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Friday, March 25, 2011

Anne Revere.........

I have a thing for beloved character actors of yore.....I'm sure you've probably watched Butterfield 8, Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf, Cat on a hot tin roof, A place in the sun....National Velvet....I'm sure you've probably watched one of these, or one of many other Elizabeth Taylor movies in the last couple of days. I know I have. A lot of revisiting Taylor movies, in light of her passing.

I watch a lot of old movies, always have. Being the dork that I am, I have this fascination with character actors....Edna May Oliver, Peter Lorre, Edmund Gwen, Elisha Cook Jr., Beulah Bondi, Edward Arnold, Eugene Pallette........never the star, but often one of the most important parts of the movie.

So today, I had thought of putting up some pics of Elizabeth Taylor. No. Everyone else is doing that, whether or not they ever watched any of her movies or were a fan, they're all posting 'tributes'. It wouldn't feel right to me to do that. I'll just watch some movies and remember. 

So today.....Anne Revere. One of my favourite character actresses. I just watched her twice last night in two roles......I was watching  'National Velvet', where she was Taylor's mother, and also in 'A place in the sun', where she played Montgomery Clift's mother. Always wonderful....and here she is.

A bit of bio:

Anne Revere (June 25, 1903 – December 18, 1990) was an American stage, film, and television actress.

Born in New York City, Revere was a direct descendant of American Revolution hero Paul Revere. Her father was a stockbroker, and she was raised on the Upper West Side and in Westfield, New Jersey. In 1926, she graduated from Wellesley College, then enrolled at the American Laboratory School to study acting with Maria Ouspenskaya and Richard Boleslavsky.

Revere made her Broadway debut in 1931 in The Great Barrington. Three years later, she went to Hollywood to reprise her stage role in the film adaptation of Double Door. She returned to Broadway to create the role of Martha Dobie in the original 1934 production of The Children's Hour, and in later years she appeared on the New York stage in As You Like It, The Three Sisters, and Toys in the Attic (play), for which she won the 1960 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play.

Revere worked steadily as a character actress in films, appearing in nearly three dozen between 1934 and 1951.She frequently was cast in the role of a matriarch and played mother to Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck, John Garfield, and Montgomery Clift, among others. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress three times and won for her performance in National Velvet. Additional screen credits included The Song of Bernadette, Gentleman's Agreement, The Keys of the Kingdom, Body and Soul, and A Place in the Sun.

In 1951, Revere resigned from the board of the Screen Actors Guild after she pleaded the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. She would not appear again on film for the next twenty years, finally returning to the screen in Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. She began appearing on television in 1960, notably in soap operas such as The Edge of Night, Search for Tomorrow, and Ryan's Hope.

Revere and her husband, theatre director Samuel Rosen, moved to New York and opened an acting school, and she continued to work in summer stock and regional theater productions and on television.

Revere died of pneumonia in her Locust Valley, New York home at the age of 87. reminiscence of Elizabeth Taylor (couldn't help it). I was talking to my mom. Her cousin was Woody Shelp, the Theatrical milliner. He knew Taylor well, and had worked with her several times. My mom was telling me quite a bit of what he had said about her as person.....interesting stuff. I guess no one sees you at your most natural quite like your makeup artist, your doctor, or in Woody's case, your milliner.  He said that she was incredibly earthy, not an ounce of artifice....she had the worst language he had ever heard come from the mouth of a woman, and that she was hilarious...very funny. She had a wooden other words, always with a drink in her hand, even early in the day...but never drunk, certainly never appearing drunk. Lastly, he said that she was truly one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen, and he specifically said that he was referring to her being beautiful WITHOUT makeup...early morning fittings, seeing her in a bathrobe, with no makeup at all. I just wanted to share that. :)

A bit about Woody:

Woody Shelp, a Theatrical Milliner Whose Lids Were Seen in A Chorus Line, Follies and More, Dead

02 Jun 2004

Woody Shelp, who created hats for more than 140 Broadway shows and scores of films and television productions, died May 26, after a long illness.

Considered the major figure among American theatrical milliners, Woodrow Lee Shelp was born in 1927 in Bancroft, MI, to Elburn and Agnes Shelp.

Mr. Shelp first developed a fascination with millinery in 1946 while creating window displays for B. Siegel Co., the Detroit retailer. Before moving to New York, he also worked for the Michigan-based couturier, Ruth Joyce, creating hats for the wives and daughters of Michigan’s automobile barons. Moving to Manhattan in 1950, he found work packing and shipping hats for Hattie Carnegie, the doyenne of American fashion millinery.

Mr. Shelp's career aspirations changed after he attended the original run of The King and I. His door to the theatre world came from designer Irene Sharaff, the Oscar-winning costume designer for "The King and I." She often purchased her personal hats from John Frederics, another fashion milliner for whom Mr. Shelp worked as an assistant. While visiting Frederics' shop, Sharaff announced that she needed assistants for three productions she was preparing for the 1957 Broadway season. Mr. Shelp was hired, and he made his Broadway debut helping to create hats for Ethel Merman and Fernando Lamas, the stars of Happy Hunting.

In 1962, working again with Sharaff, Mr. Shelp was able to launch his own business. Jenny, starring Mary Martin, was the first Broadway show to offer the credit, "Hats by Woody Shelp."
Mr. Shelp's detailed creations helped to define the visual style of the majority of important plays and musicals on Broadway and on tour for the next 30 years. Memorably, he designed feathered and beaded headdresses for the towering showgirls in Follies (the stunning photographs of the original run, with ghostly chorus girls towering over scenes, stimulated the imaginations of thousands who never saw the staging).

He also designed the picture-brim hats worn by Mia Farrow in "The Great Gatsby"; the outrageous black-and-white headgear for Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil in "101 Dalmatians"; and the top hats for the finale of Michael Bennett's A Chorus Line.

Mr. Shelp's association with Bennett continued when the director-choreographer purchased 890 Broadway, a commercial-industrial building, which soon became a veritable factory for Broadway productions. In addition to rehearsal studios, "890" provided a home for theatrical artisans – costumers, cobblers and milliners, including Mr. Shelp, who was among the first of the tradespeople persuaded by Bennett to move their studios to his building. Mr. Shelp relocated his business to 890 Broadway in 1980 and continued to work there, often with only one or two assistants, until his retirement in 2002.

For his work in the theatre, Mr. Shelp received the Irene Sharaff Artisan Award in 2000. In 1989 his work was honored by the Fashion Institute of Technology in a retrospective of 20th-century millinery.

In addition to his nine nieces and nephews, he is survived by Frank and Patricia Shelp of Wolverine, MI; Howard and Marie Shelp of Portage, MI; and Doris Denfield of Littleton, CO.
The Shelp family asks that donations in memory of Woody Shelp be made to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a charitable organization with which Mr. Shelp had a long and active association.

A viewing will be held June 3, from 6-9 PM at Love Funeral Home, 503 West Maple Avenue, Bancroft, MI. A final service and burial will be conducted Friday, June 4, at 1 PM.

Back to the music................

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