I've had a couple of requests and quite a few searches on the site for more info about Bonita Granville.
As a child star Granville garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in These Three (1936), where her character's behavior drives the story infuriating us through her accusations and just generally frustrating the heck out of us by being such a brat. Predictably after that Granville played a number of roles generally described as the 'snotty kid,' but despite that legacy she matured well into lighter roles, notably, Nancy Drew, whom she played four times in 1938-39.
I most recently ran into a more demure version of Granville while on my Andy Hardy kick as she appears as Kay Wilson in Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944), which sees Andy off to college, and Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946), which welcomes Andy back from the War. These back to back entries are actually the last two Hardy movies, at least until the 1958 reunion Andy Hardy Comes Home.
In Blonde Trouble Granville's Kay meets Andy on the train trip to college, and while Andy is immediately taken in by Kay's charms he receives a lot of mixed signals leading him to believe she's involved with ... Herbert Marshall! Once settled on campus that confusion solves itself and Kay and Andy serve each other well as opposites growing accustomed to college life.
Kay Wilson is everything that Andy Hardy is not: cultured, intellectual, quiet, adult; and Andy's down to earth manner both amuses Kay and reminds her that she's still just really a kid.
Love Laughs decides to expand on this opposites attract idea and has Andy return from service completely lovestruck, stealing occasional glances at a picture of Kay and stopping off to stare in windows of wedding and baby shops on the streets of Carvel. It's not until well after a half hour into the film that Bonita Granville shows up, obviously conflicted about Andy's feelings. This Kay winds up ripping Andy's heart out, though she's completely ignorant about his feelings and so Andy plays the good sport until the end.
I actually watched Love Laughs at Andy Hardy just the other night in order to see how things turned out, but honestly it's not a great showcase of Bonita Granville--if you're a fan of the statuesque Dorothy Ford you really couldn't do much better though!
As the title promises here are those bullets:
- Born February 2, 1923 in Chicago, IL (IMDb and Wikipedia, though other sources say New York)
- From a stage family and thus on the stage very early herself
- Film debut at age 9 in RKO's Westward Passage (1932)
- Breakout role in These Three (1936)
- 1937 Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in These Three (won by Gale Sondergaard in Anthony Adverse)
- Appeared in Merrily We Live (1938)
- Plays Nancy Drew for the first of four times in Nancy Drew - Detective (1938)
- Appeared in The Mortal Storm (1940)
- Appeared in Now, Voyager (1942)
- Marries oil tycoon and film producer Jack Wrather, February 5, 1947. Granville's only marriage lasted 37 years until Wrather's 1984 death. The couple had four children.
- Appears in husband's Wrather Corporation production of The Lone Ranger (1956) starring Clayton Moore. Also narrated, directed and produced several entries into the Lassie series, another Wrather Production, from the 1950's-1970's.
- Founding member of the "kitchen cabinet" who encouraged Ronald Reagan to run for Governor of California in 1967.
- Final film, an uncredited appearance in The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981), not surprisingly, a Wrather Production.
- Succeeds husband as board chairman of the Wrather Corporation after his death in 1984 until company was sold to Walt Disney Company and Industrial Equity Limited in January 1988.
- Died October 11, 1988, Santa Monica, CA. Lung cancer claims Bonita Granville's life at age 65.
For more information about Bonita Granville check out her IMDb and Wikipedia pages, her New York Times obituary and this old appreciation site. Looks like that last one was last updated in 1998 (adjust your eyes!), but the info looks solid. Too bad they didn't keep it going.
And like I said, there are definitely some folks out there looking for info on Bonita Granville, if you have anything to share please do so in the comments section below. Thanks!
Featured collectibles: At the top of the page Bonita Granville is pictured as Ann in Maid of Salem on a 1938 Godfrey Phillips Characters Come to Life tobacco card. The second image shows a slightly older Granville on another tobacco card issued by Ardath. Please see the Immortal Ephemera Store for thousands of other vintage movie cards and collectibles.
Nancy Drew - Reporter (1938)
In it's entirety from the Internet Archive:
I love Bonita Granville. She’s one of my top favorite actresses and I love her especially in the Nancy Drew films which I can watch over and over and over again. Great post as usual Cliff!
A little known fact: Granville was in the ice-skating noir Suspense (1946). She looks almost like a childish version of the star, Belita. This is a pretty crappy movie but it’s great to see Granville in something totally out of character for her. It’s available in the Warner Home Archive collection. I rented it through Classicflix.
Cliff Aliperti says
Wow, Raquelle, that was fast, thanks! I’ve only caught one or two of the Nancy Drew flicks, but was shocked, I say, shocked, by how much I enjoyed what I saw. I’m really hoping the embed in this post isn’t one of them so I can have the opportunity to enjoy another without wait.
Suspense sounds interesting. I love crappy films, especially crappy noir!