Tuesday, 14 June 2011
d. 2 March 1959.
I went with my father to see Top Hat (1935) at the Embassy theatre in Wellington earlier this year. We were sitting there, enjoying watching Fred Astaire dancing about, when his character's valet came into the room (the room in the movie, not the room in the theatre). Dad grabbed my arm excitedly and whispered "Oh my god, it's that guy who was in The Lady Eve!" It was, and we spent the rest of the movie almost in tears of laughter whenever this guy came on the screen. Fred and Ginger are lovely in Top Hat, but Eric Blore steals every scene he's in.
Blore made a career of playing butlers and valets and the like; he appeared in over eighty films, including several of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films for RKO, as well as Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve (1941) and Sullivan's Travels (1941). He has a fruity British voice and impeccable comic timing.
Blore's IMDB bio includes this anecdote:
"as sometimes is the case when personalities move into obscurity, their deaths are prematurely announced. Such was with Blore when the New Yorker journalist Kenneth Tynan reported him as already passed on. Blore's lawyer raised a flurry, as did the editor of the New Yorker who claimed the periodical had never had to print a retraction. The night before the highly profiled retraction appeared, Blore indeed passed away. And the next morning the New Yorker was the only publication with the wrong information. It seems like Blore would have been particularly tickled with the irony of this last comedic bit in honor of his passing."
I think Eric Blore is great, and I think he would've been a fun guy to have a gin and tonic with.