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Phyllis Kennedy

Phyllis Kennedy
Phyllis Kennedy in Love Affair.jpg
Kennedy in Love Affair (1939)
Born(1914-06-16)June 16, 1914
DiedDecember 29, 1998(1998-12-29) (aged 84)
Resting placeWestwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Years active1932–1968
Political partyRepublican
Paul Card Howell
(m. 1944; died 1994)

Phyllis Kennedy (June 16, 1914 – December 29, 1998) was an American film actress.

Early life

She was born on June 16, 1914 in Detroit, Michigan. Following her high school graduation in 1932, she got employment as a clothes model in a local department store. During her modeling period, one of her friends recommended that she try her hand at acting. She began her acting career on the New York stage in a small role in a 1935 production of Jane Eyre. Soon, she decided to try her hand in the film industry. Around 1935, she broke her back while dancing in a show in Denver and was told she would never dance again.[1] Two years later, she was able to dance again.[2]

Hollywood years

Kennedy was noticed by Ginger Rogers when she performed as a chorus girl in Shall We Dance?[3] She did some comedy dances for Rogers offstage, which impressed the other actress.[4][5] This relationship led to her being cast as a maid in Stage Door with Rogers and Katharine Hepburn.[3] She was eventually signed onto RKO Radio.[6] She then began getting parts in films playing dimwitted servants; most notably in such films as Vivacious Lady (1938), Mother Carey's Chickens (1938), Love Affair (1939), East Side of Heaven (1939), and Anne of Windy Poplars (1940).

Well into the 1940s Kennedy made over twenty film appearances although a lot of her film roles were uncredited. In later years she made appearances on shows like the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Missourians, and The Lone Ranger. She also appeared as an uncredited Cockney in the film My Fair Lady (1964). Her last screen appearance was in Finian's Rainbow in 1968 in an uncredited role.

Later years and personal life

Kennedy married to Paul Card Howell in 1944, they had 2 children. During her time in Hollywood, although she never elevated to real star status, she became friends with a great many reputable actors. They included: Lucille Ball, Katharine Hepburn, William Powell, James Stewart, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, James Cagney, Rosalind Russell, and Loretta Young.[citation needed]

Kennedy was a Methodist[7] and a registered Republican who supported Dwight Eisenhower's campaign during the 1952 presidential election.[8]

After her 1968 retirement, she continued to live comfortably in Los Angeles, CA for the remainder of her life. In her later years she took up painting, collected commemorative spoons, and she had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Dorian; she had a love for animals and when she was able she would make contributions to the Doris Day Animal League; Day was one of Kennedy's Hollywood friends. She had a deep love for letter writing and she would frequently write letters to her friends and relatives. Being able to "adjust to the times" she traded in her typewriter and learned how to use a computer which she would later own and type her letters from there with the help of a housekeeper who would show her how to adjust the margins for her Christmas letters.[citation needed]. Her cremains were scattered into the Garden of Roses at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.[9]

Partial filmography



  1. ^ "'Stage Door' House Maid Gets Break". The Tampa Tribune. December 5, 1937. p. 43. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  2. ^ "Windfall". Oakland Tribune. November 28, 1937. p. 44. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  3. ^ a b "Phyllis Kennedy, a chorus girl in". Chicago Tribune. June 11, 1937. p. 27. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  4. ^ "Chorine Phyllis Kennedy". Oakland Tribune. July 11, 1937. p. 56. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  5. ^ "Ginger Rogers has become the idol of Phyllis". The Sydney Morning Herald. August 24, 1937. p. 28. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  6. ^ a b "Phyllis Kennedy Signed for 'Vivacious Lady'". The Baltimore Sun. December 5, 1937. p. 51. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  7. ^ Morning News, January 10, 1948, Who Was Who in America (Vol. 2)
  8. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers
  9. ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 25047-25048). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
  10. ^ "Little Chorus Dancer Blooms as Comedienne". Hartford Courant. June 13, 1937. p. 19. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  11. ^ "Fay Bainter in 'Mother Carey's Chickens'". The Los Angeles Times. April 25, 1938. p. 11. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  12. ^ "Hippodrome". The Mercury. September 12, 1938. p. 6. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  13. ^ "Movieland Jottings and Castings". The Los Angeles Times. November 5, 1938. p. 25. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  14. ^ "The Movie Lots Beg to Report". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. March 7, 1939. p. 17. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  15. ^ Tinee, Mae (November 23, 1942). "It Seems Almost Certain Mae Didn't Like This Picture". Chicago Tribune. p. 20. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  16. ^ "Add to Cohan Film". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. December 30, 1941. p. 6. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  17. ^ AFI 1999, p. 68.
  18. ^ "House Maids Galore!". The Miami News. May 25, 1943. p. 4. Retrieved October 24, 2017 – via
  19. ^ AFI 1999, p. 711.
  20. ^ AFI 1999, p. 414-415.
  21. ^ AFI 1999, p. 544.


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Phyllis Kennedy
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