Sally Payne

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Sally Payne
Born(1912-09-05)September 5, 1912
DiedMay 8, 1999(1999-05-08) (aged 86)
Spouse(s)William Telaak (?-1941)
Arthur F. Kelly (1942–1999)

Sally Payne (September 5, 1912 – May 8, 1999) was an American actress. She featured in several B-Westerns in the 1940s.



Payne worked as a model for artists before making her first film, Hollywood Hobbies (1935), where she appeared in the bit part of a tourist. She became a leading actress in B films, usually westerns. She also played in comedy shorts for RKO Radio Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She is most remembered for her performance as Calamity Jane in the Roy Rogers western Young Bill Hickok (1940), as well as acting the role of Belle Starr in Robin Hood of the Pecos (1941), where her performing style echoed that of a contemporary, Una Merkel. [1] Just before her association with Rogers ended, her status had enlarged from a supporting-role character to that of first-billed actress.

Payne's characters were usually the tomboy type, often helping men rather than being dependent on them. She frequently wore men's clothing, carried a weapon, drove stagecoaches and rode horses. Her male associates identified strongly with her ability to survive a rough environment like the Old West frontier, but she was never the object of male fantasies. [2] Rarely did Payne's characters become physically intimate with her masculine counterparts; thus if she were called on to display affection of any sort, the relationships never went beyond the strictly platonic. Thus, her persona was that of a female sidekick, but never a lover.

At one point in her career, when a studio told Payne to undergo a rhinoplasty, reporters interviewed her at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, where she told them, "I've always found it a pretty good nose, but if they want to change it, I guess I'll let 'em do it. Things are that way in Hollywood." [3]

Later years

After Payne left acting, she ran her own book store [4] and worked as an artist, creating oil paintings for her family and her friends and illustrating a series of children's books. [5]

Personal life

Payne retired from films in 1942 after her marriage to Arthur F. Kelly, an executive for Western Airlines. [6] She had previously been married to William Telaak, a marriage that ended in divorce in 1941. [5]


On May 8, 1999, Payne died in Los Angeles [7] of a stroke at the age of 86.

Partial filmography

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  1. Reid, John Howard. Films Famous, Fanciful, Frolicsome, and Fantastic., April 2006.
  2. Loy, R. Philip (2001). Westerns and American Culture, 1930–1955. McFarland. p. 257. ISBN   9780786481156 . Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  3. Cassara, Bill. Edgar Kennedy: Master of the Slow Burn. Bear Manor Media, 2006.
  4. Answers Biography of Sally Payne
  5. 1 2 "Sally Payne Kelly; Artist, Actress in '30s and '40s". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. May 13, 1999. p. A 24. Retrieved March 6, 2018 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  6. "Payne, Sally." Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 1999. Ed. Harris M. Lentz, III. McFarlane & Company, Inc., 2000. p. 169.
  7. Lentz, Harris M. III (2000). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 1999: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. ISBN   9780786452040 . Retrieved 6 March 2018.