Carmelita Pope

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Carmelita Pope (April 15, 1924 – April 3, 2019) was an American actress of stage and screen.



Born in Chicago, Illinois, Pope became friends with another aspiring actor, Jocelyn Brando, and also became friends with her brother, Marlon Brando. The two developed a close bond. Brando frequently stayed at Pope's home, where they played bocce ball together. [1]

Jocelyn Brando American film actress

Jocelyn Brando was an American film, stage, and television actress.

Marlon Brando American actor, film director, and activist

Marlon Brando Jr. was an American actor and film director. With a career spanning 60 years, he is well-regarded for his cultural influence on 20th-century film. Brando's Academy Award-winning performances include that of Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront (1954) and Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972). Brando was an activist for many causes, notably the civil rights movement and various Native American movements. He is credited with helping to popularize the Stanislavski system of acting, having studied with Stella Adler in the 1940s. He is often regarded as one of the first actors to bring Method Acting to mainstream audiences.

Pope and Brando outside her home in Chicago Bocce.jpg
Pope and Brando outside her home in Chicago


Pope's break as an actor came when she was cast by George Abbott as the lead, Corliss Archer, first as a replacement in the Chicago cast [2] and subsequently in the U.S.O. production of his play Kiss and Tell that was to tour Italy and Northern Africa in 1945.

George Abbott American writer and director

George Francis Abbott was an American theater producer and director, playwright, screenwriter, and film director and producer whose career spanned nine decades.

Upon her return stateside, Pope replaced Cecily De Lucas in the role of Daisy Belle in the comedy Maid in the Ozarks at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway [3]

It was Pope's performance as anointed saint Mother Cabrini in the 1947 film Citizen Saint (under her stage name, Carla Dare) that drew the attention of director Elia Kazan. [4] He subsequently cast her as Kim Hunter's understudy in the Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire . [5] She was reunited with childhood friend Marlon Brando, who was playing Stanley.

Elia Kazan Greek-American film and theatre director, film and theatrical producer, screenwriter, novelist

Elia Kazan was a Greek-American director, producer, writer and actor, described by The New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history".

Kim Hunter actress

Kim Hunter was an American film, theatre, and television actress. She won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, each as Best Supporting Actress, for her performance as Stella Kowalski in the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire. Decades later, she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her work on the long-running soap opera The Edge of Night. She also portrayed the character of chimpanzee Zira in the first three installments of the original film adaptation Planet of the Apes.

After the announcement that a large portion of the original cast (including Kim Hunter) would be leaving A Streetcar Named Desire in 1949, the producers put out a casting call for actors to replace them. Hunter, who had never missed a performance, told Pope that she would fake an illness and miss a day so that Pope could perform for the producers. [6] Surprising even Pope herself, Hunter did call out sick one day, and Pope went on. She signed her contract to play Stella the next day. Pope remained with the production until it closed.

Press Release - New York World Streetcar1949.jpg
Press Release - New York World

Pope married Chicago ad man Howard Charles Ballenger II in April 1949, and the pair moved to Chicago, where they raised two sons. [2] She starred as a panelist on the television show Down You Go in the 1950s, did numerous radio spots, and was also the spokeswoman for Pam Cooking Spray. She also appeared in the soap operas General Hospital and Days of Our Lives . [7]

Down You Go was an American television game show originally broadcast on the DuMont Television Network. The Emmy Award-nominated series ran from 1951 to 1956 as a prime time series primarily hosted by Dr. Bergen Evans. The program aired in eleven different timeslots during its five-year run.

<i>General Hospital</i> American daytime television medical drama

General Hospital is an American daytime television medical drama. It is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running American soap opera in production and the second longest-running drama in television in American history after Guiding Light. Concurrently, it is the world's third longest-running scripted drama series in production after British serials The Archers and Coronation Street, as well as the world's second-longest-running televised soap opera still in production. General Hospital premiered on the ABC television network on April 1, 1963. Same-day broadcasts as well as classic episodes were aired on SOAPnet from January 20, 2000, to December 31, 2013, following Disney-ABC's decision to discontinue the network. General Hospital is the longest-running serial produced in Hollywood, and the longest-running entertainment program in ABC television history. It holds the record for most Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series, with 13 wins.

<i>Days of Our Lives</i> daytime soap opera

Days of Our Lives is an American daytime soap opera broadcast on the NBC television network. It is one of the longest-running scripted television programs in the world, airing nearly every weekday since November 8, 1965. It has since been syndicated to many countries around the world. Until the network's closure in 2013, Soapnet rebroadcast episodes of Days on a same-day basis each weeknight at 8:00 and 10:00. The series was created by husband-and-wife team Ted Corday and Betty Corday. Irna Phillips was a story editor for Days of Our Lives and many of the show's earliest storylines were written by William J. Bell.

Personal life

Following the death of her husband in 1986, Pope moved to Los Angeles, where she served as the director of the Hollywood office of the American Humane Association. [8] She remarried in 1988 and retired to Stuart, Florida.

Pope lived in Boise, Idaho, where she volunteered at the Warhawk Air Museum. She died on April 3, 2019, at the age of 94. [9]

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  1. Daniels, Mary. "Carmelita Pope: 'Bud' Brando's 'Sweetheart.'" Chicago Tribune 12 September 1976.
  2. 1 2 Beck, Joan. "TV Star Likes her Role as Housewife Best." Chicago Tribune, 17 October 1951.
  3. "Carmelita Pope." Internet Broadway Database.
  4. A.W. (1947). "Citizen Saint." The New York Times .
  5. "Broadway Follow-Up: A Streetcar Named Desire." Billboard , New York, 16 June 1949.
  6. Pendreigh, Brian (2002). "We Remember." Simian Scrolls.
  7. O'Dell, Cary (December 27, 2017). Gale, Neil, ed. "Carmelita Pope – One of the First Ladies of Chicago Television". The Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  8. Wolfson, Lisa. "Imposing Shadow of Humane Society Keeps Film Set Abuse Down." Associated Press, 1 July 1987
  9. "Carmelita Pope". Idaho Statesman . April 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2019.