Friday, May 21, 2010

A Trio of Birthdays...

Happy Birthday to three wonderful actors today:
Robert Montgomery (1904-1991):

As a child, Robert Montgomery enjoyed a privileged life, as his father was the president of the New York Rubber Co. When he died, the fortune was gone and Robert worked at a number of jobs. He later went to New York to be a writer, and on the advice of a friend tried acting. He worked with George Cukor on the stage and his first film, at MGM, was So This Is College (1929). When Norma Shearer picked him to be her leading man in Private Lives (1931), he was set. He played many likable characters over the years, covering the gamut from very poor to very rich. In 1935, he became President of the Screen Actors Guild. His stay with MGM lasted 16 years, and was only interrupted by WWII when he joined the navy. He saw action in both Europe and the Pacific. He returned to MGM in 1945 and co-starred with John Wayne in the John Ford-directed They Were Expendable (1945) and then made his directorial debut with Lady in the Lake (1947) (although he had directed a few scenes, uncredited, in They Were Expendable (1945) when John Ford took ill). He then left MGM to become an independent director, preferring work behind the camera instead of in front. He was a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities in 1947 during the McCarthy era and then spent most of his time on television and stage. His popular show, "Robert Montgomery Presents" (1950), was where daughter Elizabeth Montgomery (who later gained fame as beautiful witch Samantha on TV's popular "Bewitched" (1964)) got her first acting job.

Robert Montgomery
Robert Montgomery Photos

Raymond Burr ( 1917-1993):

Born Raymond William Stacy Burr on 21 May 1917 in New Westminster, British Columbia, Burr spent most of his early life traveling. As a youngster, his father moved his family to China, where the elder Burr worked as a trade agent. When the family returned to Canada, Raymond's parents separated. He and his mother moved to Vallejo, California, where she raised him with the aid of her parents. As he got older, Burr began to take jobs to support his mother, younger sister and younger brother. He took jobs as a ranch hand in Roswell, New Mexico; as a deputy sheriff; a photo salesman; and even as a singer in night clubs.

In World War II, Burr served in the navy. In Okinawa, he was shot in the stomach and sent home. In 1946, Burr made his film debut in San Quentin (1946). From there, he appeared in more than 90 films before landing the role of defense attorney "Perry Mason" (1957) . In 1993, after a battle with cancer Burr died on 12 September 1993 at his ranch home.

Raymond Burr
Raymond Burr Photos

and finally Kay Kendall (1926-1959) leukemia:

Kay is the sister of actor Cavan Kendall.
Kay met and fell in love with Rex Harrison, who was married at the time, after they appeared together in The Constant Husband (1955). Rex learned of Kay's leukemia from her doctor a couple of years later. He divorced actress Lilli Palmer and quickly married Kay in 1957, agreeing with the doctor never to tell her the reason for her failing health. They lived the good life up until the end.
Cousin of Jack Cardiff
Sister of Kim Campbell
Actress Jill St. John has said that Kendall was her idol.
 My Favorite of her films include Les Girls with Gene Kelly and The Reluctant Debutante with Sandra Dee.
Kay Kendall
Kay Kendall Photos


  1. Monty, Awesome post!!!
    Did you ever get my e-mail?

  2. No I didn't. When did you send it? I sent you the questions the other day for your guest spot next month? Me you and Paul still need to get together for a weekly chat thru IM somewhere so it will be instanteous. Anyway, glad you like the birthday post. It was a big week for birthdays too.

  3. Monty, I sent it a couple of days ago. I was just asking about the questions you were going to send me. I received your e-mail and I'm about half finished filling out the questions. I will send it back to you in a few days :). I will look into IM for the weekly chat.

  4. I didn't get it Dawn. Sorry. Take your time with the questions though. Can't wait to hear your responses.


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