Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday: Priscilla Lane!

Priscilla Lane, attended the Eagin School of Dramatic Arts in New York, before she began touring with her sisters in the Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians Dance Band. She was a popular singer with her sisters and after 5 years, she was signed to a Hollywood contract with Warner Brothers in 1937. In most of her films, all Priscilla had to do was to look pretty and give a good supporting performance.

Her first film was Varsity Show (1937). Begins at Winfield College, where the students are trying to put together the annual varsity show come into conflict with their faculty adviser, an old fashioned professor who won't allow the new "swing" music be played in the show. They decide to ask a former student who is now a big Broadway star and have him direct their show. What they don't know is that this "star's" last three shows were big flops. Priscilla, performed as a singer with the Fred Waring Band. She was to play the nice girl against the temperamental star played by her sister Rosemary Lane.

Over the years, Priscilla would play girlfriends, daughters and fiancees. She would team with her two sisters, Rosemary Lane and Lola Lane, in the film, Four Daughters (1938). A story about Musician Adam Lemp and his four musical daughters, Emma, Ann, Kay, and Thea, live happily together. Each daughter has a boyfriend. However, the arrival of a cynical, somewhat depressed young composer named Mickey Borden turns the household upside-down and romantic with tragic complications. This film would be the one that made John Garfield a star.

The Roaring Twenties (1939). Three men try and make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944). A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs and that insanity runs in his family. This film was released 3 years after it was filmed, Priscilla would play the fiancee of Cary Grant.

When Alfred Hitchcock was unable to get Barbara Stanwyck, he cast Priscilla in the film, Saboteur (1942). A story about an Aircraft factory worker Barry Kane, who goes on the run across the United States when he is wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend. Priscilla, character goes on the run with the hero.

She would appear in just a couple of films over the next five years before retiring in 1948. After which, she followed her Air Force husband around from the world from base to base, singing at camp shows.

They eventually settled in New England and had four children: Joseph Lawrence (1945), Hannah (1950), Judith (1953) and James (1955).


  1. How fun to learn a bit more about Miss Lane! Of course, since I love John Garfield, I was aware that 2 of his films were playing today. Looking through the TCM guide, I realized it must be "Priscilla Lane Day."

    I really enjoy all her collaborations with Mr. Garfield....they had great chemistry together. But I also quite like "Saboteur."

  2. My favorite Priscilla Lane movies are: Arsenic and Old Lace and Saboteur.

  3. I prefer older movies and I love watching TCM. Richard


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