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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (15) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 24 March 1928Vienna, Austria
Date of Death 21 May 1999Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameSmylla Brind

Mini Bio (1)

The attractive daughter of Austrian-Jewish émigrés who fled their homeland to Paris in 1937 before coming to America, "B" actress Vanessa Brown grew up exceptionally fluent in German, French, Italian and English. She auditioned for Lillian Hellman at age 13 sporting a perfect Teutonic accent and earned the chance to understudy Ann Blyth on Broadway in the classic stage drama "Watch on the Rhine" in 1941. She eventually was given a featured role and followed that with a tour of the play using the stage name of Tessa Brind. A gifted student who also wrote and directed plays at her New York high school, she was a pure natural when she appeared on the radio quiz show "Quiz Kid." Hollywood and David O. Selznick took notice of her charms and transferred her to Hollywood High. She quickly made her film debut in Youth Runs Wild (1944) and continued in secondary teen roles with The Girl of the Limberlost (1945), I've Always Loved You (1946), Margie (1946), and The Late George Apley (1947), the last being her best and showiest to date. Following high school graduation, the now-billed "Vanessa Brown" progressed to young adult roles. She received lots of attention when she won the role of "Jane" opposite Lex Barker's loin-clothed swinger in Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950), but abruptly left the series after only one attempt. In the 1950s she moved to TV where she became a perky panelist in such quiz shows as "Leave It to the Girls" (1949) and "Pantomime Quiz," in addition to regular dramatic programming. After a small part in the classic film The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), Vanessa found renewed attention on Broadway co-starring as the girl who lives upstairs in the phenomenal hit "The Seven Year Itch" opposite Tom Ewell. Of course, she wasn't given the chance to repeat her sexy role in Hollywood. The meteoric Marilyn Monroe was an absolute sensation in Vanessa's part opposite Ewell in the 1955 movie version. On TV, Vanessa did, however, replace Joan Caulfield on the sitcom My Favorite Husband (1953) with Barry Nelson, enjoying a couple seasons of steady paychecks. Politics overrode all other interests in 1956 when she actively served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Acting took a further back seat in the early 60s when she married her second husband, TV director Mark Sandrich Jr., and gave birth to two children. From then on she was glimpsed here and there in small, matronly roles in such films as Rosie! (1967) and Bless the Beasts & Children (1971). In addition she had some running parts on a couple of daytime and nighttime TV programs. Vanessa's last years were marred by a second divorce (from Sandrich) and ill health. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988, she had successful surgery, but the cancer returned and she died in 1999 at the Motion Picture Country Home at age 71.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Mark Sandrich Jr. (29 November 1959 - 1989) (divorced) (2 children)
Robert Alan Franklyn (15 August 1950 - 30 October 1957) (divorced)

Trivia (15)

Had an I.Q. of 165.
She was a regular on the radio show "Quiz Kids" for two years.
Ex-sister-in-law of director/producer Jay Sandrich.
Ex-daughter-in-law of director/producer Mark Sandrich.
Played a minor role of a maid in the film, The Heiress (1949), starring Oscar-winner Olivia de Havilland. Interestingly, she played the "de Havilland" part on radio, a few years later.
Directed "Meg," a prize-winning play, in Los Angeles in 1978.
Wrote the play "Europa and the Bull" and a non-fiction work entitled "The Manpower Policies of Secretary of Labor, Willard Wirtz." There was also a novel and an unfinished autobiography.
Daughter Cathy Sandrich (born in 1961) became a top casting director, and son David Sandrich (born in 1964) became a linguistic major and computer whiz.
Lost her home in the 1989 Los Angeles earthquake.
Her first husband, Dr. Robert Franklyn, was a popular Hollywood plastic surgeon. She apparently divorced him when she refused to go under the knife.
Played the girl upstairs, the neighbor of Tom Ewell, in the original Broadway production of "The Seven Year Itch", the part Marilyn Monroe later played with Ewell in the Billy Wilder film, The Seven Year Itch (1955).
Upon her death, she was cremated and her ashes were scattered in the Garden of Roses located in Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California.
She was an ardent conservative-minded Republican.
Was a naturalized citizen of the United States.
A lover of music, she often wrote her own songs and instrumentals for her own pleasure (none of which were ever recorded).

Personal Quotes (5)

The thing about being in America is when you are driving with the sun on your back, there's hip hop. I never used to be into hip hop, but there's hip hop in the food, soul food, there's hip hop in the cars.
I think it's so important to feed your brain you know. Sometimes you've just got to read.
So film music is something I absolutely wanna get involved in.
I actually write film music because I'm classically trained on the piano so as well as songwriting I also write actual film music that could be used for movies like war movies and love movies.
I mean if I'm in the middle of a field with my keyboard and some headphones and I feel inspired to write something, I'll just write something really beautiful and mellow.

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