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Jessie Matthews (1907-1981)

  1. Eleanor Powell, Born To Dance, 1936.    When Ted met Nora… Ted was a toss-up between Allan Jones, George Murphy and the surprise winner, James Styewart (sinbging, undubbed, for his supper). Nora was aimed at Judy and the UK’s Dancing Divinity, Jessie Matthews… but her studio, Gaumont-British had no wish to lose another home-made star to Hollywood.
  2. Joan Fontaine, A Damsel In Distress, 1937.    RKO refused when the bra-less wonder of British filmusicals requested Fred Astaire for her Evergreen, 1934. So she refused RKO when it asked her to be PG Wodehouse’s perfect Lady Alyce - as you could almost see, that was literally tit for tat!   A stupid revenge! Was Jessie the only person on the planet who  didn’t  know that Fred  was searching for his new Ginger.  He checked Betty Grable, Ruby Keeler, Carole Lombard and chose Fontaine . She later joked that the musical “set my career back four years.”  She just couldn’t dance!

 





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