Isabell Jewell, like other actresses in Hollywood in the 1930’s, suffered from chronic typecasting. The diminutive, platinum-haired doctor’s daughter seemed to be forever playing hardboiled, tough-talking broads: gangster’s molls, dumb blondes, prostitutes and, of course, poor ‘white trash’ Emmy Slattery in Gone with the Wind (1939).
While stardom eluded her for the most part, she nonetheless remained a busy supporting actress with an impressive array of A-budget films to her credit. Signed as an MGM contract player, she reputedly earned up to $3,000 a week – a small fortune at the time. Isabell was educated at Hamilton College in Kentucky. After years in stock companies (including an 87-week stint in Lincoln, Nebraska), she hit the big time after getting a part on Broadway in ‘Up Pops the Devil’ in 1930. With just three hours of rehearsal time, she delivered her performance to great critical acclaim and had even better reviews as a fast-talking telephone operator in ‘Blessed… read more