Edit
Osa Massen Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (8)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 13 January 1914Copenhagen, Denmark
Date of Death 2 January 2006Santa Monica, California, USA  (complications following surgery)
Birth NameAase Madsen Iversen
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Osa Massen (born Aase Madsen Iversen) was a newspaper photographer with an ambition to become a film editor. Prolific Danish film director Alice O'Fredericks gave her a role in her film Kidnapped (1935). After only two films in Denmark, she was given a screen test by 20th Century Fox and arrived in Hollywood in 1938.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: MW Copenhagen

Luck and timing can be everything in a career and in glamorous, sultry-eyed Osa Massen's case, it afforded her the opportunity of a brief but enjoyable 1940s film career during WWII Hollywood. She was born Aase Madsen Iversen on January 13, 1914 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and received early training as a news photographer with special emphasis on becoming a film editor. It seems the aspiring young photographer was a natural for the other side of the lens as well, for Swedish-born writer/director Alice O'Fredericks saw something in the teenager, who had no experience whatsoever, to cast her in a major role in her film. Osa was prominently featured in the Danish-made Kidnapped (1935), a family comedy that (obviously) had nothing to do with the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. After making a second Danish film, she was noticed by Hollywood scouts who just happened to be in Europe out hunting for alluring overseas imports, and she was practically handed a Twentieth Century-Fox contract. Luck and timing.

Encouraged by the success and near-mythological status that Greta Garbo was achieving, Hollywood was clamoring to find aloof foreign lovelies and turn them into stars. Osa was one of many brought over, among them Anna Sten, Signe Hasso, Sigrid Gurie, Gwili Andre and, of course, Ingrid Bergman. All but the dazzling Bergman went on to eke out at least a decent "B"-level career. Although Osa never became a top star, this semi-great Dane certainly had her share of chances. An occasional co-star, she more often than not took a back seat to the star. She made a promising American debut as part of a romantic triangle along with Fred MacMurray and Madeleine Carroll in the light comedy Honeymoon in Bali (1939) playing an exotic party girl. Down the line, however, she would make more of an impact in an unsympathetic vein. One of her best was the taut melodrama A Woman's Face (1941), in which she played an unfaithful wife being blackmailed by an embittered Joan Crawford. She and Crawford had a great confrontational scene in which all claws are bared.

By this time Warner Bros. had taken over Osa's contract. She played a tempting foreign immigrant who breaks up George Montgomery's marriage in Accent on Love (1941) and another mistress with a motive in the Fred Astaire/Rita Hayworth musical confection You'll Never Get Rich (1941), this time hooking up with married Robert Benchley. In between the frothy dialog, Osa danced to the tune of "So Near and Yet So Far".

She more than fit the "shady lady" bill in the espionage tale The Devil Pays Off (1941), and in standard war themes such as Background to Danger (1943), Jack London (1943), The Master Race (1944) and Tokyo Rose (1946). She played sister to skating legend Sonja Henie in one of the star's popular hard-water musicals, and scored quite well with critics in the topnotch post-war film noir Deadline at Dawn (1946). At one point in her career her stage name was being confused with that of glamorous Hungarian actress Ilona Massey and / or American redhead Ona Munson (Belle Watling in Gone with the Wind (1939)). While making Million Dollar Weekend (1948) she was persuaded by co-star Gene Raymond to change her name to the very American-sounding "Stefanie Paull". Not a great move. She wisely went back to "Osa Massen" in her very next picture, Night Unto Night (1949). The 1950s saw her start off with Rocketship X-M (1950), a pioneer sci-fi thriller, and one of her last pictures as she focused more and more on the new medium--TV. Appearing on such series as Wagon Train (1957) and Perry Mason (1957), she returned to movie-making just one more time, playing a German frau in Outcasts of the City (1958).

As mysterious as the femme fatales she played, the lovely Osa made a Garbo-like exit from the limelight in 1962. Divorced in the early 1940s from minor actor Allan Hersholt, son of noted character star and humanitarian Jean Hersholt, Osa was widowed a decade later by her second husband, a Beverly Hills physician. A third marriage to a Hollywood dentist also ended in divorce. She eventually went back to live in her homeland for a time, but returned to the Los Angeles area and died on January 2, 2006, in Santa Monica. Her death was not even reported in the Hollywood papers until well over a month later.

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

Spouse (3)

Stanley William Vogel (25 December 1954 - 1962) (divorced)
Harvey Robert Cummins (16 February 1947 - 18 September 1951) (his death)
Allan Hersholt (15 December 1938 - 10 August 1945) (divorced)

Trivia (8)

Because she was often confused with Ilona Massey and Ona Munson, she changed her stage name to "Stefanie Paull" for one movie, but reverted back to Osa Massen for her next film.
Married three times, her last husband was a dentist. Her first and third marriages ended in divorce; her second with her husband's death.
Was once a newspaper photographer.
After retiring from the screen, she served on the foreign film selection committee for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
She met second husband Dr. Harvey Cummins while volunteering for the Red Cross. He was involved in army medical work. They married in 1947 but he died only 3 1/2 years later.
Her expert multi-lingual skills had her sidelining as a dialect coach throughout much of her career. She worked with John Wayne on his Swedish accent and Thomas Mitchell on his Irish in The Long Voyage Home (1940).
Ex-sister-in-law of Jean Hersholt Jr..
Ex-daughter-in-law of Jean Hersholt.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page