JACK BENNY - AUTOGRAPH CIRCA 1935 CO-SIGNED BY: MARY (MRS. JACK BENNY) LIVINGSTONE, JOAN CRAWFORD - HFSID 161472
Sale Price $342.00
JACK BENNY, MARY LIVINGSTONE and JOAN CRAWFORD
Signatures of the legendary comedian and his wife and the Academy Award-winning actress.
Signatures: "Jack/Benny" and "and/Mary Livingstone" on front and "Joan Crawford" on verso, 5¾x4¼ album leaf. Written (unknown hand) in ink at upper left margin of Benny's side: "Aug 2, 1935./(Brown Derby)" and (in same hand) at upper right corner of Crawford's side: "Aug. 1, 1935./(Cocoanut/Grove)". In 1935, Benny appeared on the big screen in Broadway Melody of 1936 and It's In the Air. Crawford starred in two feature films, No More Ladies and I Live My Life, that year. Vaudeville comedian JACK BENNY (1894-1974) hosted a popular radio show from 1933, moving smoothly to TV (1950-1965). Benny appeared in over 25 movies, the most critically acclaimed of which was To Be or Not to Be (1942). Benny's comic image as a tone-deaf, penny-pinching bachelor contradicted the real Benny, a philanthropist, devoted husband and competent violinist. MARY LIVINGSTONE (1905-1983), born Sayde Marks, a cousin of the Marx Brothers, married Benny in 1927. Called on to appear on his radio show when the slated performer was ill, she proved so adept at puncturing Benny's feigned pomposity with wry wit that she developed a fan base of her own, remained on the show and formally adopted her stage name of Mary Livingston (commonly spelled Livingstone, as it is on her Hollywood Hall of Fame star). Jack and Mary were not portrayed on his show as a married couple. Curiously, despite her success as a performer, Livingstone suffered from recurrent stage fright, and she retired in 1958 at the height of her husband's popularity. Livingstone died at her home of cardiovascular disease on the day she had been visited by First Lady Nancy Reagan. JOAN CRAWFORD (1904-1977) shot to stardom on the strength of 1928's Our Dancing Daughters, starring as Diana "Di" Medford, a role originally intended for Clara Bow. The film was hugely successful, and M-G-M soon doubled her salary and began featuring her name on marquees. Crawford, who was glamourous and sometimes over-the-top, was determined to play the substantial roles associated with such actresses as Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer, so she determinedly pursued leads in films such as Paid (1930) and The Women (1939). As her popularity waned somewhat in the late 1930s, Crawford's name appeared on the infamous full-page "Hollywood Reporter" advertisement listing "glamour stars detested by the public". Her reputation as a prima donna was not helped in her later years with M-G-M, when Crawford ultimately refused to work on the poor material given to her by the studio, resulting in a lengthy suspension. Her position as a leading lady was restored in 1945 when Crawford, who had been signed by Warner Bros., made a comeback in the title role in Mildred Pierce. She won a Best Actress Academy Award for Mildred Pierce (1945) and was nominated for Best Actress Oscars for Possessed (1947) and Sudden Fear (1952). A tell-all memoir, Mommie Dearest (1978, later made into a feature film), by her daughter Christina, portrayed Crawford as unfeeling and ruthlessly ambitious. However, Crawford was a faithful correspondent with her large fan base. Lightly creased. Rectangular shading at lower margin of Benny's side and upper left margin of Crawford's side (not at signatures). Binding holes at blank right margin. Overall, fine condition.
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