Odette Myrtil


Odette Myrtil
Odette Myrtil in The Bing Boys are Here, 1916

Odette Myrtil (June 28, 1898 — November 18, 1978)[1] was an American actress, singer, and violinist of French birth. She began her career as a violinist on the vaudeville stage in Paris at the age of 14. She expanded out into acting and singing, and had her first major success at the age of 18 on the London stage in the 1916 musical revue The Bing Boys Are Here. She was a staple in Broadway musical theatre productions from 1924-1932, after which she returned only periodically to Broadway up through 1960. She also appeared on the stages of Chicago, London, Los Angeles, and Paris several times during her career.

From 1923-72, Myrtil appeared as an actress in a total of 28 feature films; most of which were made from the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s. Not a leading lady on camera, she specialized in character roles and was often utilized for her gifts as a singer. She made only one television appearance during her career, in the Studio One in Hollywood 1953 episode The Paris Feeling. She also worked as a costume designer for 9 motion pictures from 1944-50.

Contents

Life and career

Born Odette Belza in Paris, she was the daughter of two stage actors.[2] She studied the violin at a boarding school in Brussels and began performing the violin professionally at the age of 13. In 1915, at the age of 16, she came to the United States to join the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway as one of the Ziegfeld Girls.[3] The following year she came to London where she was a major success in the West End show The Bing Boys Are Here. She spent the next several years appearing successfully on the London stage and in vaudeville productions in major European cities.[4]

In 1923 Myrtil returned to New York City as a vaudeville entertainer at the Palace Theatre where she had her first major success in America.[4] She became a staple of the theatre scene in New York City up into the early 1930s, often appearing in Broadway musicals which featured her abilities as both a singer and violinist. She had a particular triumph as Odette in Jerome Kern's 1931 musical The Cat and the Fiddle which was written specifically as a vehicle for her.[5] Thereafter she only made a handful of appearances on Broadway, with her last show being the original production of Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's Saratoga in 1960. She spent a couple years in the early 1950s portraying Bloody Mary in the original run of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, having succeeded Juanita Hall in the role.[6]

After 1935, Myrtil's career decidedly shifted towards film, although she never left her live theatre roots. She had a fairly prolific career as a film actress, appearing in mainly mid-sized roles in a total of 25 films from 1936 to 1952. She had previously only appeared as a dancer in the 1923 film Squibs M.P. Her first speaking role was as Renée De Penable in Dodsworth (1936).[7]

Some of her other film credits are Kitty Foyle (1940), Out of the Fog (1941), I Married an Angel (1942), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Uncertain Glory (1944), Devotion (1946), and The Fighting Kentuckian (1949). She sang the title song on camera as herself in the 1954 film The Last Time I Saw Paris and again portrayed herself in her last film appearance in the 1972 film Hot Pants Holiday.

Post-acting career

Myrtil resided in New Hope, Pennsylvania during the majority of her later life. From 1955-58 she managed The Playhouse Inn, located next door to the Bucks County Playhouse. From 1961-76 she operated the New Hope restaurant Chez Odette which is now a different restaurant bearing her name, Odette's Restaurant.[2]

During her life, Myrtil was married twice: for eight years to vaudeville performer Robert Adams and later to film director and producer Stanley Logan.[8] She died in nearby Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1978, aged 80.[2]

References

  1. ^ "Odette Myrtil". Social Security Death Index. New England Historic Genealogical Society. http://www.americanancestors.org/PageDetail.aspx?recordId=50649053. Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Odette Myrtil: Musician, Stage, and Screen Artist". www.michenermuseum.org. http://www.michenermuseum.org/bucksartists/artist.php?artist=163. 
  3. ^ "Odette Myrtil, Stage, Stage, Screen Star, Dies.". The Pittsburgh Press. November 20, 1978. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=m0UuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=MlkEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5692,2663706&dq=odette-myrtil&hl=en. 
  4. ^ a b "Odette Myrtil Amuses: Vaudeville Artist From Paris the Feature at the Palace". The New York Times. December 11, 1923. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30614FB3F5D15738DDDA80994DA415B838EF1D3&scp=2&sq=%22Odette+Myrtil%22&st=p. 
  5. ^ J. Brooks Atkinson (October 16, 1931). "The Play: Love to a Kern Score". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F4081FFA395F177A93C4A8178BD95F458385F9&scp=4&sq=%22Odette+Myrtil%22+Cat+and+the+Fiddle+&st=p. 
  6. ^ John Patrick Shanley (April 14, 1952). "Two Hit Musicals Satirized By Stars: Performers in 'South Pacific' and 'King and I' Celebrate Shows' Birthdays in Skits". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10A10FE3C5E177B93C6A8178FD85F468585F9&scp=1&sq=%22Odette+Myrtil%22+South+Pacific&st=p. 
  7. ^ Mae Tinee (Octpber 31, 1936). "Critic Praises 'Dodsworth' as Honest Movie". Chicago Tribune. 
  8. ^ "Former Broadway Star Dies". Reading Eagle. November 20, 1978. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=fvQhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=naAFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4428,8241659&dq=odette-myrtil&hl=en. 

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Odette (given name) — Odette is a French given name, a female form of Odet. Odette, a character in the ballet Swan Lake Odette Bancilhon, a French astronomer Odette Barencey (died 1981), French film actress Odette de Champdivers (died ca. 1425), mistress of Charles VI …   Wikipedia

  • The Bing Boys Are Here — Infobox Musical name = The Bing Boys Are Here subtitle = caption = Odette Myrtil music = Nat D. Ayer lyrics = Clifford Grey book = George Grossmith, Jr. and Fred Thompson basis = productions = 1916 West End awards = The Bing Boys Are Here ,… …   Wikipedia

  • 6th Tony Awards — Infobox Tony Awards name = 6th imagesize = caption = date = March 30 1952 venue = Waldorf Astoria Hotel New York City, New York host = network = WOR, Mutual Network last = 5th next = 7thThe 6th Annual Tony Awards, presented by the American… …   Wikipedia

  • New Hope, Pennsylvania — Coordinates: 40°21′37″N 74°57′26″W / 40.36028°N 74.95722°W / 40.36028; 74.95722 …   Wikipedia

  • Comtesse Maritza — Gräfin Mariza Comtesse Maritza par la troupe des Matelots de la Dendre, Ath, le 13 mars 2010 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • South Pacific (musical) — This article is about the 1949 Broadway musical. For the 1958 film, see South Pacific (film). For the 2001 film, see South Pacific (2001 film). South Pacific Original Cast Recording Music Richard Rodgers …   Wikipedia

  • The Fighting Kentuckian — Infobox Film | name = The Fighting Kentuckian caption = director = George Waggner producer = John Wayne writer =George Waggner starring =John Wayne Oliver Hardy Vera Ralston Philip Dorn Marie Windsor music = George Antheil cinematography = Lee… …   Wikipedia

  • The Cat and the Fiddle (musical) — For the 1934 MGM film, see The Cat and the Fiddle. For the Papa John Creach album, see The Cat and the Fiddle (album). For the nursery rhyme, see Hey Diddle Diddle. Infobox Musical name= The Cat and the Fiddle subtitle= caption= music= Jerome… …   Wikipedia

  • Dodsworth (film) — Dodsworth Theatrical release poster Directed by William Wyler Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Merritt Hulburd …   Wikipedia

  • Forever and a Day (film) — Infobox Film name = Forever and a Day image size = caption = director = René Clair Edmund Goulding Cedric Hardwicke Frank Lloyd Victor Saville Robert Stevenson Herbert Wilcox producer = René Clair Edmund Goulding Cedric Hardwicke Frank Lloyd… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.