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The MGM gals...

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The MGM gals...#1
Posted: 8/18/07 at 3:49pm
It occurred to me (sadly) the other day that not many of "MGM gals" are still around from the biggest film studio during the Golden Age (40s and 50s).

I just felt like remembering them. I hope they're happy, healthy and know how much joy they continue to bring to us with their legacy of films.

Debbie Reynolds
Jane Powell
Esther Williams
Elizabeth Taylor
Lena Horne
Gloria De Haven
Angela Lansbury
Cyd Charisse
Leslie Caron
Margaret O'Brien
Kathryn Grayson
Marge Champion
Ann Rutherford


And the ones who are gone, but not forgotten...

June Alyson
Judy Garland
Ann Miller
Janet Leigh
Vera-Ellen
Lana Turner
Heddy Lamar
Katharine Hepburn
Lucille Ball
Rosalind Russell
Lucille Bremer
Virginia O'Brien


And of course the "Thalberg" Ladies from the early days of MGM in the '30s, only one of whom is still alive (Luise Rainer)...

Marie Dressler
Greta Garbo
Norma Shearer
Joan Crawford
Eleanor Powell
Marion Davies
Jean Harlow
Jeanette MacDonald

That's entertainment!


EDITED... to include a few others, as suggested, and as thought of. Why not?

"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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Updated On: 8/18/07 at 03:49 PM
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re: The MGM gals...#2
Posted: 8/18/07 at 3:58pm
Let me add to the "Gone but not forgotten" List:

The great...

The one and only....


ROSALIND RUSSELL!!!!!

Started her film career at MGM and continued to have an AMAZING career. Still playing financially and artistically successful lead roles up to the time of her death. And.. I might add LONG after many of her MGM contemporaries had fallen out of fashion or were reduced to doing "camp" projects.

She was real American class!
What great ones do the less will prattle of
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re: The MGM gals...#2
Posted: 8/18/07 at 4:34pm
ROZ ROCKS!
We serve their food, We carve their meat, We tend to their house, We polish their Silverware.
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re: The MGM gals...#3
Posted: 8/18/07 at 4:51pm
Jane Powell should be included in this list.
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
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re: The MGM gals...#4
Posted: 8/18/07 at 6:37pm
Virginia O'Brian
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re: The MGM gals...#5
Posted: 8/18/07 at 6:46pm
LOVE ROZ!
Cheyenne Jackson tickled me. AFTER ordering SoMMS a drink but NOT tickling him, and hanging out with Girly in his dressing room (where he DIDN'T tickle her) but BEFORE we got married. To others. And then he tweeted Boobs. He also tweeted he's good friends with some chick on "The Voice" who just happens to be good friends with Tink's ex. And I'm still married. Oh, and this just in: "Pettiness, spite, malice ....Such ugly emotions... So sad." - After Eight, talking about MEEEEEEEE!!! I'm so honored! :-)
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re: The MGM gals...#6
Posted: 8/18/07 at 7:09pm
In the midst of all the HSM2 "drama", I'm glad you posted these great ladies with superb talent! Here's my story. Cyd Charisse played at our local dinner theatre about 25 years ago in "Bell, Book, and Candle". When she walked on stage, she was just beautiful. She still had that rocking dancer's body with killer legs! Anyway, at the end of the show, she was holding the cat from the show in her arms. The lights on stage were pretty dark. Anyway, she side glided off stage without looking, knocked into something, and fell flat down. I was so embarassed for her. She tried to sue the theatre and they even called my mom because she was a loyal patron and we were front and center. We told them it was her fault, not the theatre's because she wasn't looking where she was going. She did get back up with great style but no one could get back stage to meet her. Been watching Lucy reruns on TV Land on Sunday mornings. This show is still so funny and the interaction with Lucy and Desi is somewhat bittersweet since we know what eventually happened between them. You couldn't deny their chemistry! Thanks Best for the continuing education and the fond memories!
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re: The MGM gals...#7
Posted: 8/18/07 at 7:16pm
You're welcome, supportivemom!

I love a good "star falls on her rump" story. Sorry it turned a bit nasty though!

But every time I watch her "Dancing in the Dark" with Fred Astaire in the Band Wagon... I fall in love with Cyd all over again.

EDIT: And I know Lucy, and Katharine Hepburn too, had succesful careers at RKO before jumping to MGM (just as Crawford had succes at Warners after leaving MGM)... I still considered them all "MGM gals" for their contributions to "treasured film" at that studio!
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
Updated On: 8/18/07 at 07:16 PM
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re: The MGM gals...#8
Posted: 8/18/07 at 7:50pm
I thought I'd share my one "brush" with the old MGM. I was thinking of it today... and I thought some of you might appreciate it.

It happened back around 1997, when A&E Biography did their terrific 2-hour special on the life of Judy Garland.

I got to attend a special premiere screening of it with a friend of mine who's a journalist out here. It was a red carpet affair held at the Radio & Television Museum in Beverly Hills. A small number of people in attendance really... about 150 total, if that. I was shocked that we got in the door, honestly.

But sitting in the small audience with me, and milling around at the party afterwards were:

Ann Rutherford
Mickey Rooney
Virginia O'Brien
William Tuttle (head of MGM makeup department)
Robert Stack
Jackie Cooper
Donna Massin (assistant choreographer on Wizard of Oz)
Jerry Maren (Lollipop Kid)
Margaret O'Brien
Gloria De Haven
The two "Dorothys" (who were chorus girls in many of the MGM musicals of the 40s)

And non MGM folks:

Rose Marie
Tippi Hedren
Joanne Worley
Mort Lindsey

I'm sure there were others I just can't think of right now...

We spent a bit of time milling around and talking with them at the "nibbly" reception afterwards... and I was in pure heaven.

Granted, it was a small group, but I was kind of in a "surreal shock," and it occurred to me that I really hadn't thought of these people as PEOPLE. They were film gods and goddesses from a magic era I could only watch on a screen. They weren't someone to chat with while we all sipped wine and bit into a cracker. But that night, I joked with Virginia O'Brien, who kept shaking her head and telling me that she was WAY overdressed for the occasion (she had a lovely white satin floor-length evening dress on, but most of them had come in classy cocktail attire). She said to me, "Boy I missed the memo on THAT one." It was so sweet to see Ann Rutherford and Mickey Rooney give each other a huge hug and kiss, and pick up a conversation they had started, probably years earlier, right where it had left off. I kept grinning at them and then finally said, "I can't get over it's Andy Hardy and Polly Benedict right here in front of me." They were both so happy that someone "my age" even knew who those characters were. I told them they would never be forgotten.

I also spent a little time talking with Donna Massin, who had taught Judy Garland her "skip step" down the Yellow Brick Road for The Wizard of Oz. Bobby Connolly had asked her to come up with something that she could do relatively "in place" so that they wouldn't run out of road too quickly during a dolly shot. She said, she was just messing around with it, and he said THAT'S IT! Use that. Donna was very funny dishing about how much of a "drill sergeant" Busby Berkeley was when he came in to choreograph a special dance sequence for the Scarecrow. I don't think she liked him much at all.

It was a rare evening, and I felt so lucky to be a part of it.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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re: The MGM gals...#9
Posted: 8/18/07 at 9:15pm
I'd like to suggest that Greer Garson be added to the list. And while I'm at it:

Mary Boland
Maureen O'Sullivan
Edna May Oliver
Paulette Goddard
Virginia Weidler
Joan Fontaine
Majorie Main
Virginia Grey
Dolores Gray
Merle Oberon
Ava Gardner

They had stars then.

I'm sure more will be added.
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re: The MGM gals...#10
Posted: 8/18/07 at 9:25pm
More stars than there are in the heavens, apparently.
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra
Salve, Salve Regina
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Eva
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
O clemens O pia
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re: The MGM gals...#11
Posted: 8/19/07 at 12:31am
Great story, Besty.

William Tuttle just passed away last week, I believe. I read his obit in the NYT. He is even credited with helping to make Cyd Charisse's legs look so gorgeous on screen!
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re: The MGM gals...#12
Posted: 8/19/07 at 9:18am
Whats amazing is how many of the MGM gals are still with us..the other studios, not so much. Warners has Olivia de Havilland (is Ann Blyth still with us?) Universal still has Gloria Jean, Patty Andrews (of the Andrews Sisters) and Deanna Durbin in happy retirement in the south of France since 1950. Paramount has the dreamy Lizbeth Scott, RKO has Jane Russell and aside from Gloria Stuart and Celeste Holm, these are the only Fox girls left:

Happy Day! Happy Day!
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
Updated On: 8/19/07 at 09:18 AM
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re: The MGM gals...#13
Posted: 8/19/07 at 9:27am
I did read about William Tuttle's passing, Miss Penny, and I was very sad to hear it. I spoke with him briefly that night as well, and he said (about his early years at MGM) that he never worked so hard in his life, but it was an incredible time.

BroadwayBulldog---great additions to the list! I missed a few big ones. I wasn't going to include all the character actresses initially, but WHY NOT? They had huge fan bases back then (still do!), and we should invite ALL the MGM gals to the party!

They all deserve to be recognized and celebrated.

Others to include:

Myrna Loy
Laraine Day
Donna Reed
Billie Burke
Spring Byington
Margaret Hamilton
Bonita Granville
Una Merkel
Maureen O'Sullivan
Alma Kruger
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
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re: The MGM gals...#14
Posted: 8/19/07 at 10:04am
MasterLcZ---So many of the "Warner gals" are gone now, including one of my best and closest friends in the world Andrea King. She passed away 4 years ago (it's hard to believe), and I miss her every day. She was like a second mother and a "soul mate" to me, and I put up a tribute site in her honor with plenty of pictures from her scrapbooks, for those of you who are interested.

www.andreaking.com

Andrea was there in the 1940s with these other gals who are gone but not forgotten:

Ida Lupino
Bette Davis
Joan Crawford
Ann Sheridan
Faye Emerson
Alexis Smith
Barbara Stanwyk
Dolores Moran
Martha Vickers
Ruby Keeler
Joan Blondell

Of the "Warner gals" still with us:

Jane Wyman (who is 93!)
Eleanor Parker (who is 85!)
Doris Day (83!)
Janis Paige (85 next month!)
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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re: The MGM gals...#15
Posted: 8/19/07 at 9:34pm
We need some MGM gal "eye candy"...

re: The MGM gals...

Debbie Reynolds


re: The MGM gals...

Jane Powell



re: The MGM gals...

Esther Williams



re: The MGM gals...

Elizabeth Taylor



re: The MGM gals...

Lena Horne


re: The MGM gals...

Gloria De Haven


re: The MGM gals...

Angela Lansbury


re: The MGM gals...

Cyd Charisse


re: The MGM gals...

Leslie Caron


re: The MGM gals...

Margaret O'Brien


re: The MGM gals...

Kathryn Grayson


re: The MGM gals...

Marge Champion


re: The MGM gals...

Ann Rutherford
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
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re: The MGM gals...#16
Posted: 8/19/07 at 9:56pm
Best- these photographs are beautiful!! Elizabeth Taylor was absolutely breathtaking! That photo could be of someone in today's world. Look at those gams on Cyd- wow! Thanks for sharing!
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re: The MGM gals...#17
Posted: 8/20/07 at 10:21pm
Had to bump this because more posters need to see these beautiful photographs!