Tuesday, December 27, 2011

RIP Louise Henry

In Memoriam: Louise Henry (June 14, 1911 - December 12, 2011)

There were a great many supporting actors and actresses who performed during the days of Hollywood's Golden Age and some had contributions to specific thier studios or the film history of a household name. One of which was the late Louise Henry. She was born on June 14, 1911 in Syracuse, New York as Jessie Louise Hieman to Swedish immigrants who came to America for a better life. With the coming of the Depression in the 1930s Louise decided to leave her hometown which was suffering from crippling effects brought on by economic turmoil and like many during that time she came to Hollywood in search for stardom. She got employment at MGM Studios and after some tests and vocal training she made her debut in Paris Interlude. She then appeared as a nightclub singer in Hide-Out with Robert Montgomery. She appreared in approximatley 21 films between 1934 and 1939 and she co-starred opposite such reigning stars as Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, James Stewart, Ricardo Cortez, Virginia Bruce, and others.

In 1935 when Anita Loos backed out of writing a script for a motion picture called Remember Last Night? Louise jumped in and helped with the script formation. She had a lead role in Remember Last Night? but her writing wasn't attributed with the credits at that time. She later became close friends with her other lead costars, Robert Young and Constance Cummings. In the late 1930s she appeared in several Charlie Chan mysteries either as a Girl Friday or a suspect. In 1939 after she completed Charlie Chan in Reno Louise chose not to renew her MGM contract and with enough financial security that included Studio Income, Pension, and stock investments in film, oil, and real estate she returned to her home roots that same year and she bought a mansion like home in the fashionable and rich Meadowbrook neighboorhood in Syracuse.

In 1941 she opened her own Drama Classes until 1979 when she retiered a second time. She also dabbled in Republican politics, even admitting later that she took her screen name in honor of Mrs. Herbert Hoover, and was active spiritually in the Atonement Lutheran Church. She never married or had any children of her own but she considered her MGM friends, neighbors, and congregation members to be like a family. In a 2010 phone interview she was asked what her secret was to having lived a long life; she later said it came from a good diet, religious faith, and having a good laugh at least once a day. On Monday, December 12, 2011 in the comfort of her lavish home and loving live-in nurse and secretary, Louise Henry passed away in a sweet repose at the age of 100 from complications of advanced age.

At her memorial service held on Friday, December 16, 2011 at the Atonement Lutheran Church her secretary said, "Louise was one of the unsung heroines of the original Hollywood. She acted, sang, and danced and she even wrote a script. Though her time in the spotlight may have been short her time in the sight of the Lord was great, rewarding, and wonderful". Following the service she was laid to rest at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Syracuse, New York. In the end Louise was considered to be a true star by those who knew her and she was well recieved by those in her prime who had succeeded her.

HENRY, Louise (Jessie Louise Henry)
Born: 6/14/1911, Syracuse, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 12/12/2011, Syracuse, New York, U.S.A.

Louise Henry's western - actress:
End of the Trail - 1936 (Belle Pearson)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom,

    I'd love to find out where you have gotten this information about Louise Henry as most of it is not true. I know this because I'm her granddaughter. I'm just so curious as I have seen it in other places on the web, and I wonder if there was another Louse Henry who was impersonating my grandmother or there is just some confusion because it is a fairly common name. Anyway I'd love to know, it sounds like you actually talked to this Louise Henry yourself, but the one who was the Hollywood actress died in 1967, so I don't think you talked to her. You can reach me at Lasweltz@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you.