Georgine Darcy

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Georgine Darcy
Georgine Darcy 1960.JPG
Darcy in 1960
Born Georgine Darcy
(1931-01-14)January 14, 1931
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died July 18, 2004(2004-07-18) (aged 73)
Malibu, California, USA
Cause of death
Natural Causes
Nationality American
Other names "Miss Torso"
Occupation Dancer, Actor
Spouse(s) Byron Palmer

Georgine Darcy (January 14, 1931 – July 18, 2004) was an American dancer and actress best known for her role as "Miss Torso" in the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film Rear Window. She also had a regular role in the 1960–1961 ABC sitcom Harrigan and Son.

Born in Brooklyn, Darcy's mother urged her to become a stripper to make a "fast buck".[1] Instead, she became a dancer, dancing with the New York City Ballet,[2] and a model. At age 16, she left home and traveled by bus to California.[1]

She was only 17 when she was cast in Rear Window. (If she was born in. 1931, then in 1954, when the movie was done, she would have been 23.) She did not even know who Hitchcock was and did not consider herself an actress. Hitchcock had selected her based on a publicity photo of her wearing a black leotard and green feather boa.[3] In Rear Window, she played one of the neighbors of protagonist L. B. Jeffries (Jimmy Stewart), a wheelchair-bound photographer who passes the time spying on the other tenants of his apartment building. Her nameless character, who was dubbed "Miss Torso", practiced her dance moves in a skimpy top and a pair of pink shorts with a 21-inch waistband, courtesy of famed costume designer Edith Head.[3][4] She had no lines in the film.[4]

During filming, Hitchcock asked her what kinds of pie she liked and disliked. She told him she loathed pumpkin pie. When it came time to film her character's reaction to finding a strangled dog, he presented her with pumpkin pie served with "crude Cockney jokes" to prompt an adverse response.[5] On the last day of filming, which was also her 18th birthday, Hitchcock and some of the cast presented her with a cake in the shape of her voluptuous figure. "It had the breasts and everything!" she said.[2]

Hitchcock told Darcy that she should get an agent and that if she studied Anton Chekov in Europe, he could make her a movie star when she returned. She ignored both pieces of advice and thought he was joking about the latter. She was only paid $350 for her work in Rear Window and had a sporadic acting career.[3] Her most substantive role was in the Chubby Checker film Don't Knock the Twist (1962). She played Madge Albright, a "dancing firestorm" who is part of a brother-sister dance team.[6] She also appeared in the films Women and Bloody Terror (1969) and The Delta Factor (1970).[3]

On television, she played Gypsy, an irreverent secretary for the title father-son team of laywers in Harrigan and Son, played by Pat O'Brien and Roger Perry. She also had guest appearances on Lee Marvin's M Squad, the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse and Mike Connors's Mannix.[3]

Darcy was the subject of the 2004 documentary short film Remembering Miss Torso by director Malcolm Venville.[7]

She died of natural causes and was survived by her husband of thirty years, actor Byron Palmer.[3] She was said to be the last surviving credited cast member of Rear Window.[2] However, Frank Cady, who appeared as the Thorwalds' upstairs neighbor, survived until 2012 and Harry Landers, who played Miss Lonelyheart's suitor, is alive as of 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Obituary of Georgine Darcy Dancer and model who was an object of James Stewart's voyeuristic interest in Hitchcock's classic thriller Rear Window". The Daily Telegraph. July 22, 2004. p. 25. 
  2. ^ a b c Seiler, Andy (February 4, 2000). "'Window' of opportunity for body of work". USAToday. pp. 3E. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Oliver, Myrna (July 21, 2004). "Miss Torso in Rear Window: Ex-ballerina played across-the-court dancer in Hitchcock thriller". Montreal Gazette. Los Angeles Times. pp. C7. 
  4. ^ a b "Poncho Sanchez's 'Latin Soul'; Ashley Judd Tries to Catch Your Eye in 'Eye of the Beholder'; The Push Toward Male Entertainment". Showbiz Today. CNN. January 27, 2000. 
  5. ^ Spoto, Donald. Spellbound by beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and his leading ladies. Random House. p. 211. 
  6. ^ Miller, John M. "Don't Knock the Twist". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  7. ^ Bearn, Emily (June 13, 2004). "View from the room Georgine Darcy played the dancer living opposite Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window. Then the curtains fell on her career. Now Malcolm Venville, a lifelong Hitchcock fan, has made her the focus of a documentary. Emily Bearn meets 'Miss Torso'". Sunday Telegraph. 

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