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Bess Flowers

Bess Flowers

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Also Known As: Died: July 28, 1984
Born: March 23, 1898 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Sherman, Texas, USA Profession: Cast ... actor
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BIOGRAPHY

A tall, poised actor who began in silent films in the early 1920s, Flowers played the female lead in minor films ranging from a version of the children's perennial "Laddie" to a number of Westerns including "Glenister of the Mounted" and "Hands Across the Border" (all 1926). She regularly played supporting roles as well, and by the time sound fully took over she was working entirely in this capacity. Flowers soon was reduced to bit player and extra but, ironically, what seemed like a decline proved to bring her lasting fame.

Bess Flowers continued to appear in small roles until the mid-60s. In a wide variety of hairstyles, hair colors and costumes, the gracious, classy, amazingly prolific Flowers was instantly recognizable to thousands of movie fans. Spotting her appearances in scenes became a pleasure for countless filmgoers, entirely separate from how the plot of the movie was unfolding, and Flowers became affectionately known as 'Hollywood's Best-Dressed Extra' and 'The Queen of the Hollywood Extras'. Most typically cast as a party guest, Flowers also played secretaries in "It Happened One Night" (1934) and "Double Indemnity" (1944), and decorated other films from "Holiday" (1938) to "Good Neighbor Sam" (1964).

Although many of her roles included no dialogue, many film fans remember Flowers as the award ceremony attendee who, near the end of "All About Eve" (1950), congratulates anti-heroine Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) with the single line, "I'm so happy for you, Eve." She is even more memorable in a somewhat larger part in Douglas Sirk's legendary weeper, "Imitation of Life" (1959), as the female star of the play in which supporting player Lora Meredith (Lana Turner) first garners acclaim. Appearing in several scenes, making the most of her dialogue, Flowers, here playing a star, was finally treated as such, an accolade her silent throng of fans knew she had deserved all along.

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