Friday, June 4, 2010

Kathleen Freeman

Yes, Kathleen Freeman (1919 - 2001).  She had 274 appearances from 1948 through 2002, of course her last few parts must have been released after her death.  Here was an actress you would recognize instantly because she was in everything!  When I wasn't at the Keswick Theatre, I grew up in front of a TV, so many of the actors I am writing about were always there.

Ms. Freeman had a larger-than-life voice.  She was rather large, too.  I was looking over the cast of the James Garner film, Support your Local Sheriff from 1969, looking for a likely candidate for a posting here, and I knew instantly she would be the one.  It was a small role, but in that off-beat western, she fit in perfectly as the neighbor who couldn't help laughing at the female lead, Joan Hackett.

You may remember seeing her in Singin' in the Rain (1952) as the grammar coach for Lena LaMont.  She was in ten episodes of "Topper" on TV in 1954 (a show I always watched, even though I was only four).  It's been quite a while since I've seen the 1958 Vincent Price film, The Fly, but she was in it. 

How about Hook, Line and Sinker from 1969, Which Way to the Front? from 1970, or another ELEVEN movies with Jerry Lewis?  All these roles call for a character actress, and she fit them perfectly.  You had to be good to be on six episodes of "The Beverly Hillbillies." 

Maybe we should stay away from the bombs she was in.  I won't mention the 1953 movie, The Magnetic Monster with Richard Carlson.  I was never much of a fan of Carlson.  He put the "B" in B-movies, although Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) wasn't bad.

So go out and pick up The Blues Brothers (1980) and watch for Kathleen Freeman as Sister Mary Stigmata.  She was a treasure.

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