DeCamp in Blood on the Sun (1945)
|Born||November 14, 1910|
Prescott, Arizona, U.S.
|Died||February 20, 2001 90) (aged|
John Ashton Shidler
(m. 1941; died 1998)
Life and career
DeCamp was the elder of two children born to William Valentine and Margaret Elizabeth (née Hinman) DeCamp, both natives of Iowa. She was 14 years older than her brother Jerry (1924–1995).
DeCamp first came to fame in November 1937, when she took the role of Judy Price, the secretary/nurse of Dr. Christian in the long-running radio series of the same name. She also played in The Career of Alice Blair, a transcribed syndicated soap opera that ran in 1939–1940.
Film and television
She made her film debut in Cheers for Miss Bishop and appeared in many Warner Bros. films, including Eyes in the Night, Yankee Doodle Dandy playing Nellie Cohan opposite James Cagney, This Is The Army playing the wife of George Murphy and the mother of Ronald Reagan, Rhapsody in Blue, and Nora Prentiss. She played the mother of the character played by Sabu Dastagir in Jungle Book.
In 1951 and 1953, respectively, she starred in the nostalgic musical films On Moonlight Bay and its sequel, By The Light Of The Silvery Moon, as Alice Winfield, Doris Day's mother, opposite Leon Ames.
DeCamp played Peg Riley in the first television version of The Life of Riley opposite Jackie Gleason in the 1949–1950 season, then reprised the role on radio with original star William Bendix for an episode of Lux Radio Theater in 1950. From 1955–1959, she was a regular on the popular NBC television comedy The Bob Cummings Show, playing Margaret MacDonald, widowed sister of Cummings's character, the womanizing photographer and former World War II pilot Bob Collins; Dwayne Hickman (the future star of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis) portrayed her son, Chuck.
She appeared in the 1961 Rawhide episode, "Incident Near Gloomy River". In 1962, she played a dishonest Southern belle in the NBC sitcom Ensign O'Toole with Dean Jones. She appeared in the role of Gertrude Komack on ABC's medical drama Breaking Point in the episode entitled "A Little Anger is a Good Thing".
DeCamp made several appearances on Death Valley Days, each time playing a different role. In 1965, she played the newspaper editor Caroline Romney of Durango, Colorado, in the episode "Mrs. Romney and the Outlaws". In the story, Romney sounds the alarm for citizens to fight the Kimball/Sykes gang. She delivered a short but memorable performance as Hannah Bailey, wife of the hardy, cantankerous pioneer James Briton "Brit" Bailey (Paul Fix) in the 1969 episode "Here Stands Bailey". In the story line, the Baileys make their final settlement in southeastern Texas after having overcome many obstacles over the years. Now they face the order of Stephen F. Austin that they vacate their land. But Austin soon has a change of heart and asks them to stay. Bailey dies with his final wish of interment standing upright facing west, hence his grave marker, "Here Stands Bailey Facing West." During the 1960s, she appeared in commercials for the laundry product 20 Mule Team Borax, which sponsored Death Valley Days.
DeCamp had a recurring role as Helen Marie, the mother of Marlo Thomas's character on the ABC sitcom That Girl from 1966–1970. She appeared in several 1968 episodes of the CBS sitcom Petticoat Junction as Kate Bradley's sister, Helen, filling in as a temporary replacement for the ailing Bea Benaderet as the mother figure to Bradley's three daughters.
DeCamp made several appearances as the mother of Shirley Partridge in The Partridge Family from 1970–1973. She also played The Fairy Godmother in the 1980s TV show, The Memoirs of a Fairy Godmother.
DeCamp played Buck Rogers' mother in flashback scenes of the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "The Guardians" (1981).
On July 7, 1946, her Beverly Hills home was damaged when struck by a wing after the experimental XF-11 piloted by Howard Hughes (re-created in the 2004 movie, The Aviator) crashed nearby. Although a piece of the wing and a part of the neighbor's roof landed in DeCamp's bedroom (where she and her husband were sleeping) they sustained no injuries.
Personal life and death
DeCamp was married to Inglewood Municipal Judge John Ashton Shidler from 1941 until his death in 1998. The Shidlers raised four daughters: Margaret, Martha, Valerie, and Nita. Outliving most of her contemporaries, DeCamp died of pneumonia in 2001, age 90. Upon her death, she was cremated and her ashes returned to her daughter.
DeCamp was the author of a children's book, Here, Duke! The Adventures of an Irish Setter, which was published by the David McKay Company, in 1962. In 2009, she published Rosemary De Camp: Tigers in My Lap, an autobiographical book of her life in film and television.
DeCamp was a life-long, active Democrat.
- Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) as Minna Fields
- Hold Back the Dawn (1941) as Berta Kurz
- Jungle Book (1942) as Messua
- Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) as Nellie Cohan
- Smith of Minnesota (1942) as Mrs. Smith
- Eyes in the Night (1942) as Vera Hoffman
- Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942) as Hilma Arnesen
- City Without Men (1943) as Mrs. Slade
- This Is the Army (1943) as Ethel Jones
- The Merry Monahans (1944) as Lillian Miles
- Bowery to Broadway (1944) as Bessie Kirby
- Practically Yours (1944) as Ellen Macy
- Blood on the Sun (1945) as Edith Miller
- Rhapsody in Blue (1945) as Rose Gershwin
- Pride of the Marines (1945) as Virginia Pfeiffer
- Week-End at the Waldorf (1945) as Anna
- Danger Signal (1945) as Dr. Jane Silla
- Too Young to Know (1945) as Mrs. Enright
- From This Day Forward (1946) as Martha Beesley
- Two Guys from Milwaukee (1946) as Nan
- Nora Prentiss (1947) as Lucy Talbot
- The Life of Riley (1949) as Peg Riley
- Night Unto Night (1949) as Thalia Shawn
- Look for the Silver Lining (1949) as Mama Miller
- The Story of Seabiscuit (1949) as Mrs. Charles S. Howard
- The Big Hangover (1950) as Claire Bellcap
- Night into Morning (1951) as Mrs. Annie Ainley
- On Moonlight Bay (1951) as Alice Winfield
- Scandal Sheet (1952) as Charlotte Grant
- The Treasure of Lost Canyon (1952) as Samuella
- By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953) as Alice Winfield
- Main Street to Broadway (1953) as Mrs. Craig
- Man on a Bus (1955)
- Many Rivers to Cross (1955) as Lucy Hamilton
- Strategic Air Command (1955) as Mrs. Thorne
- 13 Ghosts (1960) as Hilda Zorba
- Petticoat Junction (1964) as Emily Mapes
- Saturday the 14th (1981) as Aunt Lucille
- A Chip of Glass Ruby (1983) as Mother
- Rosemary DeCamp at AllMovie
- "Rosemary DeCamp, 90, 'Yankee Doodle' Actress". The New York Times. February 21, 2001.
- Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. pp. 138–139. ISBN 978-0195076783.
- Karol, Michael (2006). Sitcom Queens: Divas of the Small Screen. iUniverse. ISBN 978-0595402519.
- Death Valley Days episode "Mrs. Romney and the Outlaws" on IMDb
- Death Valley Days episode "Here Stands Bailey" on IMDb
- Oliver, Myrna (February 22, 2001). "Rosemary DeCamp; Actress in TV and Radio Series". Los Angeles Times.
- Wilson, Scott (2016-08-19). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. ISBN 9781476625997.
- Berman, Phillip, ed. (24 December 1989). "You Have To Act And Then You Find Your Will". Chicago Tribune.
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