Saturday, August 25, 2012

This Day in History August 25, 1910

Ruby Keeler Argentinean Magazine AD
By produced by Warner Bros. and supplied to CINE MUNDIAL magazine [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I am one of those "weird" people who loves old movies and musicals.  I was a student of those movies as I grew up.  I let modern movies pass me by in exchange for movies from the 1930's-1960's.  Kind of strange when I was growing up in the '80's, eh?  I remember the first time I heard about today's featured person.  I was watching a documentary about how the history of movie musicals, and she was in the movie that saved the movie musical.  And all I could think was, "Are you serious?"  I remember watching that movie and really marveling at that fact, but enough rambling.

On this date in 1910, Ruby Keeler (pictured above) was born in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada (I had no idea she was Canadian!).  Ethel Hilda Keeler was her birth name, and she was one of six children in the family.  When she was three, the family moved to Yorkville (east side of New York City) so her father could get a higher-paying job--he was an ice truck driver. 

She took dance lessons in spite of her family inability to pay.  When she was thirteen, she got a job as a chorus girl (she lied about her age--she was supposed to be sixteen).  She worked on Broadway until she was brought to Hollywood to appear in the 1933 musical Forty-Second Street opposite Dick Powell.  The film was so well received that she continued to appear in a string of films opposite him.  

Her personal life was in shambles.  She had a turbulent marriage with Al Jolson who was 24 years her senior until it ended in 1940.  Then she found the love of her life and went into retirement.  After a long battle with cancer, she died February 28, 1993.


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