Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happy Birthday February 3

Horace Greeley 1811
Joey Bishop 1918
Shelly Berman 1926
Blythe Danner 1943
Dennis Edwards 1943
Nathan Lane 1956
Linda Eder 1961

but the birthday girl today is Peggy Ann Garner (b.1932) who starred in a favorite of mine, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn".

I'll be honest and say why I've always loved this movie. The first time I watched it, many years ago (Lincoln was President) was with my mother. Mum didn't have it easy as a child, there was little to no money, like the Nolans. At age ten, there was also no father. She was the youngest and became very close with her father, especially after his legs were amputated in an attempt to lengthen his life (it didn't work). I guess you could say, they cut him down to her size. Sprinkle into this the bedtime story we were told as kids...."The Little Match Girl". You know, the poor, freezing homeless girl that sells matches & runs out...and ends up in the warm and loving arms of the rich folks? Yes, it's syrupy & sappy. Well, that too was my mother, to me at least. Though she didn't ram it down my throat, that she grew up in the depression was never forgotten.

So now you know why I tear up with every little look Peggy gives, why I cringe when Dorothy McGuire's so rotten to her (yet secretly understand why she does what she does) or why I die when Johnny dies. When Johnny takes Francie through the beautiful neighborhood and she picks out her house? Pretty god damned poor little match girl to me! And when Lloyd Nolan comes and saves the day? I'm surprised they didn't portray him on horseback, white...of course.

Peggy was quite a trooper. After Hollywood said bye-bye [they weren't interested in a grown Peggy] she worked hard, mostly in television, grabbing roles here & there. She died very young at 52, pancreatic cancer. (And YES, she IS dead!) Her personal life didn't go much better. Three marriages, all ended in divorce and her only daughter (with the actor Albert Salmi) died when she was 38.

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