Lorna Gray

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Lorna Gray
Lorna Gray Federal Operator 99 02 (cropped).jpg
Gray in Federal Operator 99, 1945
Born Virginia Pound
(1917-07-26)July 26, 1917
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
Died April 30, 2017(2017-04-30) (aged 99)
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
Other names Lorna Gray, Adrian Booth, Adrian Brian, Adrian Booth Brian
Occupation Actress
Years active 1937–1951
Spouse(s) David Brian (1949–1993; his death)
Signature
LG-Signature-ABB.png

Lorna Gray (July 26, 1917 – April 30, 2017) was an American film actress known for her comic roles, and later as a villainess. She is best known for her roles in Columbia Pictures comedy shorts and Republic Pictures serials. She was known as Adrian Booth since 1945.

Early years[edit]

Gray was born Virginia Pound in Grand Rapids, Michigan.[1] After her father's millinery business was a victim of the Great Depression, the family split up. Before appearing in films, Gray sang with a group in Cleveland called Ben Yost's Varsity Coeds, who performed primarily in movie theaters before the movie began.[2]

Career[edit]

Although she had a film test at Universal Studios and a brief contract with Paramount Pictures, she made her first big film for Columbia Pictures.

As a Columbia contract player she appeared in the studio's shorts and serials, including Flying G-Men (starring Robert Paige), Pest from the West (starring Buster Keaton), and You Nazty Spy! (starring The Three Stooges). When her Columbia contract lapsed, she found work at Monogram Pictures, where she worked with action star Frankie Darro.[3]

Gray also starred opposite John Wayne in Red River Range (1938) and appeared in the title role in O, My Darling Clementine (1943), a country music film starring Roy Acuff as a singing sheriff.[4]

In her Paramount films, such as Hold 'Em Navy, she was credited as Virginia Pound, but she was given the name Lorna Gray by Columbia and she used it from 1938 until 1945, when she left Columbia and moved to Republic Pictures. She appeared as Lorna Gray in Republic's Federal Operator 99, but subsequently adopted the name Adrian Booth.[5]

At Republic, she often received co-star billing in Westerns, the only woman other than Dale Evans to be billed so highly at that studio.[2] She also starred in Republic's serial about the comic book superhero Captain America.

Personal life[edit]

In 1945, shortly after signing a contract with Republic Pictures, she and the stunt performer Ruel F. Taylor were arrested for "suspicion of possessing marijuana in Los Angeles." A $1,000 bail set her free.[6] She was later exonerated after Taylor testified at his preliminary hearing that Gray had not used the marijuana and was not aware of it.[7]

She married actor David Brian[8] on July 19, 1949,[2] and retired from motion pictures. As Adrian Booth, she was awarded the Golden Boot Award in 1998 and attended film festivals into her nineties.[5] She appeared as a guest at the annual Three Stooges convention held in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, on April 30, 2011.

Death[edit]

Gray died in Sherman Oaks, California, less than three months shy of her 100th birthday.[9][10]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role
1937 Hold 'Em Navy Girl
Thrill of a Lifetime Chorus girl
1938 The Big Broadcast of 1938 Divorcee
Adventure in Sahara Carla Preston
Red River Range Jane Mason
Smashing the Spy Ring Anna Loring
1939 The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt Girl Michael runs into in nightclub
Flying G-Men Babs McKay
Outside These Walls Secretary
Missing Daughters Nan
Good Girls Go to Paris Bridesmaid
Coast Guard Uncredited
The Man They Could Not Hang Janet Savaard
Those High Grey Walls Nurse
Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise (short) May Jenkins
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Woman at station
The Amazing Mr. Williams Nurse
Three Sappy People (short) Sherry Rumsford
The Stranger From Texas Jean Browning
1940 Cafe Hostess Cafe hostess
You Nazty Spy! (Short) Mattie Herring
Convicted Woman Frankie Mason
Bullets for Rustlers Ann Houston
Rockin' thru the Rockies (Short) Flossie
Deadwood Dick Anne Butler
Up in the Air Rita Wilson
Drums of the Desert Helene Laroche
1941 Father Steps Out Helen Matthews
Tuxedo Junction Joan Gordon
1942 Perils of Nyoka Vultura
Ridin' Down the Canyon Barbara Joyce
1943 So Proudly We Hail! Lt. Tony Dacelli
O, My Darling Clementine Clementine Cheshire
1944 Captain America Gail Richards
The Girl Who Dared Ann Carroll
1945 Adventures of Kitty O'Day Gloria Williams
Fashion Model Yvonne Brewster
Federal Operator 99 Rita Parker
Tell It to a Star Mona St. Clair
Dakota Entertainer
1946 Home on the Range Bonnie Garth
Valley of the Zombies Susan Drake
Man from Rainbow Valley Kay North
Daughter of Don Q Dolores Quantero
Out California Way Gloria McCoy
1947 Last Frontier Uprising Mary Lou Garnder
Spoilers of the North Jane Koster
Along the Oregon Trail Sally Dunn
Exposed Judith Bentry
Under Colorado Skies Julia Collins
1948 Lightnin' in the Forest Dell Parker
California Firebrand Joyce Mason
Texas Gunfighters Connie Faulkner
The Plunderers Julie Ann McCabe
1949 The Last Bandit Kate Foley
Hideout Betty/Hannah Kelly
Brimstone Molly Bannister
1950 Rock Island Trail Aleeta
The Savage Horde Livvy Weston
1951 Oh! Susanna Lia Wilson
Yellow Fin Jean Elliott
The Sea Hornet Ginger Sullivan

References[edit]

  1. ^ Neill, Frank (February 9, 1950). "In Hollywood". Long Beach Independent. California, Long Beach. International News Service. p. 24. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ a b c Magers, Boyd; Fitzgerald, Michael G. (2004). Westerns Women: Interviews with 50 Leading Ladies of Movie and Television Westerns from the 1930s to the 1960s. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 45–52. ISBN 9780786420285. 
  3. ^ "Adrian Booth biography". Republic Pictures 75th. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Lorna Gray/Adrian Booth". B-Westerns. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Yo, Adrian! Adrian Booth at the Memphis Film Festival" The Blood-shot Eye (2007)
  6. ^ "Virginia Pound, 1936 Bud Queen, Arrested On Marijuana Charge". Benton Harbor News Palladium. March 6, 1945. p. 1. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Actress Exonerated in Marijuana Case". The Bakersfield Californian. California, Bakersfield. Associated Press. March 7, 1945. p. 1. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ Fidler, Jimmie (October 2, 1949). "In Hollywood With Jimmie Fidler". Louisiana, Monroe. Monroe Morning World. p. 4. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ Barnes, Mike (May 3, 2017). "Lorna Gray, Queen of Shorts and Serials at Columbia and Republic Pictures, Dies at 99". The Hollywood Reporter. ISSN 0018-3660. 
  10. ^ Staff, Legacy.com (May 1, 2017). "Adrian Booth (1917 - 2017)". Retrieved May 3, 2017. 

External links[edit]