|Other names Fay Shannon|
Name Fay McKenzie
Role Film actress
|Years active 1918–1981|
Children Tom Waldman
Known for Westerns
|Full Name Eunice Fay McKenzie|
Born February 19, 1918 (age 97) (1918-02-19) Hollywood, California, USA
Spouse Tom Waldman (m. 1948–1985), Steve Cochran (m. 1946–1948)
Siblings Ella McKenzie, Ida Mae McKenzie
Parents Eva McKenzie, Bob McKenzie
Movies The Party, Heart of the Rio Grande, Cowboy Serenade, Down Mexico Way, Assassin of Youth
Similar People J Edward McKinley, Steve Cochran, Marge Champion, Jean Carson, Steve Franken
Fay mckenzie tahiti honey from cowboy serenade 1942
Eunice Fay McKenzie (born February 19, 1918) is an American film actress known for her leading lady roles in five Gene Autry films in the early 1940s.
- Fay mckenzie tahiti honey from cowboy serenade 1942
- THE PARTY 1968 Peter Sellers Actress Fay McKenzie turns 100 and remembers the fun
THE PARTY (1968) Peter Sellers! Actress Fay McKenzie turns 100 and remembers the fun!
Eunice Fay McKenzie was born on February 19, 1918, in Hollywood, California, to show business parents, Eva (née Heazlitt) and Robert McKenzie. Her father had a stock company called the McKenzie Merry Makers, and was both an actor and director in stage productions and films. His company included such actors as Broncho Billy Anderson, Ben Turpin, and Victor Potel. When she was ten weeks old, she appeared in the film Station Content (1918) as Gloria Swanson's baby. She appeared in four other silent films as a child: A Knight of the West (1921) as Fray Murten, When Love Comes (1922) as Ruth, The Judgment of the Storm (1924) as a Heath Twin, and The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln (1924) as young Sarah Lincoln. Fay's sisters Ida Mae McKenzie and Ella McKenzie, and her brother-in-law Billy Gilbert, were also actors.
After a ten-year break from acting in order to focus on her education, McKenzie returned to films in 1934 in Student Tour as Mary Lou. That year she made her first short Western film, Sundown Trail, with wally Wales. McKenzie later recalled,
Oh my gosh, my first grown up role. My father took me. He knew everybody, and I got the job. Even though I was only 15 years old! We shot that in three days, and there was no script. They'd all ride one way and say this, then they'd all ride the other way and say that. It was very improvisational, but a great event in my life.
McKenzie appeared in numerous uncredited roles throughout the 1930s, with occasional credited roles in The Boss Cowboy (1934) as Sally Nolan, Thunderbolt (1935) as Annie, Assassin of Youth (1937) as Linda Clayton, and Slander House (1938) as Anna. In 1938, she began to appear mainly in Western films, such as Ghost Town Riders (1938) as Molly Taylor (credited as Fay Shannon), Death Rides the Range (1939) as Letty Morgan, All Women Have Secrets (1939) as Martha, and When the Daltons Rode (1940) as Hannah. In 1940, McKenzie appeared in the stage show Meet the People, which premiered in Los Angeles and ended up on Broadway.
In 1941, the president of Republic Pictures, Herbert Yates, met McKenzie through a mutual friend, and after a screen test he signed her to a contract to appear opposite the cowboy singer Gene Autry in Down Mexico Way (1941) as Maria Elena Alvarado. The film was a major financial success, and she received a lot of fan mail as a result. McKenzie went on to appear in four additional Autry films as his leading lady: Sierra Sue (1941) as Sue Larrabee, Cowboy Serenade (1942) as Stephanie Lock, Heart of the Rio Grande (1942) as Alice Bennett, and Home in Wyomin' (1942) as Clementine Benson. McKenzie sang duets with Autry in each of these films. She later remembered:
I loved working with Gene, he was terrific! I could sing and that was something the earlier girls couldn't do. Yates knew I had done Broadway; that helped! I could do more than smile and wave at the cowboy!
During World War II, McKenzie left Republic Pictures to work in theater and pursue other projects. She appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream and later appeared in Broadway in Burlesque with Bert Lahr. Much of her time during the war was devoted to shows and public appearances to support the war effort—working for the Hollywood Victory Committee. McKenzie also toured extensively entertaining the troops alongside Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, James Cagney, and old family friends Laurel and Hardy. She also entertained the troops with her former screen partner, Gene Autry.
After the war, McKenzie retired from films to raise her two children. In the 1950s, she traveled to New York to study with Lee Strasburg at the Actors Studio, appeared on radio shows with Groucho Marx, and toured with the songwriter Harry Ruby. She appeared in the television series The Millionaire (1959) as Ruth Spencer and Mr. Lucky (1960) as Sheila Wells, and Bonanza (1961) as Victoria Gates. In the 1960s, McKenzie returned to film in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) in a minor role and The Party (1968) as Alice Clutterbuck. She made her final screen appearance in S.O.B. (1981) as a favor to her old family friend Blake Edwards.
McKenzie was married twice. Her first marriage to Steve Cochran in 1946 ended in divorce in 1948. Her second marriage to the screenwriter Tom Waldman lasted from 1948 to his death on July 23, 1985. They had two children: the actor Tom Waldman Jr. and the writer Madora McKenzie.