My very favorite movie of all time was in the news again yesterday, a few months out of season.
Bob Anderson, the teenage actor who portrayed the young George Bailey in the film It's A Wonderful Life passed away at age 75. Jimmy Stewart acted his way into immortality as the adult Bailey but it was Anderson who had one of the film's most memorable scenes, described here by the Associated Press report:
"In one scene, the story called for him to spot a potentially fatal error made by a drunken druggist, played by H.B. Warner.
Warner took the role seriously and on the day of shooting had been drinking and was 'pretty ripe,' Victoria Anderson (Bob's wife) said. The scene called for Warner's character to slap the boy.
Anderson told the Los Angeles Times in 1996 that the scene and its rehearsals were painful.
'He actually bloodied my ear,' Anderson told the paper. 'My ear was beat up and my face was red, and I was in tears.'
'At the end when it was all over, he (Warner) was very lovable. He grabbed me and hugged me, and he meant it,' Anderson said."
The film was made in 1946 so it's no surprise that nearly all of the major actors in it are no longer with us, or, as I prefer to think of it, are "drinking with Clarence." I did a little research last night and came up with this partial list. If you love the movie as I do, you will recognize most of the characters mentioned here.
James Stewart George Bailey died 2 July 1997.
Donna Reed Mary Bailey died 14 January 1986
Lionel Barrymore Mr. Henry Potter died 15 November 1954
Thomas Mitchell Uncle Billy Bailey died 17 December 1962
Henry Travers Clarence died 18 October 1965
Beulah Bondi Ma Bailey died 1 January 1981
Frank Faylen Ernie Bishop died 2 August 1985
Ward Bond Officer Bert died 5 November 1960
Gloria Grahame Violet Bick died 5 October 1981
H.B. Warner Mr. Emil Gower died 21 December 1958
Frank Albertson Sam Wainwright died 29 February 1964
Todd Karns Harry Bailey died 5 February 2000
William Edmunds Giuseppe Martini died 7 December 1981
Sheldon Leonard Nick died 10 January 1997
The Kids Are Alright: Karolyn Grimes, Larry Simms, and Jimmy Hawkins, who played the Bailey's three young children (Zuzu, Pete, and Tommy) in It's A Wonderful Life, are all still alive.