In this month of Mother’s and Memorials who better to remember than Mickey Rooney and his sometimes onscreen mother or mother stand-in Fay Bainter. Whether it was encouraging her how and why do things work and how can I make them better son Tom in Young Tom Edison, or boosting the morale of the young Babes on Broadway that wanted to put on a show to raise money to send the poor unfortunate orphaned kids at the local settlement house to the country for a visit (while showing those unbelieving producers that, yes we do have some talent). Fay was always there to protect, defend or lend a sympathetic ear then plant the seed towards an inevitable solution. Fay was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress in White Banners 1938 and was nominated and received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Jezebel 1938. Fay was also nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe in the 1961 movie The Children’s Hour.
But on this Memorial weekend while we all know ‘war is hell’ especially for the soldier it was also ‘hell’ for those at home. And what film better to prove it but Best Picture nominated: The Human Comedy 1943 MGM, starring Mickey Rooney in his Best Actor nominated role. Mickey outdid himself in this movie as he did in all of the movies he acted in. When your oldest brother is off fighting the war it’s up to you to step up to the plate as Mickey’s character Homer did. Taking on a job after school working until midnight to help pay the rent, put food on the table etc. for widowed Mom (Bainter), older sister played by Donna Reed and younger brother played by the unforgettable Butch Jenkins, while not sharing your trials and tribulations with your older brother who has worries of his own (will he ever come home again…) played by Van Johnson.
In 1938 at age18 Mickey Rooney received an Honorary Oscar-Juvenile for his significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth, and as a juvenile player setting a high standard of ability and achievement. He appeared in eight movies that year: Hold That Kiss, Love is a Headache, Lord Jeff, Love Finds Andy Hardy, Judge Hardy’s Children, Boys Town, Out West with the Hardy’s and Stablemates.
In 1983 he also received an Honorary Oscar for his fifty years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances. Mickey Rooney was nominated four times for Oscars Best Actor Award he received two Golden Globes for performances in 1964 and 1981. He was nominated four times for Emmy Awards either as an Outstanding Lead actor or Outstanding Single performance and won a Primetime Emmy for his performance in the 1981 movie ‘Bill’. Those are just a few of the various other acting awards and accolades he received throughout his long career.
We lost Mickey Rooney at age 93 in April of this year a year to the month that we lost Deanna Durbin also a recipient of the 1938 Juvenile Oscar Award the only time it was given to two Juvenile actors in the same year. The last film Mickey will have made an appearance in, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb will be released in December 2014.
Doris Day and her mother Alma Sophia Kappelhoff.
Gary Cooper and his mother Alice 1930.
Deanna Durbin and her mother Ada 1940.
Beulah Bondi, she surprised us in Vivacious Lady by showing us her jitterbug side, she protected her son Fred MacMurray from a Christmas shopping kleptomaniac Barbara Stanwyck in Remember the Night and was the stand by your son Mom in another Christmas must watch every year movie It’s a Wonderful Life. She is another actress that made a career out of playing Mom, Granny, or not so very nice Auntie. A talented actress that played Jimmy Stewarts Mom four times however the one person she really wanted to play Ma to Henry Fonda was a part that eluded her losing out to Jane Darwell the Ma Joad part in the Grapes of Wrath. She was nominated for Oscars as Best Supporting Actress in 1936 for The Gorgeous Hussy and 1938 for Of Human Hearts. However longevity and excellence in her craft finally paid off in 1977 when she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for a single appearance in a drama or comedy series in an episode of The Walton’s titled: The Pony Cart
She was never a mother in real life but hey who says you have to be a mother to play a mother, sometimes that mothering instinct just comes naturally. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the real, pretend or mothering just comes naturally even though I don’t have kids of my own ladies out there.
Marjorie Main was a wonderful character actress. She made you laugh, she made you cry, you felt her despair and pain. Whether playing the care-worn distraught mother of a killer gangster in Dead End or the grief stricken mother that watches her crippled son burn to death in a deliberately set tenement house fire in The Angels Wash their Faces Marjorie’s performances are always riveting and sympathetic.
Marjorie’s most memorable role though was a boondoggle for Universal International Studio.
The Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray movie: The Egg and I was based on a book written by Betty MacDonald and was the worlds introduction to the characters Ma & Pa Kettle. Marjorie played Ma Kettle to perfection garnering an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1947. And a character to play till her last Kettle film The Kettles on Old MacDonald’s Farm in 1957. Ma & Pa Kettle had 15 children but Marjorie’s one disappointment in life was that she had none. The mothers she played were always a little off kilter but hey isn’t that something that we all love about our own mothers. Thanks Marjorie for sharing all of those eccentricities.
Often considered the “warm, wise, and stoic” mother, Anne Revere succeeded best in National Velvet, for which she won an Oscar. Nominated two other times for her ability to act the part in The Song of Bernadette and Gentleman’s Agreement, Anne’s career hit a brick wall in 1951 when her name was put on the Communist Hollywood Blacklist for Un-American Activities. Strange for a direct descendent of Paul Revere, but then who are we to pretend like we knew what was going on back then? In and out of Broadway and TV towards the end of her life, she was thought to have “grit and courage”; qualities which she always had on screen. Married to Samuel Rosen for 49 years until his death, she never had children, we’re still quite grateful for all the mothering she did to our stars on screen.
(Posted for Rochellelynn by annstj)
Spring Byington made the mistake of playing a “heartwarming” Mrs. March in Little Women (1933) and was quickly typecast as Mother in a variety of films. Meet John Doe, Heaven Can Wait, and You Can’t Take It With You soon led to a career as everyone’s favorite mother-in-law in the TV show, December Bride. Her last film appearance at the age of 70 was Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, as the spirited mother of Doris Day, proving that like all mothers, Spring was in it for the long haul.
(Posted for Rochellelynn by annstj)