Hagen in 1955
|Born||Jean Shirley Verhagen
August 3, 1923
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||August 29, 1977
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||esophageal cancer|
|Spouse(s)||Tom Seidel (m. 1947–1965; divorced) 2 children|
|Children||Christine Patricia (b. 1950)
Aric Phillip (1952-2012)
Jean Hagen (August 3, 1923 – August 29, 1977) was an American actress best known for her role as Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain (1952), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Hagen was also nominated three times for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Margaret Williams on the television series Make Room For Daddy.
Hagen was born as Jean Shirley Verhagen[a] in Chicago, to Christian Verhagen (born August 10, 1890 – died April 1983), a Dutch immigrant, and his Chicago-born wife, Marie. The family moved to Elkhart, Indiana, when she was 12 and she subsequently graduated from Elkhart High School. She studied drama at Northwestern University, where she was a roommate of actress Patricia Neal. She graduated from Northwestern in 1945. She also worked as a theater usherette.
Hagen began her show business career in radio in the 1940s, performing in Light of the World, Hollywood Story, and other programs. Using her maiden name (Jean Verhagen), she played Betty Webster on Those Websters.
Film and television
Her film debut was as a comical femme fatale in the Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn classic, Adam's Rib, directed by the iconic George Cukor in 1949. The Asphalt Jungle (1950) provided Hagen with her first starring role alongside Sterling Hayden. Hagen received excellent reviews playing "Doll" Conover, a woman who sticks by criminal Dix's side until the bitter end. She appeared in the film noir Side Street (1950) playing a gangster's sincere, but none-too-bright, nightclub-singer girlfriend.
Hagen is best remembered for her comic performance in Singin' in the Rain as the vain and talentless silent movie star Lina Lamont. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for this memorable performance.
By 1953, she had joined the cast of the television sitcom Make Room for Daddy. As the first wife of Danny Thomas, Hagen received three Emmy Award nominations, but after three seasons, she grew dissatisfied and left the series. Thomas, who also produced the show, reportedly did not appreciate Hagen's departing the successful series, and her character was killed off rather than recast. This was the first TV character to be killed off in a family sitcom. Marjorie Lord was cast a year later as Danny's second wife and played opposite Thomas successfully for the remainder of the series.
Hagen starred in the 1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season 3, Episode 7, entitled "Enough Rope for Two" as a woman accompanied by two thieves trying to retrieve stolen money from a desert mine shaft. In 1960, she appeared as Elizabeth in the episode "Once Upon a Knight" on CBS's anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson, and guest-starred on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.
Although she made frequent guest appearances in various television series, Hagen was unable to successfully resume her film career in starring roles. After appearing with Fred MacMurray in the Disney comedy The Shaggy Dog (1959), the remainder of her career Hagen played supporting roles, such as Marguerite LeHand, personal secretary to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Sunrise at Campobello (1960), and the friend of Bette Davis in Dead Ringer (1964). In the 1960s, Hagen's health began to decline and she spent many years hospitalized or under medical care.
In 1976, she made a comeback of sorts playing character roles in episodes of the television series Starsky and Hutch and The Streets of San Francisco, and made her final appearance in the 1977 television movie Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn.
Jean Hagen married Tom Seidel on June 12, 1947, in Brentwood, and proceeded to have two children, Christine Patricia Seidel (born August 26, 1950) and Aric Phillip Seidel (born August 19, 1952 and who died September 9, 2012). After a marriage fraught with domestic violence, she divorced Seidel on November 1, 1965 in Los Angeles, California.
Hagen died at age 54 of esophageal cancer on August 29, 1977, at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital and was buried in Chapel of the Pines Crematory.
Hagen was nominated for a 1956 Emmy Award in the "Best actress (continuing performance)" category. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1502 Vine Street for her contributions to television.
|Adam's Rib||1949||Beryl Caighn||film debut. National Film Registry|
|The Asphalt Jungle||1950||"Doll" Conovan||National Film Registry|
|Side Street||1950||Hariette Sinton|
|No Questions Asked||1951||Joan Brensen|
|Singin' in the Rain||1952||Lina Lamont||nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. National Film Registry. Selected by AFI as Best Movie Musical.|
|Carbine Williams||1952||Maggie Williams|
|Latin Lovers||1953||Anne Kellwood|
|The Big Knife||1955||Connie Bliss|
|The Shaggy Dog||1959||Freeda Daniels||Later remade|
|Sunrise at Campobello||1960||Marguerite "Missy" LeHand|
|Panic in Year Zero||1962||Ann Baldwin|
|Dead Ringer||1964||Dede Marshall||last film|
|Make Room for Daddy||Margaret Williams||117 (3 seasons) 1953–1956||later called The Danny Thomas Show; first family sitcom character to be killed off|
|1952||Stars in the Air||The Yearling|
- A variation on the spelling was ver Hagen
- Obituary Variety, September 7, 1977, page 111.
- Hess, Earl J.; Dabholkar, Pratibha A. (2009). Singin’ in the Rain: The Making of an American Masterpiece. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7006-1656-5.
- "Northwestern Co-Eds Train For The Stage; Inspired By Achievements Of Some Grads". Lubbock Evening Journal. January 12, 1950. p. 11. Retrieved June 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Jean Hagen, former actress, dies at 54". The Lowell Sun. August 31, 1977. p. 43. Retrieved June 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "'Those Websters,' American Family Heard Fridays at 9:30 P.M. on WHP". Harrisburg Telegraph. March 3, 1945. p. 15. Retrieved June 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Jean Hagen Is Delighted To Get Bad Woman Role". Corsicana Daily Sun. May 6, 1955. p. 9. Retrieved June 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Broadway Openings: The Traitor". Billboard. April 9, 1949. p. 57. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "'Emmy' Award Nominations Announced" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 27, 1956. p. 93. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Kirby, Walter (February 10, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 38. Retrieved June 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
TV, 1957, Madge Griffin, "Enough Rope for Two", Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jean Hagen.|
- Jean Hagen at the Internet Movie Database
- Jean Hagen at the Internet Broadway Database
- Jean Hagen at Find a Grave