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Patricia Ellis

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Occupation  American film actress
Siblings  Marty Morin
Role  Film actress

Name  Patricia Ellis
Years active  1932–1939
Nephews  D. David Morin
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Full Name  Patricia Leftwich
Born  May 20, 1916 (1916-05-20) Birmingham, Michigan, U.S.
Died  March 26, 1970, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Spouse  George T. O'Malley (m. 1940–1970)
Movies  Block‑Heads, Picture Snatcher, Elmer - the Great, The St Louis Kid, Romance on the Run
Similar People  John G Blystone, Ray Enright, Lloyd Bacon, James W Horne, Harry Langdon

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Patricia Ellis (May 20, 1918 – March 26, 1970) was an American film actress of the 1930s.

Contents

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Early years

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Born Patricia O'Brien in Birmingham, Michigan, Ellis was the oldest of four children born to Eugene Gladstone O'Brien, a Detroit insurance salesman, and Florence Calkins. She was later known as Patricia Leftwich after her step-father, Alexander Leftwich, "an eminent New York producer of musical shows." She had a step-brother, Alexander Leftwich Jr. Her childhood activities included singing and dancing, and she learned French and German.

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A 1932 newspaper article said, "Since she was able to walk, Patricia has been familiar with the world of the theater, accompanying her father constantly to rehearsals and performances."

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Also in 1932, another newspaper reported, "She understudied all her father's leading women in the last few years, assisted him with lighting and costuming and knows stage production, too."

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Ellis attended Brantwood Hall School and Gardner School for Girls and began her stage career after leaving school. She took classes in studio facilities while pursuing her acting career.

Stage

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Ellis "appeared with Chamberlain Browns stock company at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and at the Riviera Theater, New York City."

Film

Given a film test while appearing on stage in New York City, Ellis was put under contract by Warner Bros.. In 1932, she had two small parts, both uncredited, in the films Three on a Match and Central Park. That same year, she was one of fourteen girls chosen as WAMPAS Baby Stars; Ellis, at 14, was the youngest. Her first credited role was in the 1933 film The King's Vacation, starring George Arliss and Marjorie Gateson.

After that film, her career took off, with her starring mostly in lower-budget B-movies but still working steadily. She had roles in eight films in 1933, co-starring that year with James Cagney in Picture Snatcher, and in another seven in 1934. She started 1935 off with A Night at the Ritz, in which she had the lead female role, opposite William Gargan.

She starred in seven films that year and another seven in 1936. Starring alongside some of Hollywood's biggest names, including James Cagney, Ricardo Cortez, and Bela Lugosi, Ellis's career was at its peak by 1937. Most of her roles were in comedy films, along with some mysteries and crime dramas, and by 1936 she was playing the female lead in almost all her films. She starred in five films that year, then only three in 1938, and finally just two in 1939.

Singing

After her work in film, Ellis ventured into music saying, "I was just getting into a rut in Hollywood. ... I want to start a new career -- singing." She made a soundie in 1941. A review in the trade publication Billboard commented: "Miss Ellis isn't bad on voice and excells (sic) on appearance. Men will pay attention to her." In 1941, she and Blue Barron and his Orchestra were headliners, along with Henny Youngman, at Hamid's Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey and appeared in the top-grossing Broadway hit, Louisiana Purchase, a musical comedy.

Personal life

Ellis retired in 1939 leaving Hollywood behind and on July 12, 1941, married George T. O'Maley, a successful businessman from Kansas City, Missouri. She settled into private life, raising her family in Kansas City. The O'Maleys had one daughter.

Death

Ellis remained married to O'Maley for the remainder of her life, dying of cancer at age 51 on March 26, 1970, in Kansas City. George O'Maley died thirty years later, in 2000.

References

Patricia Ellis Wikipedia


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