Shirley Deane Profile

Shirley Deane
Shirley Deane
Photo of Shirley Deane
Photo gallery
(Shirley Deane Blattenberger)
16 March 13 is born in Fresno, California, to Jessee H. Blattenberger and his wife Zola (nee Redden). She resides with her maternal grandmother, Mrs. S. Redden, at 805 Cambridge Avenue.
20 starts taking dancing lessons at age 7
? begins as a child dancer in Fresno
Late 20s at Fresno High School she has the lead in Bohemian Girl and Chimes of Normandy and takes part in Berkeley Square, presented by the College Theater
? attends a California state college
32 as Shirley Redden-Aaronson, she moves to San Francisco with her mother for further theatrical experience. Her mother is the wife of Dr. Philip V. Aaronson.
7 July 32 enters an opportunity revue staged by the RKO chain of theaters; a 42-week national theatrical engagement is a prize. She has already won the distinction among 75 contestants at the San Francisco-RKO Golden Gate Theater of being selected to play the lead in a revue which will be on the stage for one week; she will play opposite William Endicott. One winner will be chosen from the review in each of the 48 cities in the contest. In addition to the theatrical engagement, prizes include a scholarship in the Ned Wayburn dance studio and Albertina Rasch dancing academy, both in New York City.
30 July 32 a friend from Fresno, Marjorie Millett, visits her in San Francisco, where she has an engagement at one of the theaters
? goes to Hollywood as the winner of a San Francisco dancing beauty contest
1 March 34 is given a 20th Century-Fox contract; she’s one of 24 gals and 10 young men
19 October 35 after two years of training in the stock school at 20th Century-Fox, she graduates today to featured player status when she is cast in an important role in King of Burlesque, with Warner Baxter, Alice Faye and Jack Oakie. She is the first of 14 girls in the stock school to be given this chance by Darryl F. Zanuck under the new studio setup.
7 November 35 Harrison Carroll announces: “Don't smile at this, for Arline Judge takes it too seriously. She has been appointed studio mother for three of Fox's under-age starlets. The girls requested her themselves, objecting to the usual social worker. They argue that Arline’s married and the mother of a child, but is still young enough to talk their language. Heh, heh, such a language. Anyway, Arline is now responsible for the welfare of Dixie Dunbar, Shirley Deane and Maxine Reiner.”
30 March 36 Movietown drug store owners are wailing over depleted revenues. As might have been expected, Jean Harlow crippled their peroxide trade when she let her celebrated platinum hair get rusty. Whether or not anybody will admit it, Miss Harlow led a lot of actresses—and no telling how many hundreds of extra girls—into blondness, and now she's leading them out again. The majority are acquiring that shade adroitly termed "brownette;" others have changed right back to their natural colors. Among those who already have darkened their hair are Carole Lombard, Ann Sothern. Bette Davis, Joan Blondell, Alice Faye, Astrid Allwyn, June Lang, Shirley Deane, and Glenda Farrell.
? for three years Deane went unnoticed in the Fox stock company, playing small parts. She darkened her hair and photographed much better. The result, a leading role.
36 attends the Fox stock school. She manages to take off the extra five pounds that Coach Lillian Barkley tells her to. Barkley weighs each of the actresses at the beginning of the week to make sure they gained no weight over the weekend.
5 April 36 is in a position to receive star rating, but she isn't enthusiastic about "art." It began when she was chosen from a dozen girls for the lead in the Twentieth Century-Fox production titled The First Baby. "I've been on this same lot under contract for the last three and a half years," she said, "and all I ever did was a bit of dancing and extra work. For three years I’ll bet nobody knew who I was except the other stock girls and the cashier. Then there was a hurry one day to get a girl to do a bit in Metropolitan. It was for a gag about a girl singing flat because she had had her tonsils out. That's the whole story of my career. You can see just how much serious work went into it. Opportunity and luck sometimes have something to do with advancement in this industry.”
6 June 36 is photographed for Gladys Glad, who has one of America’s most famous beauty columns
30 October 36 models a leopard coat
20 January 37 Lew Schriber, Fox casting director, says movie casting directors can learn more about their jobs by reading actors' fan mail than by watching box office cash registers, and he does just that. "The fans dictate what roles their favorite stars should play, and any director who deliberately ignores their wishes is running the risk of failure both for the picture and the star.” He said he and fans “type” Shirley Deane as everyone's big sister.
21 January 37 discloses her engagement to Russell Bowditch, sound technician, saying the wedding will take place in a few months. The couple have been seen together frequently during the last six months and the announcement that they are engaged was not unexpected. Bowditch hails from Minneapolis and has been in Hollywood several years.
28 January 37 studies for the opera
18 March 37 sings two songs over the radio for a Canadian toothpaste company. Studio executives like her voice so much they are planning on having her sing several numbers in her next picture.
25 March 37 for a hardboiled town, Hollywood sometimes indulges in the most quixotic sentiment. Thirty-three years ago, after he finished The Squaw Man, Jesse Lasky planted an acacia tree on the edge of the lemon grove at Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street. The studio moved to another location, but the tree has survived the encroachments of an electrical plant, an automotive service, a golf driving course, an auto trailer exchange and a sandwich stand. And every time he passed the corner Mr. Lasky admired it. The other day, however, he found it gone. The hours of a studio executive's day are pretty well filled, but Producer Lasky launched an investigation. He traced the acacia through a tree- moving concern and finally located it on the property of Shirley Deane in Beverly Hills. To her Lasky went with his story. He must have talked well for the tree now stands on Brentwood property owned by the producer. And Lasky is writing off a $450 charge to sentiment.
20 April 37 is welcomed home, the guest of a San Francisco store. She will open the replica of her dressing room built in the Women’s City club. Her appearance will be a feature of the advertisers’ show and beauty week of the Women’s City club.
29 May 37 Hollywood film colony notables gathers at Westwood Community Church for the wedding of June Lang, movie starlet, and Victor Orsatti, actor's agent — one of Hollywood's few romances that has not climaxed in an elopement. Miss Lang, former Minneapolis girl, is given away by Joseph Schenck, the producer. Her attendants are other young actresses. Jean Chatburn is matron of honor, and Alice Faye, Claire Trevor, Dixie Dunbar and Shirley Deane are bridesmaids.
20 June 37 likes to drive between Hollywood and San Francisco in her new Pontiac 8 convertible sedan
23 July 37 will finally have a chance to sing on screen. It was her voice that won her a movie contract, but up to now she has not warbled a note.
29 July 37 Paul Schoonmaker, Jr., writes: “When Shirley Deane stepped from a plane in Houston, Texas, where she had gone for a one-night appearance with Vincent Lopez and Band, she was met by a cavalcade of 125 cars all bearing members of the Shirley Deane fan club—It might be so, but it sounds a little like a press agent story to yours truly.”
8 August 37 isn’t telling who gave her that new car
17 August 37 Paul Schoonmaker, Jr., announces her good news: “Shirley Deane, 20th Century-Fox contract actress, moved several steps nearer stardom yesterday when chieftains of the studio assigned her to head the supporting cast in the new Jane Withers picture 45 Fathers.
21 August 37 is queen of the annual San Francisco Press Club Rukus, which is held aboard the SS Calstoga. The boat, bearing 1,500 celebrants and a host of celebrities, will cruise until shortly after midnight. There will be plenty of radio and nightclub acts and dancing.
5 September 37 gather around and listen to Dorothy Manners: “Director Al Green is telling his own three little pigs story this week. Seems Al was driving to his Pomona ranch the other day when he saw three little piglets wandering around in the road. Try as he would he couldn't find the owners, so he put them in his car and took them to his ranch. Later, in town he was telling Lloyd Bacon and Shirley Deane about them and a hot argument arose as to the proper care and feeding of porkers. Finally the trio bet $250 to be paid to the one who could raise the fattest pig within six months by his own pet system, and they each took one bacon bait home with them. Bet they all wind up with an apple in their mouths around Thanksgiving time.”
20 September 37 Harrison Carroll informs: “Shirley Deane, who'll wed Russell Bowditch of the M. G. M. sound department, has to marry Russell Gleason first in the new Jones Family picture. Twentieth Century-Fox is changing the script so the camera wedding will be in a garden, where the bride won't have to wear a veil. Shirley wants to save that thrill for the real ceremony.”
29 September 37 for a strange case of parallels, take the careers of June Lang and Shirley Deane, who have the important feminine roles in Nancy Steele Is Missing, 20th Century-Fox production. Both actresses were put under contract the same season, and both changed their names. June Vlasek became June Lang, and Shirley Aaronson became Shirley Deane. They both darkened their blonde tresses a shade, and they both began making sensational progress in their careers. Now they are both in the same picture, and both play the same character! That is, June is the real Nancy Steele, and Shirley pretends to be Nancy Steele until the deception is unmasked.
6 November 37 Charles G. Sampas writes a column on “What they remind us of.” “…Shirley Deane: the quintessence of all the world's femmes, from Bombay to Rangoon, from Iceland to Capetown, who bear the loveliest of femme-names: Shirley!...”
23 December 37 frequently players get badly twisted in their lines. In Love on a Budget, Shirley Deane twice said to Russell Gleason: "Hurry up and get breakfast while I shave.”
27 December 37 the way Paul Harrison tells it: “A visiting banker named Arthur H. Agnew was standing on a set the other day and was greatly surprised when Shirley Deane bounced up and kissed him resoundingly. This action, however, did not herald a reversal of Hollywood's attitude toward bankers. Miss Deane was even more surprised than Mr. Agnew. She had mistaken him for an uncle whom she hadn't seen in a long time.”
3 January 38 Winchell says she is being rushed by Diderot Rossiere, scion of the famously rich Parisian family
8 January 38 there’s a homey, quiet street in Los Angeles where members of the screen's popular Jones Family are not looked upon as movie actors but as friends and neighbors. Jed Prouty and Spring Byington who portray Dad and Mother Jones know most of the residents by name. George Ernest, June Carlson and Billy Mahan, the youngsters of the family, swap school stories with the neighborhood children. Shirley Deane, Russell Gleason and Kenneth Howell are friendly with the younger set, and Florence Roberts, who appears as Granny Jones, joins the elderly ladies of the block in their sewing circle. This particular street was chosen several years ago to represent a section of the mythical town of Maryville in which all the pictures in the series have taken place. One of the homes represents the Jones Family residence, a house selected for the purpose because, in architecture and general appearance, it possesses a feature characterizing it as belonging to any particular section of the United States. During each new picture the family spends several days at this residence. Recently they completed work on their latest film, Borrowing Trouble. The entire neighborhood gathered to watch the proceedings and during a change in scenes some of the neighbors produced some homemade cookies and lemonade.
8 March 38 the Jones Family of the movies may soon go on a personal appearance tour, most likely this summer
18 March 38 has invented a new game called “Quickie Producer.” Penalties include story conferences, relatives, and outbursts of temperament.
10 April 38 for the second time now she has bowed to the rigors of her screen career in missing a cherished Broadway debut. Now returned to California for a role in a new Jones Family film, she wails about it costing her a role in A Hop, Step and Jump. She had her part memorized and wardrobe fittings completed, all to no avail.
20 May 38 a photo of her modeling a bathing suit appears in papers across the country
30 June 38 she is profiled in the popular Movie Scrapbook column that appears in newspapers: “Engaged to Russell Bowditch, film technician, she has blonde hair and blue eyes, is 5’4”, danced in the chorus and in bits before a break in the movies. She weighs 105 lb. but photographs heavier. She enjoys collecting a library on the theater, likes to play piano and sing on the set between scenes, loves to cook, was discovered by movie scouts singing in café but has never sung on screen, loves to swim but has to be careful of sunburn.
19 September 38 Chatter in Hollywood: “A lot of us thought when Dorothy McNulty changed her name to Penny Singleton that she was being foolish, for she had established herself with the McNulty name. But with the new name came a new personality, and today Penny was put into the role of Blondie opposite Arthur Lake at Columbia. Shirley Deane, originally cast, isn't well enough to continue.”
26 October 38 has a candidate for the nerviest fan. Two young men rang her doorbell and announced themselves as admirers and asked if she would pose for pictures with them. After she complied, one of the gents wanted a photo taken of him with his arm around her. Said he, “I want to make my girlfriend jealous.”
1 November 38 Harrison Carroll: “Don't know whether you remember her—the Hollywood parade moves on so swiftly—but, about two-and-half years ago, Beulah Hutton was under contract to Universal. She was a beauty and had a chance at a career. Then came an auto accident that scarred her face. In course of time, she got a job as stand-in at 20th Century-Fox for Virginia Field, Shirley Deane and several others Well, the story has a happy ending. Time and surgery have removed the scars and Beulah is to get that rare thing, a second opportunity. She becomes an actress again in a new Jones Family picture.”
6 November 38 in the new Jones Family film Everybody's Baby, Shirley Deane said to Russell Gleason, “I have a surprise for you dear.” And for nine successive takes thereafter, Gleason heard the news and jittered about the stage in the manner of an expectant father. “So after doing that for a couple of hours yesterday," Gleason explains, "I left the studio and went home to my bride-of-a-year (the former Cynthia Hobart). And Cynthia met me at the door and said —you guessed it, 'I have a surprise for you, dear!' Honest, I almost fainted! How was I to know that it was just her first apple pie?"
27 July 39 tune in tonight at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time over the NBC-Red network as Bob Burns, the sage of Arkansas, continues in his role as host for the vacationing Bing Crosby. Shirley is featured along with actor Franchot Tone and Count Colito de Solis, Italian concert pianist
29 October 39 in reply to a newspaper interviewer’s question “Is real love necessary?” she says, "Maybe so. I had been reading love scenes and seeing romantic scenes on the screen and stage long before any one ever kissed me. That happens to most girls.”
19 November 39 her agent requests more pay for the Jones Family films. She has been a Jones Family fixture—often in the leading role—from the second film of the series. But this day at least, the producer, John Stone, is of a mind to do nothing about it. The budget again. "Reminds me," he said, "of the old story about the lion and the lamb who lived together in the same cage in a sideshow. Fellow came up to the keeper and wondered out loud about it, wanted to know how it was possible. Keeper said it was true, the lion and the lamb stayed there always. ‘Of course,' he said, 'sometimes we have to renew the lamb.' And it's the same way in these pictures. When we can't afford a certain player, we just have to renew the lamb.”
30 September 40 says Jimmie Fiddler: “George Tobias will tell you he hopes to wed Shirley Deane, who is thinking it over …”
15 October 40 Louella Parsons sets us straight: “George Tobias says he hasn't been having a romance with Shirley Deane. She is engaged to his good friend, Russell Bowditch.”
10 April 41 weds Ralph Thomas Kettering, Jr. He was born in Illinois in 1911 and will die on March 9, 1980.
4 December 41 appears at the Music Box in San Francisco, where Ivan Fehnova was brought in from New York to stage a new show.
14 June 42 presents her Stardust review at the Hershey Park Ballroom in Rain or Shine along with Bob White and his orchestra
17 June 42 appears at the Strand in Cumberland, Maryland, along with the Three Coeds, well-known New York musical comedy dancing sensation; Al Lee and Company, zany funsters; Jess Altmiller, novelty star of Hobby Lobby; Magda Loy, exotic dancer; and Bob White and his N.B.C. Airline Band sensation
41-42 appears on radio programs, including Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall and Lux Radio Theatre, and is featured for ten weeks with Al Pearce and his gang. Up until our government asked citizens to conserve their tires, she drove from appearance to appearance in her convertible to enjoy the outdoors and fresh air, dressed in slacks hard. Stuck inside theaters and in studios from dawn to dusk, she takes every opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. But now her auto has been put into storage, and she uses the train.
21-23 June 42 appears at the Kearse Theater in Charleston, South Carolina. She will sell war stamps and bonds in the lobby between shows.
22 September 42 for the war effort, she recruits stage and screen singers who will make and pay for new recordings of popular songs for entertainment hut use
6 November 42 overheard by her in a Hollywood late spot: First hatcheck girl: "Gee, I feel so sorry for those boys in uniform that I can't even accept a tip." Second hatcheck girl: "Yeah, I'll be so darned glad when this war is over so we can start clipping them all alike."
7 November 42 beauty column writer Lois Leeds: “Shirley Deane, who drops in at USO canteens and gives special shows for service men whenever she is on a personal appearance tour, finds cocoanut milk an effective hand lotion. And if that's not available, she’ll settle for a hand cream with avocado base that supplies victory vitamins for the skin.”
14 December 42 her husband, a former newspaperman, has written a screen story about a reporter who comes to Hollywood and marries a movie star
23 December 42 her theme song to the Hollywood servant shortage: “Home, home at the range…”
21 February 43 the Jones Family literally has been scattered to the wars. Spring Byington, who was the mother in the family film series, still is in Hollywood, and Jed Prouty, the father, is in a Broadway musical, but—Kenneth Howell, who played the eldest son, is in the navy. George Ernest — "Roger Jones" — is a photographer in the navy flying corps in North Africa. June Carlson, who played teenage "Lucy," is active in nurses' aid work. Shirley Deane, Russell Gleason and Billy Mahan — other members of the cast — still are in the film colony, while Florence Roberts who played "Granny," now is dead.
11-13 March 43 is at the State Theatre in Lowell, Massachusetts, along with radio’s original singing cowboy from station WBZ, Jack Dalton; Neil and Hutchie, dancing stars of Duke Ellington’s band; Vardo and Kenney, musical novelties; Bert Bertrand and Rita, comedy bits; and the three Halo Sisters, music in rhythm. It’s her first trip to Massachusetts.
18-20 March 43 performs at the Lyric Theatre in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. She prefers the stage because of the “lift” she gets from a real audience. “There’s nothing more heartening than the real enthusiasm of an army camp audience.”
19 April 43 she and husband Tom Kettering have a date with the stork late this summer
6-7 July 43 will appear at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wisconsin. Also on the bill are Clyde Lucas and his new orchestra, Lyn Lucas, Dave Barry (internationally famous comedian and mimic), and Patricia Ross (singer).
August 43 Louella announces that the stork will visit the Kettering family in September
15 September 43 her daughter, Shirley Deane Junior Kettering, is born in Chicago born at St. Luke’s Hospital. The proud papa is the New York rep for RKO Pictures.
13 July 44 is photographed with her daughter in Chicago. Little Shirley is only nine months old but takes an individual stance with the pencil and writes her first autograph for a fan, Private John Kemper.
29 September 44 can be seen at the Civic Theater in Chicago in That’s a Laff, a comedy stage hit. While there, she poses for a Fannie May candy add, “I Shirley do like Fannie May candy.”
24 November 47 Earl Wilson heralds her “the lovely singing accordionist at the Hotel Dixie's Terrace Room.”
8 December 47 Walter Winchell notices her: “Shirley Deane's accordeane-solos at the Dixie Terrace Room.”
13 December 47 Earl Wilson imparts: “Shirley Deane is some girl. The Navy awarded her an 'E'—for Everybody."
22 December 47 the military order of the Purple Heart is tossing a big Christmas party for disabled and hospitalized vets at the Henry Hudson Hotel. She will appear along with Harvey Stone, Peter Lind Hayes, Anne Francine, Frances Faye, and Irving fields.
2 May 52 her son, Ralph Thomas, is born in Los Angeles
14 May 52 Winchell announces it: “It’s a girl for the Tom Ketterings.”
22 August 57 her father, a resident of Canoga Park, California, dies at the Janice Rae sanatorium at Tujunga, California. He was a native of Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, born on January 20, 1884, a son of Abram and Mary (Williams) Blattenberger. Besides his daughter, he is survived by his wife, son Robert of Burbank, two sisters, and three grandchildren. Interment is at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale.
November 73 divorces Kettering in Riverside, California
26 April 83 as Shirley Kettering, she dies in Glendale, California
Altoona Mirror, Ames Daily Tribune-Times, Centralia Chronicle Advertiser, Charleston Gazette, Chester Times, Circleville Herald, Cumberland Evening Times, The Daily Hayward Review, Daily News, Dunkirk Evening Observer, The Edwardsville Intelligencer, Evening Independent, The Evening Standard, Fitchburg Sentinel, Frederick News-Post, Fresno Bee Republican, International Golden Valley News, Hammond Times, Kingsport News, Kingsport Times, Lebanon Daily News, Logansport Pharos-Tribune, Lowell Sun, Marysville Tribune, Middletown Times Herald, The Monessen Daily Independent, Oakland Tribune, Ogden Standard-Examiner, The Port Arthur News, Rhinelander Daily News, San Antonio Light, San Mateo Times, Syracuse Herald Journal, The Times, The Times Recorder, Tyrone Daily Herald, The Vidette-Messenger, Wisconsin State Journal, The Zanesville Signal,,
Recommended Books: