Tag Archives: entertainers

Amarillo Actress Best Known As TV’s “Morticia”

The last episode of the hit TV series “The Addams Family,” starring Carolyn Jones as Morticia, aired on September 2, 1966.

Born in Amarillo in 1930, Jones endured abandonment by her father at age four and severe asthma that kept her indoors much of her childhood.  She broke into motion pictures and television in the early 1950’s, earning an Academy Award nomination for “The Bachelor Party” and small-screen stardom with “The Addams Family.”  But colon cancer cut her life short in 1983.

Mysterious Death of “I Fought The Law” Singer

Bobby Fuller, the rock ‘n roll sensation who put “I Fought The Law” on the top of the pop music charts, was found dead in his mother’s car on July 15, 1966.  He’s the subject of the “This Week in Texas History” column for July 9 through July 15.

The Goose Creek, now Baytown, native was only 22 years with a bright future in the music industry.  Yet the Los Angeles police and coroner ruled his death under highly suspicious circumstances a suicide.  Forty-eight years later, it still looks like someone got away with murder.

Dallas Doctor Falls For “It Girl”

The subject of “This Week in Texas History” for Wednesday, June 11 through Tuesday, June 17 is the scandalous romance involving a handsome young doctor from Dallas and the femme fatale of the silent screen, Clara Bow.

You can read this rarely told story in your local newspaper or with your own private email subscription available on this web site.  Either way, it’s a column you don’t want to miss!

Former Cheerleader Went to the Top in Hollywood

The son of Jewish refugees from Poland, Aaron Spelling was born in Dallas on April 22, 1923.  He was a cheerleader at Southern Methodist University during the Doak Walker/Kyle Rote era of Mustang football.

One of television’s most successful producers, Spelling bought Bing Crosby’s old mansion and replaced it with a 123-room house he named “The Manor,” the largest single-family dwelling in Los Angeles.  He died at age 83 in 2006.

Houdini The Subject of Texas History Column For the Week

“Following a weeklong engagement at the Majestic Theater, a cheering crowd saw Harry Houdini, escape artist extraordinaire, off at the Dallas train station on January 22, 1916.”

That’s how “This Week in Texas History” starts for the week of Wednesday, January 22 through Tuesday, January 28.  Learn a lot you don’t know about the most famous performer of his generation as well as his highly successful visit to Dallas ninety-eight years ago.

Tex Ritter One of the Best Singing Cowboys

Woodrow Maurice Ritter, known to his fans as “Tex,” was born on January 12, 1905 on the family farm eight miles south of Carthage.

Ritter got his start on a Houston radio station in 1929 singing the traditional western folk songs that were to be his bread and butter.  One of the best known and most popular “singing cowboys” in Hollywood, he made 85 motion pictures all but ten westerns.  Then came a successful recording career and frequent appearances on the small screen (television) before a heart attack ended his life in 1974.

Silent Film Star Lived Last Years in San Antonio Seclusion

The December 30, 1922 cover of “Movie Week” magazine asked the question “Will Pola and Charlie Be Happy?”  Pola was Polish actress Pola Negri and Charlie was, of course, superstar Charlie Chaplin, her latest lover.

Pola Negri made such an over-the-top fool of herself at Rudolph Valentino’s funeral in 1926 that her popularity plummeted and her career suffered.  Like many stars of the silent era, she did not make a successful transition to talkies.  Negri lived her last 30 years in seclusion with a rich Texas benefactoress and died in San Antonio at age 90 in 1987.

Mary Martin Flew High as the Original “Peter Pan”

The marvelous musical “Peter Pan” opened on Broadway on October 20, 1954 with 40 year old Mary Martin in the title role.

The Weatherford native already was an established star of the New York stage, when she started her long-running impersonation of the lovable boy who refused to grow up.  A favorite of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the talented Texan was also the original Nellie Forbush in “South Pacific” and Maria von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.”

Dallas Doctor Cheats on Wife With “It Girl”

Dr. William Earl Pearson’s estranged wife Elizabeth filed for divorce in a Dallas court on October 18, 1928 after pocketing a $30,000 payoff to keep actress Clara Bow’s name out of the proceedings.

The scandalous “It Girl” had secretly slipped into Big D several times to see the latest in her long line of lovers.  But when the doctor’s missus found out about the affair and threatened to go public, studio bosses bought her silence and Bow moved on to her next romantic fling.

Scandalous Silent Star Spends Last Years in San Antonio

Rudolph Valentino, heart throb of the Roaring Twenties, died unexpectedly on August 23, 1926 from appendicitis complications plunging millions of hysterical women in mourning never before seen in America.

No one took Valentino’s passing as hard as Polish actress Pola Negri, who made such a spectacle of herself at the funeral that it wrecked her film career.  Taken in by an oil heiress in 1957, Negri lived in San Antonio until her death at 90 four decades later.