End Credits #83: Cinema's 2018 Lost Treasures Mary Carlisle
Actress Mary Carlisle (February 3, 1914 - August 1, 2018) one of Hollywood's most enduring stars, has died at age 104.
Guest contributor Bob DiMucci has provided a tribute, including some highlights, to her motion picture acting career:
The Film Appearances of Mary Carlisle
Mary Carlisle had a bit part in the 1932 Oscar-winning Best Picture GRAND HOTEL. She played "Mrs. Hoffman," a honeymooner. Edmund Goulding directed the film, which had an uncredited score by Charles Maxwell.
Carlisle had a supporting role in the 1934 Will Rogers comedy HANDY ANDY, which marked the feature film debut of actor Robert Taylor. In the film, "Andrew Yates" (Rogers), a hard-working, old-fashioned druggist, is badgered by his socially ambitious wife "Ernestine" (Peggy Wood) to sell his shop and retire to a life of travel and parties. Andy reluctantly acquiesces, but is soon at loose ends and finds himself trying to avoid Ernestine's singing lessons while helping their daughter "Janice" (Mary Carlisle) continue her romance with "Lloyd" (Taylor), of whom Ernestine disapproves. David Butler directed the film, which had an uncredited score by David Buttolph.
Mary Carlisle co-starred in the 1934 Wheeler & Woolsey comedy KENTUCKY KERNELS. The comic pair play two has-been vaudevillians who adopt a little boy (Spanky McFarland) only to find out that he is heir to a Kentucky fortune. There they meet their neighbors, the Wakefield family, including the crusty "Colonel Wakefield" (Noah Berry) and the colonel's daughter "Gloria" (Carlisle). The great George Stevens directed the film. The picture had two songs by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, along with an uncredited score by Roy Webb.
Bing Crosby and Mary Carlisle first appeared together in the 1933 film COLLEGE HUMOR. Their second of three features was 1937's DOUBLE OR NOTHING. In this musical comedy, when singer "Lefty Boylan" (Crosby) returns a wallet he finds, he gets involved in a bet made by a deceased millionaire in his will. If in 30 days Lefty can double $5,000 that he is given, the millionaire's entire inheritance is his, otherwise it goes to the millionaire's brother (Samuel S. Hinds). The brother assigns his daughter "Vicki" (Carlisle) to keep an eye on Lefty. Jay Theodore Reed directed the film. Victor Young did the orchestral arrangements for the songs.
DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (1940) may sound like the title of a frothy musical, but it is actually a drama about several women trying to make a career in the world of dance. Maureen O'Hara starred as an aspiring young ballerina, who is attracted to the scion of a wealthy family (Louis Hayward). Lucille Ball and Mary Carlisle played her friends and fellow dancing aspirants. In a rarity for 1940's Hollywood, this film was directed by a woman, Dorothy Arzner, who stepped in to direct the picture after Roy Del Ruth quit over creative differences with producer Erich Pommer. O'Hara and co-star Lucille Ball became inseparable friends while shooting this drama, and remained lifelong friends until Ball's death in 1989. O'Hara was having lunch with her when Ball first saw her future husband, Desi Arnaz, on the RKO lot.
Following her damsel-in-distress role in the horror opus DEAD MEN WALK (1943) with George Zucco and Dwight Frye, Mary Carlisle retired from the screen at age 30, prompted by her marriage to James Blakeley, a flying supervisor, the year before. The Beverly Hills couple had one son. Her husband, a former actor who also appeared in '30's musicals with Bing Crosby as a dapper second lead (TWO FOR TONIGHT (1935)), later became an important executive (producer, editor, etc) at Twentieth Century-Fox. In later years, Mary managed an Elizabeth Arden Salon in Beverly Hills. In 1960, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6679 Hollywood Blvd.