Elyse Knox, Yank magazine, 1943
|Born||Elsie Lillian Kornbrath
December 14, 1917
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||February 16, 2012
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, model, fashion designer|
|Spouse(s)||Paul Hesse (1942–1943; divorced)
Tom Harmon (1944–1990; his death)
Elyse Knox (December 14, 1917 – February 16, 2012) was an American actress, model, and fashion designer.
Knox was born Elsie Lillian Kornbrath in Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of Austrian immigrants Minnie and Frederick Kornbrath. She studied at the Traphagen School of Fashion in Manhattan, then embarked on a career in fashion design. Her good looks enabled her to model some of her own creations for Vogue magazine that led to a contract offer from Twentieth Century Fox film studio in 1937.
Knox performed mainly in minor or secondary roles until 1942 when she had a leading role with Lon Chaney, Jr. in The Mummy's Tomb, one of the series of Mummy horror films made by Universal Studios. She appeared as herself in the Universal Studios 1944 production Follow the Boys, one of the World War II morale-booster films made both for the soldiers serving overseas as well as civilians at home. Knox also was a pin up girl during the war, appearing in such magazines as Yank, a weekly published and distributed by the United States Military. In late 1945, Knox was signed by Monogram Pictures to portray Anne Howe, the love interest of fictional boxer Joe Palooka in Joe Palooka, Champ. Based on the very popular comic strip, the instant success of the May 1946 film led to Knox appearing in another five Joe Palooka productions. After acting in 39 films, Knox retired in 1949 following her performance in the musical film, There's a Girl in My Heart.
While appearing on the Bing Crosby radio show, she met football star Tom Harmon. They were engaged to marry, but ended the relationship when Harmon entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942. Later that year, Knox married fashion photographer Paul Hesse who had shot many of her print ads and magazine covers. The marriage was brief. Following her divorce and Harmon's return from World War II (during which he survived two plane crashes and being lost in the jungle), she and Harmon married in 1944. Knox's wedding dress was made from silk from the parachute Harmon used when bailing out of his plane. After Harmon's demobilization, they settled in the Los Angeles area.
The couple had three children: Kristin (born 1945), Kelly (born 1948) and Mark (born 1951). Kristin became an actress and painter who at seventeen married recording artist Ricky Nelson and bore four children: Tracy, twins Gunnar and Matthew, and Sam. Kelly, a model turned interior designer, was once married to automaker John DeLorean and has two daughters and a son and two other stepchildren. Mark is a film and television actor, best known for NCIS, and has two sons with wife Pam Dawber.
|1937||Wake Up and Live||Nurse||uncredited|
|1940||Lillian Russell||Lillian Russell's Sister||performer: "Brighten the Corner Where You Are"|
|1940||Youth Will Be Served||Pamela|
|1940||Yesterday's Heroes||Undetermined role||uncredited|
|1940||Girl from Avenue A||Angela|
|1940||Girl in 313||Judith Wilson|
|1940||Free, Blonde and 21||Marjorie|
|1941||Miss Polly||Barbara Snodgrass|
|1941||Tanks a Million||Jeannie|
|1941||Sheriff of Tombstone||Mary Carson|
|1941||Footlight Fever||Eileen Drake|
|1942||The Mummy's Tomb||Isobel Evans|
|1942||Top Sergeant||Helen Gray|
|1942||Hay Foot||Betty Barkley|
|1943||Hi'ya, Sailor||Pat Rogers|
|1943||So's Your Uncle||Patricia Williams|
|1943||Hit the Ice||Nurse Peggy Osborne|
|1943||Mister Big||Alice Taswell|
|1943||Keep 'Em Slugging||Suzanne|
|1943||Don Winslow of the Coast Guard||Mercedes Colby|
|1944||Army Wives||Jerry Van Dyke|
|1944||A Wave, a WAC and a Marine||Marian|
|1944||Moonlight and Cactus||Louise Ferguson|
|1944||Follow the Boys||Herself|
|1946||Sweetheart of Sigma Chi||Betty Allen|
|1946||Gentleman Joe Palooka||Anne Howe|
|1946||Joe Palooka, Champ||Anne Howe|
|1947||Linda Be Good||Linda Prentiss|
|1947||Joe Palooka in the Knockout||Anne Howe|
|1947||Black Gold||Ruth Frazer|
|1948||Joe Palooka in Winner Take All||Anne Howe|
|1948||I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes||Ann Quinn|
|1948||Joe Palooka in Fighting Mad||Anne Howe|
|1949||There's a Girl in My Heart||Claire Adamson|
|1949||Joe Palooka in the Counterpunch||Anne Howe|
|1949||Forgotten Women||Kate Allison|
|1953||I Was a Burlesque Queen||Linda Prentiss||archive footage|
|1999||Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed||Isobel Evans||archive footage|
- 1920 US Census, Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut
- Time, 28 August 1944.
- "Elyse Knox dies at 94; B-movie actress in the 1940s", Los Angeles Times, 19 February 2012.
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