Thursday, January 03, 2013

Mae West: Patrick Sullivan Burke

MAE WEST worked with many colorful cast mates in "Sextette" [1978] including one versatile gentleman who died in early January.
• • Patrick Sullivan Burke [20 May 1917 — 3 January 1994] • •
• • Born in the Walnut Hills area of Cincinnati, Ohio on 20 May 1917 was a little boy named Merrill Levine Buchert. He met a neighbor gal Doris Kappelhoff (born 1922 in the Evanston area of Cincinnati), whose Dad was a choir master.  Young Doris, an aspiring dancer who performed as a duo with Jerry Doherty, damaged her legs in a car accident when she was 15.  Merrill had a bright idea; he introduced the devastated teen to his vocal coach, changing her focus.
• • She became Doris Day; he took the stage name Patrick Sullivan Burke.
• • He honed his singing skills at "Peeble's Corner," a local hotspot in Walnut Hills. Those experiences launched a long career, trouping in variety and burlesque. After he wed Sylvia Rhoades, a talented vocalist from Pittsburgh, they formed a duet and toured during the 1930s — 1940s.
• • Patrick Sullivan Burke turned his eyes to Hollywood when he was 42.  Casting agents often placed the veteran vaudevillian in costumed roles or asked him to enliven a fantasy persona. His first role was as a leprechaun in "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" [Walt Disney Productions, 1959]. Over the years he appeared in a dozen projects for TV and the big screen, cast variously as a bartender, sea captain, soldier, tenor, witch, Golan, and an announcer.
• • In "Sextette" [1978], he played a live human being, namely the Irish Delegate. The same year he was seen in "Lord of the Rings" and he played the Head Angel on an episode of "Little House on the Prairie" [1978] before retiring from the screen.
• • Patrick Sullivan Burke died in Las Vegas in the month of January — — on Monday, 3 January 1994. He was 76 years old.
• • On Friday, 3 January 1936 in Australia • •
• • An intriguing article appeared in Perth on Friday, 3 January 1936 with this headline: "Favourite Camera Men of the Stars" (page 2) in the section "Film World" written by a Hollywood correspondent. Gloria Swanson, who felt her nose was misshapen, insisted on being filmed by George Barnes. Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard, Great Garbo, Sylvia Sidney, and several others had hand-picked one individual and it was explained why.
• • Mae West halted production on "Klondike Annie" because her very own Karl Struss was busy with a Bing Crosby vehicle "Anything Goes" (co-starring Ida Lupino, Charles Ruggles, and Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney).
• • The West Australian wrote: The recent dispute between Mae West, Raoul Walsh (director), and Paramount executives over the quality of the photography of her new picture, 'Klondike Annie," which caused a four-day production halt while a new cameraman was found has been given much prominence in America and inspired 'Variety'' to a consideration of stars and their favourite cameraman. ...
• • Source: The West Australian; published on Friday, 3 January 1936.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "It was in old Public School 123. What I mean is: I was coming to the conclusion that boys made much better playmates than girls."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in Variety mentioned Mae West.
• • Variety wrote: In several cases productions have been held up so that stars could have a particular choice behind the camera. Mae West halted production on "Klondike Lou" because Karl Struss, who photographed her former pictures, was tied up on "Anything Goes." But Karl Struss is also Bing Crosby's preference, so the crooner held out for his retention on the picture and carried the day. Then Miss West, instead of taking one of the other ace cameramen on the lot, chose George Clemens, who had been Struss's aide, because he was familiar with the Struss technique. ...
• • Source: Article: "Stars Pout, Productions Lag, but Gals Must Have their Pet Lensers"   written by Variety; published on Tuesday, 8 October 1935
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2535th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
 

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Mae West • 1936
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