Olympe Bradna

Olympe Bradna (12 August 1920 – 5 November 2012) was a French dancer and actress, who emigrated to the United States where she lived for the rest of her life.

Olympe Bradna
Olympe Bradna, 1938
Antoinette Olympe Bradna

(1920-08-12)12 August 1920
Died5 November 2012(2012-11-05) (aged 92)
OccupationDancer, actress
Years active1921–1941

Early years

Bradna was born in a dressing room in the Olympic Theatre in Paris,[1] and her full name was Antoinette Olympe Bradna. Her father, Joseph Bradna, was a Bohemian Czech and her mother, Jana Bradna, was Austrian German. (Another source says that her mother was French.)[2] They were circus performers before Olympe began her career.[3] (Jana Bradna had been an opera singer before she joined her husband in the circus.)[2] Her aunt also was in the circus, as an equestrienne.[4] An item in a newspaper in 1936 reported that Bradna "followed a line of trained dogs on the stage in France, when she was only 18 months old."[5]


Bradna appeared at 18 months of age with her parents, who were world-famous bare back riders. By the time she was 8, Bradna "had attracted so much attention that agents were anxious to book her as a 'single.'"[2] Her parents accompanied her to Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and France as she danced. She performed "an acrobatic dance" in the Paris, France, production of Hit the Deck.[2]

Later she joined the Folies Bergère.[6] She was with that group for eight months and danced at the French Casino in New York City for eight more months.[2]

She danced in Stockholm, New York City and other world capitals.


Bradna started her film career in France, then, in 1934, moved to Hollywood, California where she saw her greatest success, signing a seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures.[7] In 1935, she was one of seven young women "named by Paramount ... as possible screen stars of the future."[8] She was one of six newcomers selected by Paramount in December 1935 to appear in a planned musical.[9] Her screen debut came in Three Cheers for Love (1936).[10] In 1936, she appeared in College Holiday.[11] Later, branching out from musicals to more serious films, she had roles in The Last Train from Madrid and Souls at Sea.[12]

During her career she appeared in more than a dozen films[13] and was seen opposite such notable film stars as Ronald Reagan, George Raft and Gary Cooper.

Early retirement, later years

In May, 1941 Olympe married Douglas Woods Wilhoit, at which point she retired from acting. For many years she and her family lived in Stockton, California, before ultimately settling in Lodi, California. Together, she and Douglas would have four children, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. They were married for over seventy years, with Douglas passing away in February, 2012, just nine months prior to Olympe's death.[14]


Bradna died 5 November 2012, in Stockton, California, at age 92.[12] (Another source says, "... Bradna died at her home in San Joaquin, California ...)[13] She was survived by a son, two daughters, five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.[12]


Year Title Role Notes
1933Roger la HonteSuzanne Laroque
1936Three Cheers for LoveFrenchy
1936College HolidayFelice L'Hommedieu
1937The Last Train from MadridMaria Ronda
1937High, Wide, and Handsome
1937Souls at SeaBabsie
1938Stolen HeavenSteffi
1938Say It in FrenchJulie
1939The Night of NightsMarie Alyce O'Farrell
1940South of Pago PagoMalia
1941KnockoutAngela Grinnelli
1941Highway WestMyra Abbott
1941International SquadronJeanette(final film role)


  1. "Olympe Begins Early". Altoona Tribune. Pennsylvania, Altoona. 2 January 1936. p. 10. Retrieved 30 April 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  2. Harrison, Paul (16 April 1936). "Hollywood". The Post-Register. Idaho, Idaho Falls. NEA Service. p. 5. Retrieved 30 April 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  3. Vecchi, Nina (13 January 1935). "Folies Bergeres Girls Are Truly Scandalized". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. p. 30. Retrieved 29 April 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  4. "News and Comment Of Stage and Screen". Fitchburg Sentinel. Massachusetts, Fitchburg. 11 April 1936. p. 7. Retrieved 30 April 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  5. "'Veteran' of 15 Starts in Films". The Indiana Gazette. Pennsylvania, Indiana. NEA. 10 April 1936. p. 5. Retrieved 30 April 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  6. "News of the Stage". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. 7 December 1934. p. 14. Retrieved 29 April 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  7. "Bits About 'Em". The Charleston Daily Mail. West Virginia, Charleston. 24 May 1936. p. 25. Retrieved 1 May 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  8. "Hollywood Roundup". Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. Wisconsin, Oshkosh. 23 October 1935. p. 10. Retrieved 30 April 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  9. "Young 'Unknowns'". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. 13 December 1935. p. 14. Retrieved 30 April 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  10. Dickstein, Martin (6 February 1936). "Picture Parade". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. p. 20. Retrieved 30 April 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  11. Burdett, Winston (24 December 1936). "The Screen". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. p. 6. Retrieved 1 May 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  12. Vitello, Paul (15 November 2012). "Olympe Bradna, Stage and Screen Actress, Dies at 92". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  13. Lentz III, Harris M. (2013). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2012. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0-7864-7063-1. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  14. "Antoinette Olympe (Bradna) Wilhoit". Lodi News-Sentinel. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2018 via Legacy.com.

Further reading

  • Dye, David. Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914-1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1988, p. 24.

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