Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fun Finds: Vintage Movie Starlet Playing Cards

If you hang around The Underworld much, you know that I have a fondness for tangle examples of TV & movie stars; things like pin-ups, comic book covers, trading cards and so on.  Today's Fun Find is part of a deck of playing cards from the early-to-mid-1960s, presumably of Dutch origin.  To be honest, there are more than a few of the people depicted on these cards who I did not know or had only heard mention of fleetingly, but it's neat to learn about different stars as I continue to work on this blog.  The deck consisted mostly of film starlets and musical performers of that time, but amusingly the Jacks and Kings had male celebrities depicted on them.  Sadly, I only have examples of 31 of the 52 cards, but if I am ever fortunate enough to come across any more, I'll add them in.  I've divided them into suits, listed numerically.  Oh, to be able to play a real game of cards with these!

First up is a singer-dancer named Germaine Damar.  Born in Luxembourg, she and her family fled to Paris during WWII and later she embarked on an international career including quite a few European films.  Having enjoyed success in Argentina, she eventually moved there where she met an American who became her husband and they moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  She retired from show biz, had a son and is still alive today in her mid-eighties.
Of course we are more than familiar with the divine Miss Joan Collins!  Miss C. is now eighty-one and you can read more about her here as well as sprinkled throughout The Underworld!
American (chiefly comedic) actress Paula Prentiss pops up next.  She is also still alive today at age seventy-six, but has not worked regularly since the mid-1990s.
At the time these cards were made, English actress Jackie Lane had been working on British series such as Compact and Coronation Street and then the cult hit Doctor Who.  Always a rather reluctant actress, she later switched to work as an agent and is still with us today at age seventy-two.
Curvaceous Yvonne Romain, another British actress, began as a model and later emerged as a horror movie star in films such as Corridors of Blood (1958), Curse of the Werewolf (1961) with Oliver Reed and Devil Doll (1964.)  She also worked alongside Ann-Margret (in The Swinger, 1966) and Elvis Presley (Double Trouble, 1967.)  Since 1958, she's been the wife of lyricist Leslie Bricusse and they have a son together, though they have been separated for much of the time.
Good luck finding much on "Jackie Jones" as depicted below, but as I followed a hunch and searched for Jacqueline Jones, I was able to at least discover that this buxom blonde was an early-1960s starlet who popped up in The Road to Hong Kong (1962) and British movies like The Cool Mikado and Incident at Midnight (both 1963) before drifting out of the limelight in the late-1960s.
The English actress on this card, Sally Douglas, had a decade-long career in a half-dozen of the popular Carry On movies as well as the savage Vincent Price horror flick Witchfinder General (1968.)  She passed away from cancer in 2001 at the age of fifty-nine, having left the movie and TV business three decades prior.
We're leaving the hearts behind us now and segueing into the suit of spades.  First up is the hourglass figure of "Lollo," Miss Gina Lollobrigida.  Having appeared in movies from the mid-1940s to the mid-1990s, Lollobrigida is now eighty-six years old (can it be so?!)  When her popularity as an actress began to wane, she successfully pursued other interests such as photography and sculpting and has made considerable donations towards medical research.
Austrian actress Christine Kaufmann began working in films as a child, later working with Kirk Douglas in Town Without Pity (1961), though she was notable for having been the catalyst of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh's divorce as Kaufmann and Curtis met during Taras Bulba (1962), fell in love and she became pregnant with his child.  They ultimately wed and had a second child, but were divorced by 1968.  Today, Kaufmann in sixty-eight, has her own successful cosmetics line in Germany and still acts, with a German-made version of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (2014) in the can.  In it, Val Kilmer plays Mark Twain!
German singer-actress Heidi Brühl was sometimes referred to as "The Doris Day of Germany."  She worked alongside Guy Williams in Captain Sinbad (1963) before marrying American actor Brett Halsey.  Life with him led to her appearing on American TV series like Columbo and Marcus Welby,M.D., though she also worked in Clint Eastwood's The Eiger Sanction (1975.)  She and Halsey divorced in 1976 and she, already a cancer survivor, was felled by the disease when it came back a second time in 1991.  She died at only age forty-nine back home in Bavaria.
June Laverick (given a different spelling below) was a British stage actress who also found success on TV (The Dickie Henderson Show, 1960-1965) and in several light movies.  By 1970, however, she had retired, then married for a time and is still alive today at eighty-three.
Precious little is available about (Italian?) starlet Barbara Nelli, who worked in several 1960s movies such as Bloody Pit of Horror (1965) with Mickey Hargitay (!) and Double Face (1969), with Klaus Kinski.  She certainly has one of my favorite hairdos of all these cards!
Like many of the gals depicted on these cards, American actress Barbara Lang didn't enjoy an especially long career.  In fact, her final (of three) movies was released in 1958, several years before these cards were printed, though she worked on TV through 1961.  Having already licked a debilitating bout with polio, career disappointments (such as being unceremoniously ousted from the female lead in Jailhouse Rock, 1957) and a divorce led her to an attempted suicide in 1959.  Pneumonia claimed her in 1982 at only age fifty-four.
The Ace of Spades in this deck is festooned with a glamorous-looking Joanne Woodward, shown in From the Terrace (1960), the movie of hers in which I find her the most attractive.  (Call me crazy, but I like the stiff, champagne-blonde, heavily made-up look she sports in the film versus her other, more natural-looking roles!)  Miss Woodward is eighty-four today.
Heading into our third suit of cards, diamonds, we come upon Heidi Erich, another gal with a short-lived career.  Some TV appearances (including one on The Avengers) and a role in the 1966 spy spoof Where the Bullets Fly make up the bulk of her career.  I wasn't able to obtain anything further about her.
If you think Ms. Erich is a mystery, try out this chick!  She didn't even get her NAME printed on the card!!  I'm sure that some of my eagle-eyed, devoted divers will be able to identify her.  She isn't familiar to me at all, I'm afraid.
Next up is Miss Sandra Dee, the teen star of several popular films from Gidget, A Summer Place and Imitation of Life (all 1959!  What a year for her.)  Miss Dee suffered career trauma in the late-'60s, though she found sporadic work in the 1970s.  Personal traumas and illnesses from anorexia to throat cancer to alcoholism to kidney failure contributed to her demise in 2005 at age sixty-two.
Even way back then, Joan Collins and Linda Evans were popping up in the same places!  Joan can take heart that her playing card offered a far more flattering portrait than this one of Miss Evans.  The two would lock horns on-screen in Dynasty from 1981-1989, occasionally in catfights which Evans enjoyed a lot more than Collins (who preferred to fight with her tongue) did.  Evans is now seventy-one and hasn't worked as an actress on-screen since 1997.
No, this next card doesn't feature the acclaimed writer and member of the Algonquin Round Table, Dorothy Parker!  This is an early-1960s starlet named Dorothee Parker who had quite a few supporting roles in West German films for several years.  Like several other ladies featured in this card deck, I know precious little else about her.
Now we come upon our first gent, the Jack of diamonds, which features Will Tura, a Belgian singer, songwriter and musician.  Virtually unknown in the U.S., he was and is (now at seventy-three) a prolific and popular artist in his home country and surrounding areas.
Our final diamond is Italian actress Rosanna Schiaffino.  Starting as a beauty contestant and model, she later appeared in films such as Two Weeks in Another Town (1962), with Kirk Douglas, The Victors (1963), with Vince Edwards, and The Long Ships (1964), with Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier.  Known as a fiery personality, she gained a reputation as temperamental on some of her movie sets.  Retiring in the mid-'70s, she lived until 2009 when an agonizing battle with cancer took her at age sixty-nine.
Our final suit of cards, clubs, is the one with the most present.  All but three of the cards are here.  However, it gets off to a rough start as the Two of spades lists Arlene Dahl as the celebrity, yet features a photo of someone else!  (I think it's Ann Sothern...)
The next card is of an exotic looking specimen named Laya Raki.  The German dancer-turned actress made a splash in the 1950s, then worked on the British TV series Crane in the mid-'60s.  Her final film to date was 1966's Savage Pampas, which starred Robert Taylor and Ron Randell.  She was married to Australian actor Randell from 1958 until his death in 2005.  Now closing in on eighty-seven, she lives in Los Angeles.
Another German actress, Margit Saad (first name spelled "Margiet" on her card) worked in movies for about two decades, occasionally working on English language TV such as The Saint, with Roger Moore, and The Third Man, with Michael Rennie.  She is eighty-six now.
The gal on this next card made one movie, but it was a life-changing one.  Tarita had a featured role in 1962's Mutiny on the Bounty opposite Marlon Brando, which led to a relationship with him, a ten-year marriage and two children.  Brando rarely saw her or the children, though, and the second one, Cheyenne, grew up to be a considerably troubled young lady with everything from a damaging car accident to murder to schizophrenia to, ultimately, suicide at age twenty-five, coming into play.  The suicide took place in the home of her mother Tarita, who is still alive today at seventy-two.
The curvy English actress shown below is Anne Heywood (misspelled "Ann" on the card.)  A starlet from the early-1950s, she caused a bit of a stir in 1967 by adeptly portraying a lesbian in The Fox.  Other films followed, including the Rod Taylor remake of Trader Horn (1973), but she never became a big star.  Retired since the late-'80s, she is now eighty-one and lives in Beverly Hills.
Now we have another oddity.  This card is labeled Pat Crowley, but it is actually Arlene Dahl, whose name had been erroneously applied to the 2 of clubs!  Ms. Dahl balanced a forty year acting career with interests in astrology, beauty products and wigs and is now eighty-eight years old.
At last another guy, this time handsome Irish actor Stephen Boyd.  You can read all about Mr. Boyd right here. Way back in 2010, I had used a card just like this within his tribute!
French actress Liliane Brousse had a brief career spanning from 1958 through 1964 and might be familiar with thriller fans since her two 1963 movies are Paranoiac, with Oliver Reed, and Maniac, with Kerwin Matthews.  Her final film, a raunchy comedy in which she starred as half of a couple being blackmailed over their participation at a nudist colony, never saw a release in theaters.  She is purportedly still alive today at seventy-seven.
The King of clubs card features singer-songwriter Paul Anka, who went from a roaringly successful teen idol to a major concert draw, penning such classics as "She's a Lady" and "My Way."  You can see more of Paul in his cutie-pie younger days right here.
The final card I have to show you in this set features French stage and film star Sophie Daumier.  Ms. Daumier appeared in A Simple Story (1978) with Romy Schneider before retiring a year later.  She passed away in 2004 of Huntington's disease at the age of sixty-nine.  I hope you enjoyed these cards and I'll be back soon with something else to yammer on about!


joel65913 said...

Very cool collection. I get more of a Virginia Mayo vibe from that card although I can see some Ann Sothern and some Marilyn too, I don't think it's either of those lovelies though. But it sure ain't Arlene Dahl!

NotFelixUnger said...

To my eyes it looks like a young Barbara Rush. At least that's the first thing I thought.

NotFelixUnger said...

The more I think about the more I see that the chin, cheeks and brows are all Barbara Rush. The pose too!

Colonel Potterby said...

Are you sure that is not Pat Crowley on the 10 of clubs card? She certainly looks like her to me.

Narciso said...

That #2 Mystery Card looks like early 1960s German actress Elga Anderson. Seeing there are other foreign starlets in the deck, it might be a possibility. Ann Sothern was pretty hefty by the early 1960s, and the starlet is wearing contemporary duds.

SkippyDevereaux said...

I was thinking that maybe the 2 of Clubs card was Stella Stevens.

Klee said...

If you get a 4 of Hearts and 6 of Diamonds, you have to pull your opponents' wig and wrestle in a pool of mud or dirty pond water.

Milliefan said...

I am almost certain the mystery lady is actually a blonde Shirley Anne Field! Great blog, by the way... I can't stop reading and LOVE your style of writing, as well as your great knowledge of all things film!

Poseidon3 said...

Welcom, Milliefan and good job! I do think you're correct that this is a shot of Shirley Anne from 1960's "Man in the Moon" in which she wore blonde hair just like this! Thank you for reading, commenting and for your compliments! :-)