Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Baker's Dozen Famous Actresses You Didn't Know Were Republicans

1.  Shirley Temple -  Shirley Temple Black was more than just a pretty cute kid. She grew up to be a smart cookie. She was a lifelong Republican and was appointed to the ambassadorship of the United Nations and later served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia. While there she witnessed the Soviet invasion from the top of a roof where she took refuge. She saw soldiers shooting women and looting Prague from her perch on the roof. Later when Czechoslovakia overthrew it's communist government, it was Shirley that opened relations between the U.S. and the new government.

2.  Doris Day - When I was a young man, I always had a little crush on Doris Day. She seemed like such a nice person and was the sort of gal I was attracted to. Turns out she's an active Republican, participating in several presidential elections over the years. A Roman Catholic and staunch conservative, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2004. She's really big on animal charities as well and is founder of the Doris Day Animal Foundation.

3. Joan Rivers -  Joan was a longtime Republican. She was friends of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Steve Forbes, and even admired Margaret Thatcher. She was a rare bird -- a New York Jewish female comedienne. As the Washington Times noted, all of the Republican New York, Jewish, female comediennes in the world would " into one phone booth, and still had ample room to make some calls."

4. Phyllis Diller -  Phyllis was a standup comedienne when there weren't very many of them. Her comedy was self-effacing. She cracked jokes about her age and appearance, bad cooking and her husband “Fang.”  She supported her five kids spending most of her working life on the road with people like Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. She did two TV series and was regular on “Laugh In” and Hollywood Squares. She was friends with Joan Rivers and both voted Republican in a career that did not reward conservatives.

5. Claudette Colbert - The Oscar winning actress was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin in France. Her family moved to the US in 1906. She worked her way through acting school in a dress shop and upon her Broadway debut, she changed her name to Claudette Colbert.  She also was friends with Ronald and Nancy Reagan and was a staunch Republican and what her IMDB bio called "a natural conservative."

6. Maureen O'Hara - My other youthful crush was Dublin born fiery redhead, Maureen O'Hara, She was a staunch conservative Republican like her flag-waving favorite co-star, John Wayne. Over time Maureen publicly supported the Presidencies of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush. She never was intimidated by the liberal Hollywood establishment and was completely comfortable with her conservatism.

7. Virginia Mayo - Vivacious blonde bombshell, Virginia Mayo graduated from chorus girl in MGM's Goldwyn Girls to leading lady best known for a series of films with comedian Danny Kaye. Over the years she played opposite Hollywood leading men including Kaye, Bob Hope, Burt Lancaster, James Cagney, Ronald Reagan, George Raft, Rex Harrison, Paul Newman and even the Marx Brothers. A lifelong Republican, Virginia endorsed Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972, and supported her longtime friend Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential race. An Arab Sultan once remarked that Virginia's beauty was "proof of the existence of God."

8. Barbara Stanwyck - As you can tell from the picture, Barbara Stanwyck was a second amendment kind of gal. She married fellow arch-conservative Robert Taylor and helped form the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals in 1944. Their mission statement said, in part, " our special field of motion pictures, we resent the growing impression that this industry is made of, and dominated by, Communists, radicals, and crackpots.” Stanwyck was a fan of Ayn Rand and pushed Warner Bros. to buy the rights to The Fountainhead.

9. Jane Russell - No shrinking violet, Jane Russell hung with notorious Republicans like Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Lou Costello, June Allyson, Dick Powell and Jimmy Stewart. She described herself in 2003 as, "...a teetotaling, mean-spirited, right-wing, narrow-minded conservative Christian bigot, but not a racist.”  She also had no problem with gay members of her profession, maintaining close relationships with choreographers and gay actors alike. She got along famously with liberal colleagues in the film industry including Marilyn Monroe who was just an inch shy of being a communist. Tough gal, Russell, helped Marilyn get through on set hysterics and prevented the directors and other actors from bullying the troubled actress. Heavily involved in very conservative causes, something that appalled her liberal friends, Jane was a complete mystery to liberal Hollywood, most of whom counted pistol-packin' Jane as a good friend.

10. Irene Dunn -  One of the most active Hollywood stars in Republican causes during her career, Irene campaigned for Richard Nixon in 1960 and for Ronald Reagan both times he ran for Governor of California and then again for both of his presidential campaigns.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower named her an alternate delegate to the U.N. General Assembly in 1959. She actively campaigned for him in the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections. Nominated for five Academy Awards, she starred opposite Hollywood dreamboats Clark Gable and Cary Grant, as well as Charles Boyer and Spencer Tracy. Irene was a hard-working gal, both in film and in politics. 

11. Vera Ellen - Lithe elfin dancer, Vera Ellen was a better dancer than the industry gave her credit for. She danced with all the best male dancers including Fred Astaire, Donald O'Connor, Gene Kelly, and (my favorite), Danny Kaye. Her dance number with Kaye in White Christmas was breath-taking. She once was fired from a chorus line for showing too much individuality. She was a lifelong Republican and a solid supporter of Ronald Reagan especially. Her later life was tragic, but she left a legacy of film behind and a whole lot of spectacularly athletic dance numbers.

12. Margaret Hamilton - Well so long as Republicans are going to get a bad rap anyway, let's include our most infamous Republican actress, the Wicked Witch of the West her own self, Margaret Hamilton. Margaret Hamilton grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, attended Hathaway Brown School and practiced acting by doing children's theater. After several film roles in the 30s, Margaret was tapped for her breakout role in the Wizard of Oz as the witch that haunted children's dreams for more than half a century. Turns out she was a Sunday School teacher, a staunch Republican and conservative. It turns out Republicans do pitch a wide tent.

13. Glynis Johns - Let's make it a baker's dozen. I was watching Danny Kaye's The Court Jester and co-star was the lovely Glynis Johns. She shows up in a lot of my favorite movies and turns out she's a staunch Republican. She used to do a lot of light comedy, but the versatile Ms. Johns could also play serious roles as well. Another of my favorite performances was Glynis's delightful sufragette, Mrs. Banks, in Mary Poppins. Steven Sondheim's Send in the Clowns was written specifically for Glynis to perform. She had trouble with long held notes, so Sondheim kept the phrasing short for her. Her family came from Wales, but she is now a naturalized American citizen and staunch conservative Republicans.

There are a whole batch of lists on the Internet featuring current Republican actresses out there, but there aren't many from the golden era of film. I thought you might like to see that not all of the classic actresses from the heyday of film were shrieking Communists and liberals. That's why I used to watch the Oscars. There wasn't much danger of having to listen to some speech about how terrible America is for not helping the Palestinians drive the Jews into the sea. They just talked about what a privilege it was for them to do their job and to be in this great country.  Note the number of immigrants up in that list.

Love those Republican gals!
© 2017 by Tom King

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely wonderful women!This was a great reminder of radiant beauty in Hollywood's Golden Years. Thanks, Tom!