Thursday, March 25, 2010
Originally uploaded by Quiltin' WaYnE
Bonita Granville (February 2, 1923 – October 11, 1988) was an American film actress and television producer.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Granville was the daughter of stage actors, and made her film debut at the age of nine in Westward Passage (1933). Over the next couple of years she played uncredited supporting roles in such films as Little Women (1933) and Anne of Green Gables (1934) before playing the role of Mary in the film adaptation of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour. Renamed These Three, it told the story of three adults (played by Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon, and Joel McCrea) who find their lives almost destroyed by the malicious lies of an attention-seeking child. For her role as that child, Granville was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Despite this success, and although she continued to work, the next few years brought her few opportunities to build her career.
In 1938, she starred as the saucy mischievous daughter in the comedy Merrily We Live and as girl detective Nancy Drew in the film Nancy Drew, Detective. The film was a success, and Granville reprised the role in three sequels from 1938 to 1939, including Nancy Drew, Reporter (1939).
As a young adult, she was once again cast in supporting roles, often in prestigious films such as Now, Voyager (1942), as well as two Andy Hardy films with Mickey Rooney, Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944) and Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946). She is also remembered for her starring role in the World War II anti-Nazism film Hitler's Children (1943). Her career began to fade by the mid-1940s.
She was the heroine of a novel Bonita Granville and the Mystery of Star Island written by Kathryn Heisenfelt, published by Whitman Publishing Company in 1942. The novel's subtitle is "An original story featuring BONITA GRANVILLE famous motion-picture player as the heroine". The story was probably written for a young teenage audience and is reminiscent of the adventures of Nancy Drew. It is part of a series known as "Whitman Authorized Editions", 16 books published between 1941-1947 that featured a film actress as heroine.
In 1947 Granville married Jack Wrather, who had produced some of her films. He formed the Wrather Corporation, and bought the rights to characters from both The Lone Ranger and Lassie. Granville worked as a producer for several film and television productions featuring these characters, including the 1954 TV series Lassie. She appeared in the film version of The Lone Ranger in 1956, and made her final screen appearance in a cameo role in The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981).
The marriage lasted until Wrather's death in 1984. Granville herself died four years later of lung cancer in Santa Monica, California, aged 65. Their children are: daughters Molly and Linda, and sons Jack and Christopher. Jack and Molly were from Wrather's previous marriage to Mollie O'Daniel.
Bonita Granville has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6607 Hollywood Boulevard, for her contributions to motion pictures. She used to be honored at the Disneyland Hotel, which Jack Wrather owned until it was sold to the Disney Corporation. The Bonita Tower and Granville's Steak House were names used until recently, when Disney replaced these terms more related to its identity (Steakhouse 55, in honor of when Disneyland opened and the Wonder Tower, related to Disney's Cruise Ship business).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia