Billie Seward

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Billie Seward
Billie Seward-Jeff York in Li'l Abner.jpg
Billie Seward and Jeff York in Li'l Abner (1940)
Born Rita Ann Seward
(1912-10-23)October 23, 1912
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died March 20, 1982(1982-03-20) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1934 - 1944
Spouse(s) William Wilkerson (1935-1938)

Billie Seward (October 23, 1912 – March 20, 1982)[1] was a 1930s motion picture actress from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2]


In 1934 Seward was linked romantically to actor Lyle Talbot.[3] She married William Wilkerson, owner of the Trocadero (Los Angeles) and Ciro's, on September 30, 1935. Wilkerson was also the owner and publisher of The Hollywood Reporter.[4] The couple separated in February 1937 but reconciled. Seward renewed a divorce suit against Wilkerson in March 1938, using her legal name Rita Ann Wilkerson.[5]

Film actress[edit]

Seward performed with Lou Holtz at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel Gold Room in December 1933.[6]

She obtained a contract with Columbia Pictures following a three-month stay in Hollywood. Seward starred with Richard Cromwell in the 1934 Columbia production of Among the Missing.[7] Wallace Ford joined Seward and Cromwell in Hot News, which was eventually titled Men of the Hour (1935).

She was in three western films written by Ford Beebe in 1935. The titles are Law Beyond the Range, The Revenge Rider, and Justice of the Range. Colonel Tim McCoy, Ward Bond, and Ed LeSaint were among her fellow actors.[8] In One Crowded Night (1940) Seward plays Gladys. This RKO film is critiqued by Bosley Crowther who called it "a routine multi-plot melodrama, Grand Hotel reduced to a tourist camp."[9]

Court litigation[edit]

In August 1951, an appointment for a receiver for The Hollywood Reporter was requested in a suit filed by film director Thomas Seward against Wilkerson, publisher of the trade periodical. Seward contended that in 1944 he advanced $228,000 in partnership with Wilkerson, who put up $372,000. The suit stipulated that profits would be divided 62 percent for Wilkerson and 38 percent for Seward. He was the brother of Billie Seward. Thomas Seward charged that Wilkerson took sole possession of the business and its assets in June 1951. Seward asked for the sale of the business, a division of assets, and $150,000 in damages.[10]


Seward died in Sherman Oaks, California, in 1982. She was survived by four brothers and two sisters. Her funeral mass was conducted from St. Cyrils Church in Encino, California, and she was buried in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.[1]



  1. ^ a b "Death Notices". Los Angeles Times. March 23, 1982. p. SD_A2. 
  2. ^ "Changeable Coat Latest Novelty". Los Angeles Times. February 12, 1934. p. 8. 
  3. ^ Hobnobbing In Hollywood, Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1934, pg. 6.
  4. ^ "Film Player To Be Bride". Los Angeles Times. September 29, 1935. p. 1. 
  5. ^ "Billie Seward Revives Suit". Los Angeles Times. March 2, 1938. p. A8. 
  6. ^ Hobnobbing in Hollywood, Los Angeles Times, December 16, 1933, pg. A7.
  7. ^ "Screen Notes". New York Times. July 9, 1934. p. 18. 
  8. ^ "The Star: In Composite". New York Times. May 19, 1935. p. X4. 
  9. ^ "The Screen". New York Times. August 27, 1940. p. 17. 
  10. ^ "Receiver Asked for Movie Daily". Los Angeles Times. August 11, 1951. p. B5. 

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