McIntyre in 1948
|Born||Christine Cecilia McIntyre
April 16, 1911
Nogales, Arizona, U.S.
|Died||July 8, 1984
Van Nuys, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City|
|Alma mater||Chicago Musical College (Bachelor of Music, 1933)|
|Spouse(s)||John Donald Wilson
(m. 1953; his death 1984)
Christine Cecilia McIntyre (April 16, 1911 – July 8, 1984) was an American actress and singer who appeared in various films in the 1930s and 1940s. She is mainly remembered as the beautiful blonde actress who appeared in many of The Three Stooges shorts produced by Columbia Pictures.
A native of Nogales, Arizona, Christine McIntyre was one of five children. A classically trained singer, McIntyre received a Bachelor of Music degree at Chicago Musical College in 1933. It was here that she developed her operatic soprano voice, which would be put to good use in several Three Stooges films in the 1940s. McIntyre began singing in feature films at RKO Pictures, and made her film debut in 1937's Swing Fever. She then appeared in a series of B-westerns featuring the likes of Ray Corrigan and Buck Jones. She appeared with dark hair in these early roles, and also appeared occasionally in "mainstream" feature films (like 1939's Blondie Takes a Vacation). She sang songs such as "The Blue Danube" and "Voices of Spring" in a Vienna-themed short Soundies musical film, and her performance was singled out as the best of the inaugural series. Her singing in this soundie may have given the Three Stooges the idea of using "Voices of Spring" in their short film Micro-Phonies.
The Three Stooges and Columbia Pictures
It was in 1944 that Columbia Pictures producer Hugh McCollum signed Christine McIntyre to a decade-long contract. During her time at Columbia, she appeared in many short subjects starring Shemp Howard, Andy Clyde, Joe Besser, Bert Wheeler, and Hugh Herbert. The Herbert comedy Wife Decoy is actually a showcase for McIntyre, who is the principal character. In this film, she appears as a brunette who dyes her hair blonde. From then on in her screen appearances, she remained a blonde. In all of her Columbia comedies she demonstrated a capable range, playing charming heroines, scheming villains, and flighty socialites equally well.
McIntyre's association with the Three Stooges would become her most memorable. Her debut appearance with the team was in Idle Roomers, followed by a solo Shemp Howard short, Open Season For Saps. McIntyre's singing voice was featured prominently in 1945's Micro-Phonies, as she sang both "Voices of Spring" and "Lucia Sextet." She would again sing "Lucia Sextet" three years later in Squareheads of the Round Table and its 1954 remake, Knutzy Knights.
In the story, Shemp had a few hours in which to get married if he wanted to inherit his uncle's fortune. He called on Christine McIntyre, who mistook him for her cousin (Basil) and greeted him with hugs and kisses. Then the real cousin phoned and she accused Shemp of kissing her, as it were, under false pretenses. At this point, she was supposed to slap Shemp around. Lady that she was, Chris couldn't do it right; she dabbed at him daintily, afraid of hurting him. After a couple of bad takes, Shemp pleaded with her. 'Honey,' he said, 'if you want to do me a favor, cut loose and do it right. A lot of half-hearted slaps hurts more than one good one. Give it to me, Chris, and let's get it over with.' Chris got up her courage and on the next take, let Shemp have it. 'It' wound up as a whole series of slaps—the timing was beautiful; they rang out like pistol shots. Shemp was knocked into a chair, bounced up, met another ringing slap, fell down again, scrambled up, trying to explain, only to get another stinging slap. Then Chris delivered a haymaker—a right that knocked Shemp through the door. When the take was over, Shemp was groggy, really groggy. Chris put her arms around him and apologized tearfully. 'It's alright, honey,' Shemp said painfully. 'I said you should cut loose and you did. You sure as hell did!'
Producer McCollum and director Bernds recognized Christine McIntyre's abilities, and often tailored material especially for her, allowing her to improvise as she saw fit.
McIntyre also won a feature-film contract with Monogram Pictures. After playing a newspaper publisher in News Hounds, a comedy with The Bowery Boys, she usually played opposite Monogram's cowboy stars in low-budget Westerns. Her attractive features belied that she was close to 40 years of age at the time, much more mature than the conventional ingenue.
McIntyre married radio personality John Donald Wilson in 1953. By this time, her mentors Hugh McCollum and Edward Bernds had left Columbia, leaving Jules White in charge of short subjects. White favored strenuous, extremely physical humor, and forced the ladylike McIntyre to submit to low comedy; in a single film, her character was tackled, hit with messy projectiles, covered with cake batter, and knocked into a cross-eyed stupor. When her contract at Columbia expired in 1954, she was all too happy to retire from show business, eventually developing a career in real estate. Columbia continued to use old footage of McIntyre through 1960, which is why she received billing in films made after her retirement.
Wilson's sudden death from a heart attack on January 26, 1984 at age 79 took its toll on McIntyre. She was already suffering from cancer at the time of his passing, and his death worsened her illness. McIntyre died in Van Nuys, California on July 8, 1984, at age 73, six months after her husband. The two are interred in the same plot at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. They had no children.
Filmography with The Three Stooges
- Idle Roomers (1944)
- No Dough Boys (1944)
- Three Pests in a Mess (1945)
- Micro-Phonies (1945)
- The Three Troubledoers (1946)
- Three Little Pirates (1946)
- Out West (1947)
- Brideless Groom (1947)
- All Gummed Up (1947)
- Shivering Sherlocks (1948)
- Tall, Dark and Gruesome (1948)
- Squareheads of the Round Table (1948)
- The Hot Scots (1948)
- Crime on Their Hands (1948)
- Who Done It? (1949)
- Fuelin' Around (1949)
- Super Wolf (1949)
- Vagabond Loafers (1949)
- Punchy Cowpunchers (1950)
- Hugs and Mugs (1950)
- Dopey Dicks (1950)
- Love at First Bite (1950)
- Three Hams on Rye (1950)
- Studio Stoops (1950)
- Bubble Trouble (1953) (stock footage)
- Pals and Gals (1954)
- Knutzy Knights (1954)
- Scotched in Scotland (1954)
- Of Cash and Hash (1955)
- Hot Ice (1955) (stock footage)
- Husbands Beware (1956) (stock footage)
- For Crimin' Out Loud (1956) (stock footage)
- Hot Stuff (1956) (stock footage)
- Scheming Schemers (1956) (stock footage)
- Fifi Blows Her Top (1958) (stock footage)
- Stop! Look! and Laugh! (1960) (stock footage)