ZaSu Pitts - Photoplay portrait

Here is another portrait photo from Stars of the Photoplay, a 1930 "class album" type book that gives us brief bios of the current stars in the silent-cum-talkie era, along with some stunning portrait photos.

The photographer here is Elmer Fryer.  The bio,of course, explains the spelling of her unusual name. Interesting is the comment that the director Eric Von Stroheim declared her "one of the greatest tragediennes of the day."

We most often think of the zany ZaSu as one of the top comediennes of her day.  The soulful photo reveals perhaps a trace of her depth as an emotional actress and as a person.  Mr. Stroheim gave her a chance in his epic Greed (1924), and she impressed her very surprised colleagues and movie critics.

But if she came to be best known to us as the beloved bumbler, that would probably be okay with her.  She appeared on Broadway in 1940s, made the rounds on television in the 1950s, and worked pretty much until she died in the early 1960s.   She is thirty-six in this photo.  How perceptive the photographer was, to direct our attention to her luminous eyes, in which we may see the spark of mirth, but also an enigmatic pensiveness. 

"Lynch’s book is organized and well-written – and has plenty of amusing observations – but when it comes to describing Blyth’s movies, Lynch’s writing sparkles." - Ruth Kerr, Silver Screenings

"Jacqueline T. Lynch creates a poignant and thoroughly-researched mosaic of memories of a fine, upstanding human being who also happens to be a legendary entertainer." - Deborah Thomas, Java's Journey

"One of the great strengths of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is that Lynch not only gives an excellent overview of Blyth's career -- she offers detailed analyses of each of Blyth's roles -- but she puts them in the context of the larger issues of the day."- Amanda Garrett, Old Hollywood Films

"Jacqueline's book will hopefully cause many more people to take a look at this multitalented woman whose career encompassed just about every possible aspect of 20th Century entertainment." - Laura Grieve, Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

"Jacqueline T. Lynch’s Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is an extremely well researched undertaking that is a must for all Blyth fans." - Annette Bochenek, Hometowns to Hollywood

Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. 
by Jacqueline T. Lynch

The first book on the career of actress Ann Blyth. Multitalented and remarkably versatile, Blyth began on radio as a child, appeared on Broadway at the age of twelve in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine, and enjoyed a long and diverse career in films, theatre, television, and concerts. A sensitive dramatic actress, the youngest at the time to be nominated for her role in Mildred Pierce (1945), she also displayed a gift for comedy, and was especially endeared to fans for her expressive and exquisite lyric soprano, which was showcased in many film and stage musicals. Still a popular guest at film festivals, lovely Ms. Blyth remains a treasure of the Hollywood's golden age.

The eBook and paperback are available from Amazon and CreateSpace, which is the printer.  You can also order it from my Etsy shop. It is also available at the Broadside Bookshop, 247 Main Street, Northampton, Massachusetts.

If you wish a signed copy, then email me at and I'll get back to you with the details.

My new syndicated column SILVER SCREEN, GOLDEN YEARS, on classic film is up at   or check with your local paper.

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