Heflin. In 1965, she had a short-lived television series, The Jean Arthur Show, in which she played a lawyer.

She spent most of her later years at her coastal retreat in Carmel.

Miss Arthur was married twice, to Julian Anker, a photographer, in 1928 and to Frank Ross, a producer, from 1932 to 1949. Both unions ended in divorce, and she leaves no immediate survivors.

At her request, there will be no services. Her ashes will be scattered at sea.

Friends suggest memorial contributions be made to the Monterey Institute of International Studies, P.O. Box 1978, Monterey 93942, or to the Miss Jean Arthur Fund at the Robert Louis Stevenson School, Forest Lake Road, Pebble Beach 93953.

Arthur played opposite Gary Cooper in "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town'

Edition: FINAL
Page: B6
Copyright (c) 1991 The Chronicle Publishing Co.
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