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Mystery Photos #1: Who’s That Lady?

While it’s natural that people would associate the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division with, well, film, video, and sound recordings, we have a tremendous amount of associated documentation like scripts, lobby cards, pressbooks, and copyright descriptive material. We also have well more than a million publicity stills, a fraction of which we’ve used to illustrate the weekly “Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater” posts.

But just as we have unidentified films in the collection, we have plenty of unidentified stills as well. MBRS staff have a pretty good eye for this sort of challenge, so we typically keep a stack of mystery photos on a table and usually the pile gets drawn down fairly quickly. However, there are also a number we can’t nail down so that’s why we’re sharing a lot of them over the coming weeks in hopes that crowdsourcing can do the trick.

Any suggestion, thoughts, or even speculation you have is gratefully appreciated and can be shared in the Comments.

  1. Some staff suggest this might be from a non-US film, perhaps something from the Mexican cinema.

UPDATE:  This might not be the Mexican cinema at all.  Could it be Diane Baker or Elizabeth Bauer?

2. On the original of this photo, someone had scribbled the name “Virginia” on the back. But Virginia who? And is it “Virginia” at all?

UPDATE:  Is this Virginia Huston? 

3. The name of this woman has frustrated us for months because she looks so familiar. But who is she?

UPDATE:  Two recent guesses:  Prunella Scales?  Celia Bannerman?  Jody Fair?

 

4. Obviously an actress (?) from the silent era.

UPDATE:  Helen Twelvetrees?  Belle Bennett?  Catherine Hessling? Betty Compson?

5. This woman might be involved in classical music in some fashion. The name of the photographer in the lower right hand corner is Peter Perri, who often shot album covers as well as portraits of classical musicians.

 UPDATE:  A popular guess for the above shot is German actress Ruth Leuwerik.  Or, could this be Erika Koth?  Other theories:  Cathy Lewis or Melitta Muszely or Eileen Joyce or Celia Johnson or Maria Andergast?

6) Another familiar face we need help identifying.

UPDATE:  A solid lead has the above photo being “Dark Shadows” actress Clarice Blackburn.

Thanks for looking!  And thanks for your help!

Tune in next week for a few more mystery photos.

67 Comments

  1. Daniela Sauer
    August 9, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Dear all,

    Number 4: Could it be Zazu Pitts?

    Anyway – this crowdsourcing is a wonderful idea!

    Thanks,
    best,

    Daniela Sauer

  2. M. Kidd
    August 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Could number 4 be Marion Davies?

  3. Keith Folk
    August 9, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    #2 mystery photo woman looks like an older Virginia Grey

  4. Lisbeth Redden
    August 9, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    I believe the Virginia ia Virginia Grey. She was very active in the 30’s.

  5. Mandy
    August 10, 2016 at 9:16 am

    No, #2 is definitely not Marion Davies, and I don’t believe it’s Virginia Grey either – you can see older pictures of her online, and it just doesn’t look like her.

  6. Karan
    August 10, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    #4 could be Thelma Todd.

  7. Claire
    August 11, 2016 at 10:25 am

    #6 – Suzanne Pleshette?

  8. Cathy Marsh
    August 12, 2016 at 10:14 am

    For #6, I went to Agnes Moorehead, but some of that would depend on when the picture was taken.

  9. Kathleen
    August 12, 2016 at 10:41 am

    #3 a young Loni Anderson; #4 Clara Bow?; #5 & 6 have the same nose and jawline

  10. Peter
    August 12, 2016 at 11:52 am

    #2 Virginia Mayo?

  11. brian
    August 12, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Number 4 looks like Silent screen actress whose sister was Vivian Vance

  12. Martha
    August 13, 2016 at 8:27 am

    #2 Yvonne De Carlo

  13. reggi shane
    August 13, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    this is grat, thanks do it again.. # 1 might be from a tv western cast

  14. Sushant
    August 13, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Virginia Mayo

  15. Shannon
    August 13, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    #1 looks like an early candid of Claudia Cardinale

  16. K
    August 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Number 4 is definitely not ZaSu Pitts, Clara Bow, Marion Davies, or Thelma Todd … unfortunately I don’t know her identity!

  17. Mary
    August 14, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    #4 – Looks like Mae Murray

    #5 – Is that Eloise Rawitzer?

  18. Tommie Hicks
    August 17, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I think # 6 is Nancy Marchand.

  19. Barbara
    August 17, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Agree that #2 is possibly Virginia Grey.

    Compare facial features: http://classiccinemaimages.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Virginia-Grey-1.jpg

  20. Bob Nersesian
    August 17, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    I believe #3 is Judy Strangis. I recognized her as Mean Mary Jean from Chrysler commercials, but it turns out she was also on Room 222. Compare teeth at http://comforttv.blogspot.com/2016/03/tv-sidekick-blogathon-my-enduring.html

  21. t. kelly
    August 17, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    #5 might be Ruth Leuwerik (German actress)

  22. t. kelly
    August 17, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    #4 possibly Lilian Gish?

  23. Rick
    August 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    #6 looks like Clarice Blackburn from Dark Shadows (1966).

  24. t. kelly
    August 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    #1 maybe Natalie Wood

  25. Lee
    August 18, 2016 at 5:28 am

    #5 could be Ruth Leuwerik. There is a connection to classical music: she was married to opera singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in the 1960s.

  26. Sarah
    August 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    #4 Could be Enid or Alma Bennett

  27. Lee
    August 24, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    #5: If this lady is, indeed, involved in classical music, it seems likely that she is a singer. It could possibly be Erika Köth, a German soprano who started performing in the late 1940s, mostly in Germany and other European countries. It would help to know where/when Peter Perri worked.

  28. t. kelly
    August 25, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    #3 could British actress Celia Bannerman.

  29. newton figg
    August 26, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    #2 could be Pam Britton.

  30. HST
    September 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    #5 for sure isn’t Ruth Leuwerik
    see:

  31. HST
    September 1, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    add to my comment No 30
    http://www.gettyimages.at/fotos/ruth-leuwerik

  32. G. Pell
    September 12, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    #1 looks like Janice Rule photographed at a weird angle with a weird smile.

  33. Laura Wagner
    September 13, 2016 at 10:32 am

    #2 is NOT Virginia Grey. I am sure of that much.

  34. Shelagh
    September 13, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    #4 could be Constance Talmadge. Compare the thin upper lip, broad nose, slightly large teeth, and of course the pearl necklace, to this image: http://img2.rnkr-static.com/node_img/39/769563/C350/constance-talmadge-people-in-film-photo-1.jpg

  35. Deborah Del Vecchio
    September 14, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    #2 – I don’t believe that is Virginia Grey.

  36. Sally Stark
    September 15, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Actually, Number 5 resembles the mature Elizabeth Allan…

  37. Karen L
    September 17, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I believe #5 is Cathy Lewis. SHe was a singer with Kay Kayser and later had a recurring role on the TV Show “Hazel”.

  38. Sam
    September 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    #1 definitely isn’t Natalie Wood and #2 is not Virginia Grey.
    # 6 might be Betty Field in a 1950s television show. (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0275897/mediaviewer/rm2298840064)
    (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0275897/mediaviewer/rm2450459136)
    (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0275897/mediaviewer/rm801245952)
    (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0275897/mediaviewer/rm3874022912)

    Good luck!

  39. Howard Mandelbaum
    September 23, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    It looks like a brunette Virginia Field.

  40. Jennifer Redmond
    September 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    #4 is definitely not Constance Talmadge. She does look irritatingly familiar though.

  41. R Michael Pyle
    September 28, 2016 at 8:01 am

    #2 looks like an older Greta Gynt

  42. Bernie Mo
    October 4, 2016 at 11:41 am

    #4 is not Helen Twelvetrees. I compared 92 images of Helen and only one has Helen smiling with teeth showing. Also, Helen’s nose is more pronounced. If the theory that Vivian Vance had a sister who was a silent film star is valid, and I intend to pursue this theory, I think we may be onto something.

  43. Jim Beaver
    October 4, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    #6 is not Clarice Blackburn, who has a mole on her chin. This woman doesn’t.

  44. Jim Beaver
    October 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    #2 is not Virginia Grey. I knew Virginia Grey and this woman isn’t even close.

  45. Pat
    October 6, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    #2. I remember an old war movie, probably 1940’s … A German actress, looked like this woman.

  46. Greg Chapman
    October 12, 2016 at 12:16 am

    #5 looks like British Actress Barbara Shelley in hr heyday of the 1950’s 60’s.

  47. QueenieWahine
    October 12, 2016 at 9:21 am

    #5 looks like Ausrian actress Maria Andergast. No idea, though, why or when she would have had her photo taken by a New York photographer.

  48. QueenieWahine
    October 12, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Another suggestion for #5 comes from my sister: Eileen Joyce, Australian pianist. She played concerts in New York around 1950.

  49. QueenieWahine
    October 12, 2016 at 10:15 am

    *Austrian

  50. Bernie Mo
    October 13, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    #4. Theory about Vivian Vance having a sister in silent movies has no legs. Vivian Vance had a brother and 4 sisters, but I can’t find any photos of them, or any reference to them being in silent pictures. I think one of the earlier comments suggested it’s Mae Murray. I think it might be Mae Murray although it appears she liked to be photographed with her left side being her “good side.”

  51. Mo-vay-no
    October 18, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Number one: how about Millie Perkins in the Shooting (1967)? The hat is about right for the film and most of the costume except her blouse was white that I could see.

  52. Mary
    October 20, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Could #4 be Dorothy Mackaill?

  53. Jack Coupal
    December 6, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    #4. From the hairstyle, I’d say Clara Bow (~1927).

  54. Hblack4d
    December 7, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    #6 looks like Agnes Moorehead to me…
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001547/mediaviewer/rm2206829568

  55. Pamela Rose Hart
    January 12, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Could number 2 be Virginia Dale? 😉

  56. Jim Beaver
    March 7, 2017 at 6:01 am

    #1 is not Millie Perkins. #4 is not Clara Bow. #6 is not Agnes Moorehead.

  57. diane byrnes
    April 12, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Could no. 4 be Mildred Harris? It sure isn’t Helen Twelvetrees or Marion Davies.

  58. Laini Giles
    May 3, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Is #3 Kathy Garver who played Cissy on Family Affair? Looks a little like her to me.

  59. Leoni
    May 21, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    #4 Belle Bennett?

  60. Becky N
    June 27, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    3 isn’t Prunella scales. Prunella is in Fawlty towers with john cleese

  61. Azoay Boni
    July 1, 2017 at 5:58 am

    #5 – The actor is definitely William Farnum. This still is from “The Rainbow Trail” (1918). The woman in the center is Genevieve Blinn.

    http://pressurewasherify.com

  62. JerryM
    August 8, 2017 at 1:02 am

    I am pretty certain #4 is Belle Bennett. I have a group photo of a Triangle Film Co. film unit (late 1917) that includes her, along with director Charles Avery and my grandfather who was an assistant director.

  63. Mary
    August 16, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    No3 is NOT Prunella Scales.

  64. Jane
    August 21, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    I’m virtually positive #4 is an unflattering photo of the beautiful Betty Compson. (She rarely smiled showing her teeth.) She wasn’t a great actress, but she didn’t need to be – she had a vulnerability and charm that radiated from the screen. See for example The Lady Refuses.

  65. B’klyn
    August 22, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    # 3 looks like Dawn French.

  66. Karen
    August 22, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    # 3 looks like Dawn French.

  67. Leoni
    September 1, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    #4 I woudln’t be so sure about Betty Compson, she definetly looks very similar, but what bothers me is her jawline and her chin, when compared to other photos of Betty it does not match (at least when I look at it). And the top of Betty’s nose was not going down, like this lady’s (sorry for the weird choice of words, I’m not a native speaker)

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