Here are 10 things you should know about Percy Helton, born 126 years ago today. The prolific character actor enjoyed a career that spanned 65 years.
Here are 10 things you should know about character actress Jessie Ralph, born 149 years ago today. Her Hollywood career lasted just nine years, but she made the most of it.
Here are 10 things you should know about Ruby Keeler, born 109 years ago today. She was one of the biggest stars of early movie musicals.
Here are 10 things you should know about Donald Crisp, born 137 years ago today. Crisp tended to play characters who were forthright and true, but offscreen he had few equals as a teller of tall tales. He claimed he was born in Scotland (he wasn’t), that he was a British spy in Russia right after World War I (nope), that his father was Royal Surgeon to the King (he wasn’t even a physician)—we could go on and on.
We think we have the facts straight for this video tribute, but don’t hold it against us if we get a detail or two wrong. Blame Crisp!
A few dozen pop culture aficionados gathered in the Bronx on Saturday, April 21, 2018, to pay tribute to entertainer Nora Bayes, who was once one of the biggest stars in America.
If you’re thinking you’re not familiar with Bayes, think again. You could almost certainly hum a few bars of at least a couple of her biggest hits: Shine On, Harvest Moon, which she cowrote and had a big hit with in 1908, and George M. Cohan‘s Over There, which she popularized in 1917 during the buildup to the USA’s entry into World War I.
Bayes, a popular vaudevillian and Broadway star, was a larger-than-life figure, a diva ahead of her time. One of the highest-paid women in the world at the peak of her career, Bayes, a featured performer in the Ziegfeld Follies, was a rival to Sophie Tucker, a fellow Follies performer who is arguably better remembered today.
While she was still living, Nora Bayes had a West 44th Street Broadway theatre named after her, and her life story was told in a posthumous biopic, Shine on, Harvest Moon (1944), in which she was portrayed by Ann Sheridan (Frances Langford played Bayes in the 1942 Cohan biopic, Yankee Doodle Dandy).
When Bayes died of cancer in 1928 at age 48, fans thronged the sidewalks outside her Manhattan townhouse to watch as she was carried away in a silver casket. She was taken to Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, but wasn’t buried right away; instead her remains were stored in a receiving tomb, a temporary resting place typically used only for a short period of time while burial arrangements are being made.
But arrangements for Bayes’ internment weren’t immediately forthcoming; in fact, she remained in that receiving tomb for 18 years, until 1948.