Friday, January 16, 2015

Vivian Vance

Vivian Vance
Born: Vivian Roberta Jones on July 26, 1909
Died: August 17, 1979 (70 years old)

We all love Lucy. Naturally, talented and hilarious, and humble. What is not to love about Lucy? We also love the neighbors, Fred and Ethel Mertz. Who have lighted up our lives for many years and who happen to be America's favorite neighbors. What surprises the world, is that America's favorite team, was the teams least favorite people. Meaning? Vivian Vance and William Frawley hated each other. I always wondered, is "Hate" too strong a word for the way they felt about each other? The fact remain, that William Frawley was okay with making another series, a spin-off and it would have been their own show. The Mertzs show. But Vivian Vance said no and  that was that. Although both went their own ways, they will always be remembered as the Mertzs. 

Vivian Vance became a star through her home town. Appearing in plays, she was a great singer, but an even more fantastic actress. She appeared onstage in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While William Frawley was a stage man too, the both never crossed paths. But then again, she was onstage as a singer and actress, he was in vaudeville. She was married a few times, and also suffered from depression. A disease most common in America. But she persevered and became a well known TV actress. She was married to a man most people would recognize at a drop off a hat. His name was Philip Ober. You might know him from such classics as From Here To Eternity and also a little scene from Hitchcock's classic, North by Northwest. The scene in which Cary Grant is in the United Nations Building, and the man he is talking to all of a sudden has a knife thrown into his back? You know that scene... That's Philip Ober. In From Here To Eternity, he is Burt Lancaster's boss. 

But though he was someone what appeared in such classics, he was awfully jealous when Vivian Vance became a huge success in I Love Lucy. He began beating her, and would often stalk her. I know that sounds so odd, a husband stalking his wife. But he would literally sit in the audience and laugh loudly while Vivian was working. Some say he loved the sound of his own voice. And would watch the episodes and knew when he was laughing. Though, nobody else knew either. Lucille Ball was aware of his abuse and one day told Vivian Vance "if you don't divorce that man, I will." She eventually did, and was better for it. I can't imagine anyone hating Vivian Vance, or William Frawley for that matter. But I guess that happens.

She died of cancer. Breast and bone cancer. While sick, even though at the beginning of I Love Lucy, she did not love Lucy at first and even said "if this show takes off, I'll learn to love that bitch." But while she was sick, Lucille Ball went to visit Vivian in  her home. They laughed and talked and reminisce on old times. That was a great day for both women. And a deserved time.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Vivian Vance. I enjoyed writing it. I enjoy her very much and enjoy her comedic side. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

William Frawley

William Frawley
Born: February 26, 1887 in Burlington, Iowa
Died: March 3, 1966 age 79 of a heart attack in Los Angeles

This is a post about a underrated man, and actor. The man was misunderstood and had a very cold demeanor. But we all know him, we all know someone like him. For me, he always reminded me of my grandpa. I don't know if it was the way he dressed on I Love Lucy, or the fact that he loved sports and seemed to know everything about baseball, and football. Do you love the Mertzes too? Here is his story...

With his brother Paul, William Frawley toured America and did well doing so. They were in Vaudeville and made people laugh and forget their troubles if just for a night. They made themselves a team in East St. Louis. Without their father and mother's blessings. William Frawley ended up meeting and marrying Edna. She too was a vaudevillian and together they became a well loved vaudeville couple. Little fact, she was a red head. He called her red. They ended up separating in 1921 but did finalize their divorce until December of 1927. Edna, never remarried,  and ended her 100 years on this earth in New Port Richey, Florida. She died November 1, 1992.

While in school, William Frawley played baseball and football, and was a lifelong New York Yankees fan. He moved to Hollywood in 1933 and made his first sports movie nine years after entering Hollywood. The movie was Errol Flynn's Gentleman Jim. I always found it neat that I would be watching a random classic movie, and all of a sudden, William Frawley, one of my favorite people in my opinion, from the greatest show on earth, I Love Lucy. He was in 167 movies in his very long movie career. Pretty impressive that he was in so many movies after being told that he was unattractive and would never amount to anything in Hollywood. But remember that sometimes the most famous people were once shunned in their own specialties. 

Often known for his drinking, he sobered up enough for I Love Lucy, and was always on point in the filming of the worlds most known and loved TV show. 

Here is a list of William Frawley movies that I have seen him in and that you probably have too...

Roberta (1935) - a Astaire and Rogers movie.

One Night in the Tropics (1940) - Abbott and Costello Film.

Roxie Hart (1942) - Ginger Rogers movie.

Whistling in Brooklyn (1943) - Red Skelton Film.

Going My Way (1944) - Bing Crosby movie.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

East Side, West Side (1949) - Barbara Stanwyck movie.

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)

and of course his most famous:

I Love Lucy (1951-1957) 


My Three Sons (1960-1972) Frawley was in from 1960-1965