Monday, July 27, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009


In loving memory of Beverly Roberts, a fine actress whose mellifluous voice enhanced her nearly two dozen feature film. A Brooklyn girl, Miss Roberts was born on May 19, 1914 and while in her teens, studied drama at Eva Le Gallienne's prestigeous Civic Repertory Theatre Company. She later was also to study with famous actress/drama coach Maria Ouspenskaya.

Initially signed by Warners Brothers in the mid 1930s, she made a total of 21 films, including two with Ross Alexander. They costarred together in Hot Money (1936) and along with Pat O'Brien in China Clipper (1936).

Miss Roberts made her film debut in The Singing Kid (1936) which starred Al Jolson and Sybil Jason. Two other career highlights include her appearance with Errol Flynn in The Perfect Specimen (1937)and starring in Warners' first technicolor feature, God's Country and the Woman, a 1937 film which was first offered to Bette Davis. Miss Roberts gave an excellent performance and it is for this film that she is best remembered.

A singer and stage actress, she toured with the Dorsey Brothers Band in the 1940s and continued as a singer well into the 1950s. Her acting career ended in the early 1950s after making several television appearances. In 1954 she was appointed administrator of the Theater Authority, whose members comprised the five entertainment unions.

She retired in 1977, although would occasionally attend film events and corresponded with fans including this fortunate writer. I am forever in her debt as she generously and painstakingly shared her memories of Mr. Alexander with me.

The year 2002 was certainly a gratifying one for Miss Roberts as she was honored in March at the grand reopening of Santa Cruz's Del Mar Theatre; the featured film being China Clipper. Later in August, she was in the spotlight once more at the Cinecon Film Festival in Hollywood. Her final screen appearance was in 2000's I Used to Be in Pictures, a wonderful documentary which also included among others, Sybil Jason, Ruth Clifford, Frances Drake, Edith Fellows, Rose Hobart, Hazel Court, Murial Evans, Lucille Lund, Joan Marsh, Anita Page, Peggy Moran, Fayard Nicholas, Lupitar Tovar and another costar of Ross's, Gloria Stuart.

According to her close friend, Sybil Jason, Miss Roberts passed away, due to natural causes, in her sleep this past Sunday, July 12 at her Laguna Niguel home. At her personal request, there were no services. This kind and generous woman shall be missed.

Friday, January 2, 2009