Binnie Barnes

Binnie Barnes

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Binnie Barnes
Film: West side of the 1500 block of Vine Street
Actress
Born Gitelle Gertrude Maude Barnes on March 25, 1903 in London, United Kingdom
Died July 27, 1998 in Los Angeles, CA

Binnie Barnes was considered one of the finest and most beautiful character actresses in Hollywood's glamour era of the 1930s and 1940s.

Appearing in more than 75 motion pictures, Barnes typically portrayed a vitriolic, wisecracking second lead or leading lady. She appeared with such stars as Errol Flynn, Cesar Romero, Louis Jourdan, Randolph Scott and John Wayne.

She made her British screen debut in 1929, appearing mostly in comedy shorts.

Barnes' major break came four years later when she was cast as Catherine Howard in "The Private Life of Henry VIII," for which Charles Laughton earned an Academy Award.

Success in "Henry" brought Barnes to Hollywood, where dozens of roles followed, including parts in "The Last of the Mohicans" with Scott in 1936 and "In Old California" with Wayne in 1942.

Barnes earned headlines for heroism in 1936 when, as the only actress present who could swim, she plunged into director William Wyler's pool to save a drowning guest.

After divorcing London art dealer Samuel Joseph, Barnes married Mike Frankovich, a Columbia Pictures production executive and later an independent producer. After World War II, she moved to Europe with Frankovich and appeared in several films he produced there, including "Decameron Nights" with Jourdan and "Fire Over Africa" with Maureen O'Hara and Macdonald Carey.

Barnes produced the Spanish film "Thunderstorm" in 1956. After that, she retired to the background to help Frankovich as an unpaid script reader and advisor and to devote herself to charities and Variety Clubs International.

Occasionally returning to the limelight at the request of friends, Barnes appeared on television's "Donna Reed Show" in the early 1960s and joined longtime colleagues Ida Lupino, Rosalind Russell and Mary Wickes for the 1966 film "The Trouble With Angels" and two sequels.

Her final film was "40 Carats" in 1973, in which she portrayed Liv Ullmann's mother. The film was produced by Frankovich.

"Frankly, I've never been mad about acting," she said then. "It just happened to be the only way I could make a living."

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