Sunday, November 22, 2009

Versatile a la Lee


Effie Perine, Sam Spade's no-nonsense secretary in The Maltese Falcon (1941). Deb, Charlotte Vale's chatty traveling companion in Now, Voyager (1942). Mrs. Biederhof, the "distinctly middle-class" romantic rival to Mildred Pierce (1945). Elvira, the hard-bitten queen bee of the women's prison of Caged (1950). Doris Upson, the dithering, twittering, blithely bigoted suburban matron from Auntie Mame (1958).

This classic gallery of memorable supporting roles was created by one remarkable actress, Lee Patrick. A long-standing feud with the all-powerful Louella O. Parsons (who took issue with an unflattering article Patrick's journalist husband wrote about the gossip columnist) prevented Patrick from moving to the front ranks in Hollywood; she was seriously considered for the leads in Stage Door and Stella Dallas (both 1937), but rumors of repercussions against RKO from La Parsons squashed those plans.

LEE PATRICK AND HUMPHREY BOGART IN THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)

LEE PATRICK AND BETTE DAVIS IN NOW, VOYAGER (1942)

WILLARD WATERMAN, ROSALIND RUSSELL AND LEE PATRICK IN AUNTIE MAME (1958)

She may never have become a major star, but Lee Patrick made the most of her often too-brief screen time. We thank her for endless hours of movie watching pleasure, and wish this SSUWAT favorite the happiest of birthdays, wherever she is, and whichever part she's playing. Whatever the role, we know she's essaying it perfectly.

LEE PATRICK
November 22, 1901 - November 21, 1982

10 comments:

  1. I never put it together that Mrs. Biederhof and Doris Upson were the same person!

    I suppose that makes all other supporting actresses, just plain jack cheese and chutney.

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  2. Being an old character woman myself, they really are the more fun parts to play.

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  3. and don't forget her run as Henrietta Topper on the eponymous 50's sit-com. She was the vice versa of Gladys Kravitz in "Bewitched". Henrietta never saw George and Marion.

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  4. That Louella Parsons has a lot to answer for! Mind you, Liz Taylor got her own back on her by playing Louella as the truly evil old witch she was in "Malice In Wonderland"...

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  5. Feuds between powerful ladies...well.....we know about these women's things, don't we, dear? Perhaps she could've had Yul Ulu design an ejection seat for Louella's office chair.

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  6. This post included three of my favorite movies and I never realized the same actress was in each of them. That's why I love SSUWAT!

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  7. normadesmond - and woke up this morning with spots. Grrr. This, after some c**t described me as "an older, middle aged Asian man." With pimples, yet.

    ayem8y - I'll bet you use honey for other purposes than daquiris.

    FelixinHollywood - I see you more as a late-period Joan Crawford or Barbara Stanwyck type, myself... and, of course, your screenwriters still refer to you in dialogue as "girl" and "young lady."

    Labuanbajo - I knew she was in "Topper," but I've never seen any episodes! Are they any good?

    Jon - "That Louella Parsons has a lot to answer for!" Including several stained seat covers - she supposedly was prone to wetting herself at parties. And La Liz, even in her later period, was still 10x better looking than that old bag!

    marksparky - Perhaps no one wanted to get on the wrong side of Lolly's husband, either: Docky Martin, "Dr. Velvet Finger," Hollywood's top proctologist. One never knew when one might need his services...

    Scooter - Let me just guess which three... Hee hee!

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  8. here's a quick look at Lee in Topper.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkncUa9Zk7s

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