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Alice Faye

From Academic Kids

Alice Faye (May 5, 1915May 9, 1998) was a US actress and singer. She was born Alice Jeane Leppert in New York City and made her entertainment debut as a chorus girl on Vaudeville, moving on to Broadway in the George White Scandals.

Adopting her stage name, Faye came to prominence on radio in The Fleischmann Hour (1932-1934) with Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees. Vallee had also appeared in the George White Scandals of 1931.

Faye's film break occurred in 1933 when Lillian Harvey walked out on the lead role in the movie George White's Scandals. Faye was originally engaged to perform a musical number with Vallee but was elevated to the starring role. She became a popular favourite with cinema audiences of the 1930s, especially from 1936 when producer Darryl F. Zanuck made a deliberate effort to soften her image from that of a wise cracking showgirl. Most often cast in musicals, she was responsible for introducing many popular songs to the hit parade, and although not regarded a serious dramatic actress, she gave what many critics described as her best dramatic performance in In Old Chicago (1938).

Her career continued until 1944 when she was cast in Fallen Angel. The picture was ostensibly designed to be a Faye vehicle, and she was the lead actress, however Zanuck was attempting to build the career of his new star Linda Darnell, and many of Faye's scenes were cut in favour of Darnell. Faye drove away from the studio after a screening of the film and refused to return. Zanuck responded by having Faye blackballed for breaking her contract, and her film career was effectively over. Released in 1945, Fallen Angel was Faye's final film as a major Hollywood star. Gossip magazines of the time speculated that Faye was dismissed as a result of a rivalry with Betty Grable, a claim that Faye and Grable, who would remain friends until Grable's death, both disputed. After a seventeen year absence from films, Faye made a return in State Fair (1962). The film was not a great success and Faye made infrequent cameo appearances thereafter.

Faye married Tony Martin in 1937 but the couple divorced in 1940. Her marriage to Phil Harris in 1941 resulted in two daughters, Alice, born in 1942 and Phyllis, born in 1944. Her marriage to Harris was considered a happy one, and the couple worked extensively together on radio after the demise of Faye's film career, most notably in NBC's Fitch Bandwagon from 1946 until 1948, and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show from 1948 until 1954. The couple remained together until Harris' death in 1995.

Alice Faye died in Rancho Mirage, California from stomach cancer. She was buried at the Palm Springs Mortuary & Mausoleum in Palm Springs, California.

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of her contribution to Motion Pictures at 6922 Hollywood Boulevard.

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