The Bennetts: An Acting Family

Front Cover
University Press of Kentucky, 2004 M11 26 - 576 pages
" The Bennetts: An Acting Family is a chronicle of one of the royal families of stage and screen. The saga begins with Richard Bennett, a small-town Indiana roughneck who grew up to be one of the bright lights of the New York stage during the early twentieth century. In time, however, RichardÕs fame was eclipsed by that of his daughters, Constance and Joan, who went to Hollywood in the 1920s and found major success there. Constance became the highest-paid actress of the early 1930s, earning as much as $30,000 a week in melodramas. Later she reinvented herself as a comedienne in the classic comedy Topper , with Cary Grant.. After a slow start as a blonde ingenue, Joan dyed her hair black and became one of the screenÕs great temptresses in films such as Scarlet Street . She also starred in such lighter fare as Father of the Bride . In the 1960s, Joan gained a new generation of fans when she appeared in the gothic daytime television serial Dark Shadows . The Bennetts is also the story of another Bennett sister, Barbara, whose promising beginnings as a dancer gave way to a turbulent marriage to singer Morton Downey and a steady decline into alcoholism. Constance and Joan were among HollywoodÕs biggest stars, but their personal lives were anything but serene. In 1943, Constance became entangled in a highly publicized court battle with the family of her millionaire ex-husband, and in 1951, JoanÕs husband, producer Walter Wanger, shot her lover in broad daylight, sparking one of the biggest Hollywood scandals of the 1950s. Brian Kellow, features editor of Opera News magazine, is the coauthor of CanÕt Help Singing: The Life of Eileen Farrell . He lives in New York and Connecticut.
 

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Contents

Prologue
1
1 18701900
7
2 19001904
23
3 19041914
31
4 19141920
51
5 19201924
71
6 19251927
95
7 19271929
107
15 1944
271
16 19451947
281
17 1948
309
18 19491950
325
19 19511952
345
20 19531958
367
Photo Insert 2
370
21 19591965
397

8 19291930
121
9 19301931
133
10 19311932
157
11 19331935
173
Photo Insert 1
178
12 19341937
187
13 19371940
207
14 19411943
239
22 19661971
421
23 19721990
435
Feature Films
451
Selected Television Appearances
479
Notes
483
Selected Bibliography
509
Index
515
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Eileen Farrell was born in Willimantic, Connecticut, in 1920. She lives in New Jersey. Brian Kellow is executive editor of Opera News and has contributed to numerous magazines, including BBC Music Magazine, Stagebill, Opera, Stereophile, and Irish America. He lives in New York City and Connecticut.

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