Barbara Weeks (film actress)

Barbara Weeks (born Susan Kingsley; July 4, 1913 – June 24, 2003) was an American film actress who performed primarily in Hollywood productions of the 1930s.[1]

Barbara Weeks
Weeks in The Violent Years (1956)
Born(1913-07-04)July 4, 1913
DiedJune 24, 2003(2003-06-24) (aged 89)
OccupationFilm actress
Spouse(s)Guinn Williams
(m. 19??; div. 19??)
Lewis Parker
(m. 1938; died 1945)

William Cox
(m. 19??; div. 19??)
Children1

Early years

Weeks was born in Somerville, Massachusetts,[2] and attended Melrose High School.[3] Her mother was an actress, and "from the time Barbara was 3 years old her ambition was to be an actress, too."[4] She entered acting through her participation in the Ziegfeld Follies, when she was cast in Whoopee. "I was scared to death," Weeks said of meeting Florenz Ziegfeld. "His office was an oblong room and you had to walk and walk to get to his desk. He was seated behind his desk, where on top were an assortment of toy elephants. I'll never forget that meeting." After the show closed, Weeks and other cast members, including star Eddie Cantor and Ethel Shutta, were brought to Hollywood to make the film version. Weeks felt it did not translate well, in spite of its smash hit success. "The audience has a lot to do with it. When you are on the stage, every audience is different. Filming is very tiresome and boring, and it doesn't give you the enthusiasm you get from the stage. That was evident in Whoopee! the film."[5]

Film

In 1931, Weeks was named as one of 14 girls selected as a "WAMPAS Baby Star",[6] which launched her into a brief but successful acting career, mostly in cliffhanger serials and B-movie films and B-Westerns. She claimed placement in westerns was punishment by Columbia head Harry Cohn for refusing his advances. "Cohn, however, never realized how much I liked being in them," she said. "He considered westerns punishment, but naturally I never mentioned it to him. I just enjoyed myself." He loaned her out to low budget studios to humiliate her as well, but it backfired. One of the films she was most proud of was Woman Unafraid, made by Goldsmith.[7]

Eight of her films starred Tim McCoy, Buck Jones, Tom Tyler and Charles Starrett. For a time she was married to the B-Western actor Guinn "Big Boy" Williams. She left the film business in the late 1930s after she married the Lockheed test pilot Lewis Parker in 1938. In 1945, after the end of World War II, Parker's plane disappeared over the North Atlantic and he was never found.

On August 23, 1938, Weeks appeared in a television experiment at NBC, an adaptation of Edwin Burke's play Good Medicine, co-starring Pat Lawrence and Lily Cahill. NBC telecasts were officially secret at the time, with audiences limited to 500–1000 viewers on company-owned sets.

Later years

Following Parker's death, Weeks moved to New York City and began working as a model. In 1949, "following a brief marriage to the actor Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams,"[2] she married William Cox, with whom she had a son, Schuyler John Wing Cox. The couple were married for a short time before divorcing. She then moved to Las Vegas where she worked as a secretary. She died in Las Vegas 20 days before her 90th birthday in 2003.

Partial filmography

References

  1. "Weeks, Barbara", Film Index International ("People and Institutions"), 2003-2015. British Film Institute (BFI), London, United Kingdom. ProQuest.
  2. "Barbara Weeks". The Telegraph. November 24, 2003. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  3. Peak, Mayme Ober (August 20, 1931). "Selection of 'Baby Stars' Causes Row in Filmdom". The Boston Globe. Massachusetts, Boston. p. 26. Retrieved July 12, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  4. Dillon, Patricia (October 17, 1930). "Even Chorus Can Produce Prim Miss". Wisconsin, Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 4. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  5. Ankerich, Michael G. The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities. McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC: 1998. p. 236.
  6. Peak, Mayme Ober (August 30, 1931). "Talkies Announce Bumper Crop of Wampas Starlets". Hartford Courant. Connecticut, Hartford. p. 41. Retrieved July 4, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  7. Ankerich, Michael G. The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities. McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC: 1998. p. 241.


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