Kathleen Freeman

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Kathleen Freeman
Kathleen Freeman.jpg
Kathleen Freeman in the late 1960s
Born(1919-02-17)February 17, 1919
DiedAugust 23, 2001(2001-08-23) (aged 82)
Resting place Hollywood Forever Cemetery
OccupationActress, voice artist
Years active1948–2001
Partner(s)Helen Ramsey (19??–2001) [1]

Kathleen Freeman (February 17, 1919 August 23, 2001) was an American film, television, voice actress, and stage actress. In a career that spanned more than 50 years, she portrayed acerbic maids, secretaries, teachers, busybodies, nurses, and battle-axe neighbors and relatives, almost invariably to comic effect. [2]

Contents

Early life

Freeman was born in Chicago, Illinois. [3] She began her career as a child, dancing in her parents' vaudeville act. [4] After a stint studying music at University of California, Los Angeles, she went into acting full-time, working on the stage, and finally entering films in 1948. In 1946, she was a founding member of the Circle Players at The Circle Theatre, now known as El Centro Theatre. [ citation needed ] Freeman was a Democrat who supported Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 presidential election [5] .

Vaudeville genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s

Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.

University of California, Los Angeles Public research university in Los Angeles, California

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university in Los Angeles. It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the third-oldest undergraduate campus of the 10-campus University of California system. It offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. UCLA enrolls about 31,000 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students and had 119,000 applicants for Fall 2016, including transfer applicants, making the school the most applied-to of any American university.

El Centro Theatre is a Hollywood theater. It was founded in 1946 and is located at 804 N. El Centro Ave. Hollywood, California 90038.

Career

Cary Grant and Kathleen Freeman in a typically uncredited role as a laundromat gossip in Houseboat (1958) Cary Grant-Kathleen Freeman in Houseboat trailer.jpg
Cary Grant and Kathleen Freeman in a typically uncredited role as a laundromat gossip in Houseboat (1958)

Freeman made her film debut in Wild Harvest (1947). [6] Freeman's most notable early role was an uncredited part in the 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain as Jean Hagen's diction coach Phoebe Dinsmore. [7]

<i>Singin in the Rain</i> 1952 American musical comedy film

Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American musical-romantic comedy film directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. It offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in the late 1920s, with the three stars portraying performers caught up in the transition from silent films to "talkies".

Jean Hagen American actress

Jean Hagen was an American actress best known for her role as Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain (1952), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Hagen was also nominated three times for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Margaret Williams (1953–56) on the television series Make Room For Daddy.

Beginning with the 1954 film 3 Ring Circus , Freeman became a favorite foil of Jerry Lewis, playing opposite him in 11 films. [8] These included most of Lewis's better known comedies, including The Disorderly Orderly as Nurse Higgins, The Errand Boy as the studio boss's wife, and especially The Nutty Professor as Millie Lemon. Over 30 years later, she made a brief appearance in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps . [9]

<i>3 Ring Circus</i> 1954 film by Joseph Pevney

3 Ring Circus is a 1954 American comedy film directed by Joseph Pevney and starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The picture was shot from February 17 to March 31, 1954, and released on December 25 by Paramount Pictures. The supporting cast includes Joanne Dru, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Wallace Ford, Sig Ruman, Nick Cravat, and Elsa Lanchester.

Jerry Lewis American comedian, actor, film producer, writer and film director

Joseph Levitch, known worldwide as Jerry Lewis, was an American comedian, actor, singer, director, producer, screenwriter and humanitarian, whose career spanned eight decades and was nicknamed "The King of Comedy". He was known for his partnership with Dean Martin as the groundbreaking act of Martin and Lewis.

<i>The Disorderly Orderly</i> 1964 film by Frank Tashlin

The Disorderly Orderly is a 1964 American comedy film released by Paramount Pictures, and starring Jerry Lewis. The film was produced by Paul Jones with a screenplay by director Frank Tashlin, based on a story by Norm Liebermann and Ed Haas.

Other film roles included appearances in The Missouri Traveler (1958), the horror film The Fly (1958), the Western spoofs Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) and Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971), and appearances in a spate of comedies in the 1980s and 1990s. Freeman played Sister Mary Stigmata (referred to as The Penguin) in John Landis' The Blues Brothers and Blues Brothers 2000 , had cameos in Joe Dante's Innerspace and Gremlins 2: The New Batch (as tipsy cooking host Microwave Marge), and a gangster mother in Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult . [9]

<i>The Missouri Traveler</i> 1958 film by Jerry Hopper

The Missouri Traveler is a 1958 American coming-of-age period piece comedy-drama film directed by Jerry Hopper starring Brandon deWilde and Lee Marvin. It is based on the novel of the same name by John Burress. The cinematography was by Technicolor developer Winton C. Hoch with harmonica and banjo score by Jack Marshall of The Munsters fame. The film was distributed by Disney's Buena Vista Corporation.

Horror film film genre

A horror film is a film that seeks to elicit fear. Initially inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. The macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may also overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction, and thriller genres.

<i>The Fly</i> (1958 film) 1958 film by Kurt Neumann

The Fly is a 1958 American science fiction-horror film produced and directed by Kurt Neumann and starring David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall. The screenplay by James Clavell was based on the 1957 short story of the same name by George Langelaan.

In addition to teaching acting classes in Los Angeles, Freeman was a familiar presence on television. In 1958–59, she appeared three times on Buckskin , a children's program set in a hotel in a fictitious Montana town. She appeared from the 1950s until her death in regular or recurring roles on many sitcoms, including six episodes of The Bob Cummings Show (as Bertha Krause), Topper (as Katie the maid), and The Donna Reed Show (as Mrs. Celia Wilgus, the Stone's busybody next door neighbor). In 1964 she appeared in 5 episodes of The Lucy Show. [9] Later, she was cast on Hogan's Heroes as Frau Gertrude Linkmeyer, General Burkhalter's sister, who longed to wed Colonel Klink. In 1973, she had a co-starring role with Dom DeLuise in the sitcom Lotsa Luck (based on the British sitcom On the Buses ). She appeared in several episodes of Wagon Train , Funny Face (as Mrs. Kate Harwell), I Dream of Jeannie (as a grouchy supervisor in a fantasy preview of Major Nelson's future, and later as a hillbilly), the short-lived prehistoric sitcom It's About Time (as Mrs. Boss), and as the voice of Peg Bundy's mom, an unseen character on Married... with Children . [9] She played a female arm wrestler on Mama's Family . She also starred with Phil Silvers in The Beverly Hillbillies in episodes 25 and 26 of season 8 and episodes 2 and 3 in season 9.

Buckskin is an American Western television series starring Tom Nolan, Sally Brophy, and Mike Road. The series aired on the NBC network from July 3, 1958 until May 25, 1959, followed by summer reruns in 1959 and again in 1965.

<i>The Bob Cummings Show</i> television program

The Bob Cummings Show is an American sitcom starring Bob Cummings, which was produced from January 2, 1955, to September 15, 1959. The Bob Cummings Show was the first series to debut as a midseason replacement.

<i>Topper</i> (TV series) 1950s television series based on the film series

Topper is an American fantasy sitcom based on the 1937 film Topper, which was based on two novels Topper and Topper Takes a Trip by Thorne Smith. The series was broadcast on CBS from October 9, 1953 to July 15, 1955, and stars Leo G. Carroll in the title role. It finished at #24 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1954-1955 season. Topper also earned an Emmy nomination for Best Situation Comedy in 1954.

She remained active in her last two years with a regular voice role on As Told by Ginger , a voice bit in the animated feature film Shrek , a guest appearance on the sitcom Becker and scoring a Tony Award nomination and a Theatre World Award for her role as Jeannette Burmeister in the musical version of The Full Monty . [10] In her final episode of As Told by Ginger, Season 2's "No Hope for Courtney", Freeman's character retires from her teaching job although Carl and Hoodsey try convincing her to return to work. The script originally was written to have Mrs. Gordon return to Lucky Elementary School but Freeman died before the episode was finished. The script was then re-written, and Mrs. Gordon died as well. The episode was dedicated in Freeman's memory. The dedication came at the end of the episode after the announcement that Elaine Gordon had died and Carl was crying. The screen faded to black and "In Memory of Kathleen Freeman" was shown.[ citation needed ]

Death

Weakened by illness, Freeman was forced to leave the Full Monty cast. Five days later, she died of lung cancer at age 82 at Lenox Hill Hospital. She was cremated and her ashes interred in a niche at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. [11] She never married and had no children. British reports of her death included Helen Ramsey, her long-time companion, [7] but U.S. obituaries did not.

Filmography

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References

  1. "Kathleen Freeman". Nndb.com. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  2. Jesse McKinley (August 24, 2001). "Kathleen Freeman, 78, Actress Playing Comic Character Roles". The New York Times . Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  3. Vallance, Tom (March 5, 2014). "Kathleen Freeman". The Independent . Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  4. "Actress Kathleen Freeman Dies at 82". Backstage . Associated Press. August 24, 2001. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  5. Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
  6. "Freeman, Kathleen (1919–2001)." Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. Ed. Anne Commire and Deborah Klezmer. Vol. 1. Detroit: Yorkin Publications, 2007, p. 692. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. March 18, 2014.
  7. 1 2 Bergan, Ronald (August 27, 2001). "Kathleen Freeman". The Guardian . Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  8. Clark, Mike (August 30, 2002). "Jerry Lewis tells it like it is — and was". USA Today . Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Kathleen Freeman on IMDb
  10. Kathleen Freeman at the Internet Broadway Database
  11. The Archaeology of Hollywood