Bess Flowers

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Bess Flowers
Born (1898-11-23)November 23, 1898
Sherman, Texas, U.S.
Died July 28, 1984(1984-07-28) (aged 85)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1923-1964
Spouse(s) Cullen Tate (1923-1928) 1 daughter
William S. Holman (1929-1930)

Bess Flowers (November 23, 1898 – July 28, 1984) was an American actress. By some counts considered the most prolific actress in the history of Hollywood, she was known as "The Queen of the Hollywood Extras," appearing in over 700 movies in her 41 year career.

Born in Sherman, Texas, Flowers's movie debut came in 1923, when she appeared in a movie titled Hollywood. She made three movies in that year, and then began working extensively, with seven movies in 1926 alone. Most of her appearances are uncredited, as she generally played non-speaking roles.

By the 1930s, Flowers was in constant demand. Her appearances ranged from Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford thrillers to comedic roles alongside of Charley Chase, the Three Stooges, Leon Errol, Edgar Kennedy and Laurel and Hardy.

Along with actors Wallis Clark and Franklyn Farnum, she holds the record for the most appearances in movies which have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. She appeared in the following five Academy Award Best Picture winners: It Happened One Night, You Can't Take it With You, All About Eve, The Greatest Show on Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days. In each of these movies, Flowers was uncredited. Including these five movies, she had appeared in twenty-three Best Picture nominees in total, which is another record high. Her last movie was Good Neighbor Sam in 1964.

The twenty-three best picture nominees in which she appeared: It Happened One Night (1934), Anthony Adverse (1936), Dodsworth (1936), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), The Awful Truth (1937), In Old Chicago (1937), One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937), You Can't Take It with You (1938), Love Affair (1939), Ninotchka (1939), Heaven Can Wait (1943), Watch on the Rhine (1943), Double Indemnity (1944), Mildred Pierce (1945), The Razor's Edge (1946), All About Eve (1950), Father of the Bride (1950), A Place in the Sun (1951), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), The Robe (1953), Around the World in 80 Days (1956), Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961).

Flowers also appeared in twelve films starring Joan Crawford from 1929 until 1956.

Flowers's acting career was not confined to feature films. She was also seen in many episodic American TV series, such as I Love Lucy, notably in episodes, 'Lucy Is Enceinte' (1952), 'Ethel's Birthday' (1955), and 'Lucy's Night in Town' (1957), where she is usually seen as a theatre patron.

Personal life[edit]

Bess Flowers was first married on September 2, 1923, in Ventura County, California, to Cullen Tate (1894–1947), an assistant to Cecil B. DeMille. They were divorced in 1928 in Los Angeles. Her second marriage took place on August 5, 1929, in Los Angeles, to William S. Holman (1895–1962). They were divorced in 1930 in Los Angeles.

She and Tate had one child, Patricia E. Tate (January 29, 1924–August 1, 1972).

Bess Flowers died at age 85 in Woodland Hills, California. She was cremated and her cremains inurned at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory, Los Angeles.

See also[edit]

Selected filmography[edit]

External links[edit]