Thursday, October 9, 2008


Once again this month, thanks to Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By where I viewed this video:

What a great website
this is! It includes just about everything you'd ever want to know about Venice, Italy.

Ah Venice! I fell in love with it when I was a teen and saw (the original 1954) Three Coins in the Fountain on our television one summer day with my sister. It's mentioned in the "Venice in the Movies" section in the website linked above.
"Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954) set in Rome and Venice; with some amazing aerial shots of Venice, both overhead and (amazingly) down low right over the canals between the buildings. Worth a look for Venice lovers just for those shots. (R.Ruiz)

I checked out the link to the movie there at the Venice website, and it took me to Amazon where I read the movie synopsis to refresh my memory and then looked at some public comments about the movie. One of the comments, in praise of the actress Maggie McNamara, mentioned her suicide in the "60s or 70s." I researched a bit online and was saddened to read that she indeed committed suicide in 1978 in advance of her 50th birthday. Below is a short bio from The Internet Movie Data Base. It makes me very curious to see The Moon is Blue, a movie I'd not heard of before reading this bio:
Biography for Maggie McNamara
Date of Birth: 18 February 1928, New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death: 18 February 1978, New York City, New York, USA (suicide by overdose)
Birth Name: Marguerite McNamara
Mini Biography

Maggie McNamara -- with her brown hair in a ponytail -- arrives in Rome in Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) expecting great things to happen. Petite and slender, she looks almost like a schoolgirl in her prim blue suit. She is bright and vivacious and goes for what she wants -- a proposal from Prince Dino De Cessi played by Louis Jourdan. She was in her mid-20s then and at the height of her career as she made her second film. One of four children of Irish-American parents, Maggie had come a long way since attending Textile High in New York to prepare for a modeling career. Pert as well as petite, she must have reminded people of the young Debbie Reynolds. Both had a look that was popular in the late 1940s. Maggie's picture appeared twice on the cover of Life Magazine and people were saying she too ought to be in movies. She started taking lessons with a dramatic coach and, at the age of 23, she was discovered by Otto Preminger. He signed her to play the role of a proper young lady who lets herself be lured to a bachelor's apartment in the Chicago production of a play of F. Hugh Herbert. She played the ingénue role in "The Moon Is Blue" in the national company for 18 months. Then, in 1951, she made it to Broadway in "The King of Friday's Men". Brooks Atkinson, drama critic for the New York Times, said of her performance in that play that she was "remarkably pretty and has a gift for acting". Then Maggie was offered the female lead in the Otto Preminger's film version of "The Moon Is Blue" with William Holden and David Niven. Theater patrons in New York and Chicago had found the stage version of the story amusing. The Catholic Legion of Decency was not amused when it previewed the film. It was stamped "C" for Condemned. The New York Times noted in 1978: "The Moon Is Blue aroused a storm of controversy because of what some observers regarded as 'indecent' discussion of sex, and the ridicule of the rules of parental protection. By current standards, it was, in fact, a prim and proper work". Maggie was supporting herself as a typist when she died in 1978. The New York Times obituary appeared four weeks after her death. It said she was 48. The relative who confirmed that she had died did not give the newspaper the date of her birth. The relative said Maggie had been doing some writing recently and a film script, "The Mighty Dandelion", had been accepted by a new film producing company.

IMDb Mini Biography By: Dale O'Connor

This article, Remembering Maggie McNamara, gives additional information about her and it contains photos of her in Three Coins in the Fountain, The Moon is Blue and other roles in theater, film, and TV.

Who would think that a whimsical video of gondoliers singing a new variation of "Volare" would lead to my posting about Maggie McNamara, an actress I only vaguely remember in one movie long ago. It seems to me that sometimes the dead not only deserve recognition but may have a need to be remembered. So, here's to you, Maggie. Volare.


Darlene said...

I vaguely remember "Three Coins In the Fountain". I guess I will have to see it again.

I was fortunate enough to visit Venice twice. While other places have canals, there is nothing quits like Venice.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

It's funny how fame works isn't it? So many talented people come so close to something big, but somehow the chances don't work out - whilst others with less obvious talent go on to make films like Mission: Impossible...

Not that i had any particular actors in mind incase he's reading...



Related Posts with Thumbnails