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Gracie Allen

Gracie Allen, real name Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen, (July 26, 1902 - August 28, 1964) was one of the great comediennes of the movies, radio, and early television. She was the scatterbrain of the team Burns and Allen, and her husband George Burns was the straight man. They originated the catch-phrase "Say 'good-night,' Gracie."

Born into a show-business family, Allen was educated at a convent school and then became a vaudeville performer. She married George Burns in 1929, and in the 1930s they adopted two children: Sondra and Ronnie; when Ronnie was grown, he joined the cast of his parents' 1950-1958 Monday-night television show on CBS, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. Allen's stage persona was as a bizarre, illogical, and not very bright woman. Offstage she was anything but dimwitted, however: Historians credit her with having the genius to deliver her lengthy diatribes in a fashion that made it look as though she was making her arguments up on the spot.

She and Burns were deeply devoted to each other. After her death, Burns told a reporter that he had received a number of letters asking why he remained married to "that fruitcake". Burns replied to them by publishing a book titled: I Love Her, That's Why.

Allen had one green eye and one blue one. At least one biographer has speculated that her sensitivity about that was what caused her to retire from television when color television came in, which would have revealed that feature to her fans. She had stopped making films in the early 1940s when color movies came in, too.

Filmography

  • Lambchops (1929) (a "short" film)
  • The Big Broadcast (1932) (1st feature film)
  • College Humor (1933)
  • International House (1933)
  • Many Happy Returns (1934) (1st leading rôle)
  • Six Of A Kind (1934)
  • We're Not Dressing (1934)
  • Love in Bloom (1935)
  • Here Comes Cookie (1936)
  • A Damsel in Distress (1937) (1st Fred Astaire movie without Ginger Rogers & 1st in which Burns and Allen danced)
  • College Swing (1938)
  • Honolulu (1939)
  • The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939) (without Burns -- a "Philo Vance[?]" mystery by S. S. Van Dyne)
  • Mr. and Mrs. North (1941) (2nd murder mystery without Burns)
  • Two Girls and a Sailor (1944) (guest appearance & last movie)

TV series

The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show: 1950 - 1958



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