July 18, 1915
Boise, Idaho, U.S.
|Died||August 1, 1995
Cape Neddick, Maine, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Torbert H. Macdonald (m. 1945–76)|
Phyllis Brooks (July 18, 1915 – August 1, 1995) was an American actress and model. Brooks was born Phyllis Seiler in Boise, Idaho. She began her career in films at age 20, and had been known as the "Ipana Toothpaste Girl" due to her work as a model. Brooks, who had about 30 performances in films, was a B-movie leading lady during the 1930s and 1940s, with roles in such films as In Old Chicago (1937), Little Miss Broadway (1938) and the Shanghai Gesture (1941). In the late 1930s, she dated Cary Grant, who called her Brooksie, and rumors that the two would be married were circulated. Brooks, something of a socialite, also dated Howard Hughes.
She was reported (UK Sunday Telegraph December 1942) as being president of Parties Unlimited Inc. in an article about Hollywood at war. Along with fellow actress Una Merkel, and accompanied by noted actor Gary Cooper, Brooks was the first civilian woman to travel to the Pacific theater of war during World War II, on a USO tour. She was married to Torbert Macdonald, an 11-term Massachusetts Congressman who was John F. Kennedy's roommate at Harvard University, and who remained a close friend and confidant throughout his life. She moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts with her new husband in 1945 so he could complete his Harvard Law degree. Congressman Macdonald had been a Harvard football captain and a decorated PT boat captain in World War II. He died in office in 1976.
Brooks continued performing in summer stock theater after her marriage, and hosted the first television interview program in Boston in the early 1950s (on WBZ-TV). She retired from public performances after that, concentrating on raising her family. The couple had four children, the eldest of whom was President Kennedy's godson. She died on August 1, 1995 in Cape Neddick, Maine at the age of 80.
- Another Face (1935)
- In Old Chicago (1937)
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938)
- Little Miss Broadway (1938)
- Up the River (1938)
- Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938)
- Charlie Chan in Reno (1939)
- Lucky to Me (1939)
- Slightly Honorable (1939)
- The Flying Squad (1940)
- The Shanghai Gesture (1941)
- No Place for a Lady (1943)
- Silver Spurs (1943)
- Lady in the Dark (1944)
- Dangerous Passage (1944)
- High Powered (1945)
- The Unseen (1945)
- McCann, Graham. Cary Grant: a Class Act, p. 130. Columbia University Press, 1998.
- Brown, Peter Harry & Pat H. Broeske. Howard Hughes: The Untold Story. Page 100. Da Capo Press, 2004.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Phyllis Brooks.|
- Phyllis Brooks at the Internet Movie Database
- Phyllis Brooks at AllMovie
- Phyllis Brooks at the Internet Broadway Database
- Photos of Phyllis Brooks from The Shanghai Gesture by Ned Scott