Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans! Soon after, the award would be dedicated to a single performance instead of a whole season of them.) In movies from the mid-1920s, she enjoyed considerable popularity through 1938 (with 1937's A Star is Born gleaning her another Oscar nom, though she lost to Luise Rainer for The Good Earth.) She married famed costume designer Adrian in 1939 and retired from the screen.
In 1961, she returned to feature films with top-billing, but secondary publicity and promotion, as the mother of Troy Donahue in Parrish. Gone were costars like Clark Gable, Ronald Colman and Charles Boyer and in their place was... Karl Malden. Colbert still looked fit and lovely in the movie, but disappeared from screens again for a quarter of a century, popping up as Ann-Margret's nemesis in The Two Mrs. Grenvilles (1987), a well-heeled TV-movie in which she still looked great. Colbert lived to be ninety-two until a series of strokes claimed her in 1996.
George Nader) as Powell! The movie was The Female Animal. It was the last movie she'd make. She intended to work in Picture Mommy Dead (1966), but an eyebrow-raising autobiography and an arrest for shoplifting led to her being replaced by Zsa Zsa Gabor. No dummy she, Lamarr patented a sound spectrum/frequency-hopping method that laid the groundwork for today's wi-fi signals! Her colorful, roller-coaster life ended in 2000 when a myriad of heart problems claimed her at age eighty-five.
Die! Die! My Darling! in the U.S.) The deranged character was holding her deceased son's fiancee Stefanie Powers captive in order to keep his soul pure. She threw herself into the juicy part full throttle and knocked it out of the park, though most audiences at the time wrote the enterprise off as just another excursion into hag horror. By 1968, Bankhead was dead from the triple whammy of pneumonia, the flu and emphysema, aged sixty-six, but appearing older. The year before she died, she managed to turn in a two-part Batman episode playing the campy villainess The Black Widow.
Airport 1975, the first sequel to the blockbuster hit Airport (1970.) The role of a famous actress traveling on a red eye flight was initially offered to long-absent Greta Garbo, who unsurprisingly turned it down. Swanson opted to play the part but make it a version of herself instead of a fictional role! She wrote all of her own hooty dialogue and even managed to work in publicity for her mammoth autobiography "Swanson on Swanson." This proved to be her final acting role on-screen, though she lived to be eighty-four, passing from a heart ailment in 1983 (after having led a life of extremely careful nutrition.)
Portrait in Black. She next appeared as a guest on The Barbara Stanwyck Show and with a role set for her in Hunter's upcoming production of Flower Drum Song (1961) seemed primed for a prolific comeback, but illness followed by a massive heart attack claimed her before she could work on the musical (Juanita Hall played her part.) She was fifty-six.
The title of this post is, of course, a play on Come Back, Little Sheba (1953), but it turns out that quite a few of these gals were little in stature if not in fame. Marlene Dietrich and Anna May Wong were tallest at reportedly 5'7" and 5'6," but no one else went above 5'5" and four of the gals were 5' even! There may be some others who didn't get singled out this time, but if there are enough of them, perhaps I'll revisit the subject again in the future.