Born on this day in 1912, in Barahona, Dominican Republic, actress Maria Montez. She starred in several Universal Pictures films, including The Invisible Woman. She went on to star in many Technicolor adventure epics like Arabian Nights and Tangier.
Born on this day in 1922 in Amarillo, Texas, actress and dancer, Cyd Charisse. Charisse was featured in many legendary films, including Ziegfeld Follies, The Harvey Girls, Singin’ In The Rain and Something’s Gotta Give.
Born on this day in 1922, in Grabtown, North Carolina, actress Ava Gardner. Gardner starred in many Golden-Era films, including Babes On Broadway, Show Boat and The Barefoot Contessa.
Born on this day in 1922, television and film star, Yvonne De Carlo. De Carlo played Lily Munster on the TV series, The Munsters, after a successful career in film, having starred in Criss Cross, The Ten Commandments, and McLintok!
Born on this day in 1933, in Denver, Colorado, actress Debra Paget. Paget had a lengthy career, starring opposite Elvis Presley in Love Me Tender, and Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments.
Born on this day in 1904, actress Dolores del Rio. Del Rio was one of the first Latin stars to crossover into the mainstream film industry. She appeared opposite Cesar Romero, Elvis Presley, Anthony Quinn and many others.
On this day in 1890, in Ulverston, Lancashire, comedian and writer Stan Laurel was born. One half of the Laurel and Hardy comedy team, his contribution to film history is immeasurable.
The Lady from the Black Lagoon is author Mallory O’Meara’s dive into the life of Milicent Patrick. Until O’Meara’s book came out in 2019, not many people were aware of who Milicent Patrick was. Thanks to the author’s dedicated research, she has brought Milicent Patrick into the spotlight.
Milicent Patrick’s claim to (now) fame was that she designed the Creature from the Black Lagoon, for the film of the same name. She was a talented woman who not only created famous Hollywood monsters, but also worked for Walt Disney as an animator. Milicent faded into obscurity, and never got credit for her design…until O’Meara.
The Lady from the Black Lagoon not only follows Milicent Patrick, and her struggles through Old Hollywood, but also O’Meara’s own story and struggles in Hollywood. The parallel between the women’s lives is both heartbreaking and touching, and I’m sure if Milicent was still alive, the two would be fast friends.
I picked this book up for two reasons: I love old movies, and am always looking to learn more about them, and secondly, I’ll be honest, the cover of the book. I’m a sucker for an attention grabbing cover, and this book has got it! Setting aside the cover, though…the content was just what I was hoping for. It was an honest and well-researched look into what life was like in the movie industry for a woman, during what we now think of as ‘Old Hollywood’. Highly recommend.
Pick up the paperback edition of O’Meara’s Los Angeles Time Bestseller, available on March 3, 2020.