Facts about a few of the personalities who signed The Ear of God
Irene Dunne was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Loretta Young, Irene Dunne and Rosalind Russell were ardent Catholic supporters of Father Peyton.
Loretta Young, Hattie McDaniel, Edmund Gwenn, and Margaret O'Brien won Academy Awards. Hattie McDaniel was the first black actor to win. She played Mammy in Gone with the Wind. Edmund Gwenn is the only actor to ever win for playing Santa Claus. He won for his role as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street. Margaret O'Brien was eight years old when she won for her role in Meet Me in St. Louis. Loretta Young won for her part in The Farmer's Daughter.
Baden Powell is widely regarded as the greatest Brazilian guitarist of all time. Although never an Academy Award winner, Rosalind Russell won five Golden Globes awards. Rosalind Russell married producer Freddie Brisson and they were married for 35 years until her death in 1976. Ann Doran played James Dean's dominating mother in the iconic Rebel Without a Cause and appeared in more than five hundred motion pictures and on a thousand episodes of television shows. Louise Beavers was one of four other beloved black actresses including Academy Award winner Hattie McDaniel who portrayed housekeeper Beulah on the Beulah television show.
Elinor Donahue played Robert Young's daughter in Father Knows Best. Betty Lynn is best known for playing Thelma Lou, Barney Fife's girlfriend, on The Andy Griffith Show. The star of Wagon Train, a popular television series, Ward Bond appeared in more than 200 movies, and he was in eleven films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture including Gone with the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, The Maltese Falcon, Sergeant York, and It's a Wonderful Life.
Donald O’Connor was actor, dancer and singer. His most famous performances were with Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, and he starred with "Francis" in Francis the Talking Mule in 1949. He worked opposite Bing Crosby in Sing, You Sinners. Unfortunately, O’Connor missed out playing in many starring roles because he was cast in one Francis film a year until 1955.
Ricardo Montalban was a practicing Catholic who said that religion was the "most important thing" in his life. In 1998, Pope John Paul II named him a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, the highest honor a Roman Catholic lay person can receive from the Church. He was a working actor for seven decades. He married Georgiana Young the half sister of Loretta Young. They were married for sixty-three years, until she passed away at 83 in 2007. He became famous in his starring role as Mr. Roarke, Fantasy Island. He also starred in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Louella U. Parsons was born Jewish but converted to Catholicism. In 1914 she became the first gossip columnist. In 1922 she signed a contract with the New York American, a Hearst newspaper. In 1925, she contracted tuberculosis and was told she had six months to live. She moved to Los Angeles for the change in climate. Soon recovered and went back to work, becoming a syndicated Hollywood columnist for Hearst. Her Los Angeles Examiner column appeared in over six hundred newspapers the world over and had a readership of more than twenty-million. She became one of the most powerful and often feared voices in the movie business with her daily allotment of gossip because it could negatively impact careers and movies. Her funeral in 1972 was attended by a few enduring friends from the movie industry. She is buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, the birth home of MGM. Parsons has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Charles Boyer was a French actor who appeared in more than 80 films between 1920 and 1976. Although he moved to the United States he always had a heavy French accent. He was a highly praised actor who received four Academy Award nominations for Best Actor.
Jane Randolph (del Almo) grew up in Kokomo, Indiana. She moved to Hollywood in 1939 to build a movie career. She had natural poise and within three years she was a leading lady. Although she acted in stylish Hollywood crime dramas, one of her last movies was the comic thriller Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. In 1949 she married sometime producer Jaime del Amo and retired to Spain where she lived the life of a socialite. In later years she returned to Los Angeles, but also had a home in Switzerland where she passed away on May 4, 2009. This is Jane's photograph.
Why did these stars and other personalities support the work of Father Peyton? Perhaps they admired his humility or were moved by his presence. Father Phalen continues the work of Father Peyton and says, "If you rode in a car with him, you prayed the rosary." He lived a life of prayer.
© 2010 Michael Quinn All Rights Reserved