Who Did What?

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moira finnie
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Who Did What?

Post by moira finnie »

I seem to have a lot of useless factoids in my files. Maybe we can
have some fun with them. Can you match the unlikely profession
that the familiar actors listed below
pursued before they found their niche in show biz?

1.) Electrical Engineer
2.) Lawyer
3.) Economics Professor
4.) Liquor Salesman
5.) Opera Singer
6.) Grain Merchant
7.) Accountant
8.) Time Study Analyst
9.) National Swimming Diving Champion
10.) NYC Public Schoolteacher
11.) Professional Wrestler
12.) Stockbroker
13.) The "youngest" Hamlet

A.) John Houseman
B.) Lee Van Cleef
C.) Dana Andrews
D.) Morris Ankrum
E.) James Gregory
F.) Sig Rumann
G.) John McGiver
H.) Jack Elam
I.) Florence Bates
J.) David Niven
K.) Ernest Truex
L.) Strother Martin
M.) John Payne
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Post by MissGoddess »

Well I'll try for a few, let's see if I'm right:

David Niven was #4. A licquor salesman.
Jack Elam was #7. An Accountant
Dana Andrews was #5. An Opera Singer
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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Post by moira finnie »

Well I'll try for a few, let's see if I'm right:

David Niven was #4. A licquor salesman.
Jack Elam was #7. An Accountant
Dana Andrews was #5. An Opera Singer
All correct, Miss G. Now, for the ten remaining occupations...
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Post by The Ingenue »

Florence Bates was the lawyer.

The other day a friend and I were talking about Morris Ankrum, but I cheated and looked back at those letters, so I'll leave that one unanswered.
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Post by moira finnie »

You pegged Florence Bates correctly, Carrie. Not only was Ms. Bates a lawyer she was a pioneer, becoming "the first woman lawyer in Texas in 1914 at the age of 26." How fortunate for us that Attorney Bates found the stage and screen (Rebecca, Portrait of Jennie, I Remember Mama, among numerous other credits) much more appealing.

That greasepaint must have gotten into the Bates lineage. Florence Bates' great-granddaughter, Rachel Hamilton, has worked in Second City, the Reduced Shakespeare Company, (I've seen them. They're performances are hilarious), and has popped up in several movies and tv shows, including 30 Rock.

9 more actors-professions to match...
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Post by jdb1 »

John McGiver was a NYC public school teacher.

John Houseman was a grain merchant (and made millions, which he lost in the 1929 crash).

Ernest Truex was the "youngest Hamlet" [?]

(I think Lee Van Cleef was also an accountant. Does he have some other outside profession to his credit?)
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Post by moira finnie »

jdb1 wrote:John McGiver was a NYC public school teacher.

John Houseman was a grain merchant (and made millions, which he lost in the 1929 crash).

Ernest Truex was the "youngest Hamlet" [?]

(I think Lee Van Cleef was also an accountant. Does he have some other outside profession to his credit?)
All correct except for Lee Van Cleef.
Hint: All of the performers on the list each had a different profession. None of those listed had the same profession prior to acting, as far as I know.

7 actors-civilian jobs left to connect.

P. S. Ernest Truex was 5 years old when he played in Hamlet. It must've been a hoot, though I can't picture him as the neurotic Danish prince without wondering if he looked as though he was born middle-aged, even then.
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Post by jdb1 »

Well, Moira, how about Morris Ankrum as the economics professor? He looks like an economics professor.

Really, I'm sure I've read in more than one place that Lee Van Cleef was an accountant, or at least studied to be an accountant, and also worked as a carpenter when he was "between jobs." Wonder what else he did . . . . . .
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Post by moira finnie »

Morris Ankrum looked like an Economics Professor for a very good reason--he was one, (as well as a non-practicing lawyer, but heck, they're a dime a dozen). Then again, Morris also looked like a military man to a heck of a lot of people too, otherwise, why did he play one in a kajillion movies?

Lee Van Cleef may have thought about being an accountant & maybe he worked as a carpenter between acting gigs, but for the purposes of this game, I'm not looking at those career paths for him. This was a real job he had at one point. The only accountant in our list has already been identified as Jack Elam.

6 actors-professions to go now. Thanks for playing along, though!
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Post by jdb1 »

Where are all the replies you should be getting, Moira? Come on now, Gang, we should know this stuff; and it's not difficult to find it out if we don't.

So --- How about Strother Martin as the National Swimming/Diving Champion?
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Post by Mr. O'Brady »

...we should know this stuff; and it's not difficult to find it out if we don't.
Cheating will not be tolerated! :wink:

Well, being a geek myself, I would guess Lee Van Cleef was an engineer. Seemed the type.
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Post by moira finnie »

So --- How about Strother Martin as the National Swimming/Diving Champion?
Bingo, Judith! Hard to see Strother as a lithe Johnny Weismuller type, but he was fairly quick, wasn't he? I love the idea of him as a water baby.

Hey, maybe this is boring, I dunno. I'll post the remaining actors/jobs below & give up all the info later. If you think sharp cookie, think good body, think observant, think mad scientist type...aw, you'll get it, guys.

Actors Left:
Sig Rumann
Lee Van Cleef
James Gregory
John Payne

Jobs Left:
Professional Wrestler
Stockbroker
Electrical Engineer
Time Study Analyst
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Post by jdb1 »

I'd say Sig Ruman was the engineer. And James Gregory was a stockbroker.

I'm still stumped on Van Cleef, though. Not an accountant . . . . . . ??? Trouble is, every source I've looked at so far online says he "trained as an accountant." I guess he never actually "accounted?" That would leave wrestler and time study analyst. Well, he was in the Navy -- hmmm.......

Let's see --- John Payne was a pretty big guy -- I'm remembering those beefcake photos of him someone posted last year -- was he ever a wrestler?

So that would leave Van Cleef as the efficiency expert?

Or was it the other way around? Moira, you're good at stumping us.
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Post by Mr. O'Brady »

Van Cleef wasn't the engineer???
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Post by moira finnie »

According to the sources I found, Lee Van Cleef worked as a time study analyst in a factory (aka an efficiency expert) after his schooling and the navy. He is said to have been sufficiently bored by the repetition and precise minutiae of his factory job to pursue his wildest dream of acting.

John Payne, who, despite the fact that so many of those '40s movies he appeared in had him playing an upper crust guy had a heckuva time making ends meet during the Depression (along with a few million others). Trying to find a way to stay at Columbia University, he is said to have appeared as a wrestler (and a male model at an art school & a singer in vaudeville) during his youth. Guess those hard knocks may have helped him play convincingly those "guys who'd been around" in Kansas City Confidential and 99 River Street?

Sig Rumann was an electrical engineer in Germany and continued to work as one at CalTech and other facilities and companies in between acting gigs throughout his career. Billy Wilder used to complain that he had to arrange his shooting schedule around the engineering demands in Southern California at times. The sight of Sig in a lab coat in real life must've been an amusing sight, no?

James Gregory was not only a stock broker, he was a very successful one, but he heard the call of Thespis and chucked it all. With his distinctive speaking style, he must've oiled quite a few prospects in his time on the Street.

Your turn, gang!
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