Musical comedy actress Mary Carlisle who came up in the ’30s as a talented Hollywood ingenue and starred in multiple films with Bing Crosby died Aug. 1 in a retirement community a for actors in the Woodland Hills of Los Angeles. She was 104.
Carlisle’s son, James Blakeley III confirmed her death, according to the Washington Post. No details about her cause of death were revealed.
Born Gwendolyn Witter in Boston on Feb. 3, 1914, Carlisle she was brought to Hollywood by her widowed mother. After completing high school, Carlisle learned of a casting call for chorus girls at MGM studios thanks to her uncle Robert Carlisle, who was a film and producer. Thus began her Hollywood career. She appeared in uncredited roles in films such as Madam Satan (1930), The Great Lover (1931) and Grand Hotel (1932).
In 1933, her career took a turn when she, along with Gloria Stuart and Ginger Rogers were selected as a “Wampas Baby Star” by the Western Assn. of Motion Picture Advertisers. This led to more roles including Should Ladies Behave (1933) and This Side of Heaven (1934) where she starred as Lionel Barrymore’s daughter.
She appeared in more than 60 films in her nearly 12-year career and was often typecast as an innocent virgin. She co-starred with crooner Crosby in College Humor (1933), Double or Nothing (1937) and Doctor Rhythm (1938). She also appeared in The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi (1933) as well as It’s in the Air (1935) and One Frightened Night (1935).
After her acting career, Carlisle managed an Elizabeth Arden beauty salon in Beverly Hills. In 1942 she married British actor James Blakeley who would became an executive at 20th Century-Fox studios. Blakeley died in 2007. She is survived by her son and two grandchildren.
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