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Debra Paget Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (17)

Overview (3)

Born in Denver, Colorado, USA
Birth NameDebralee Griffin
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (2)

An acting career was always in the cards for Debra Paget (nee Debralee Griffin) and her siblings, coming from a show biz family and being the offspring of a "stage mother" anxious to get her kids into the movies. Paget's sister Teala Loring got her movie breaks in the 1940s, Lisa Gaye was a film and TV star in the 50s and 60s, and even brother Frank Griffin (acting as 'Ruell Shayne') landed some film jobs. Paget got a 20th Century-Fox contract at age 14 and her first role in the film noir Cry of the City (1948), her first of nearly 20 movies at the studio, mostly Westerns, swashbucklers and period musicals. Every inch (all five-foot-two of her) the Hollywood star, Paget retired from the screen after marrying a Chinese millionaire in 1962.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tom Weaver <TomWeavr@aol.com>

Debra Paget was born Debralee Griffin on August 19, 1933 in Denver Colorado. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was a child. Debra's mother was a former actress who encouraged all her children to go into show business. At the age of fifteen Debra made her film debut in Cry Of The City. Her big break came when she was cast opposite James Stewart in the 1950 western Broken Arrow. She was offered a contract with Fox and quickly became one of their most popular stars. Debra starred in Princess of The Nile and had a supporting role in the Oscar winning The Ten Commandments. In 1956 she worked with Elvis Presley in the musical Love Me Tender. Elvis called Debra "the most beautiful girl in the world" but her mother would not allow them to date. Debra's first marriage, to singer David Street, was annulled after four months. She married director Budd Boetticher in 1960 but they divorced a year later. By this time her career had stalled and she decided to leave Hollywood. Her last role was in the 1963 horror film The Haunted Palace. Debra married Chinese oil executive Louis C. Kung in 1964 and had a son named Gregory. The couple divorced in 1980. Debra became a born again Christian and came out of retirement to host a religious show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Today she lives a quiet life in Texas.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Elizabeth Ann

Spouse (3)

Ling-chieh (Louis) K'ung (19 April 1962 - 1980) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Budd Boetticher (27 March 1960 - 24 August 1961) ( divorced)
David Street (14 January 1958 - 11 April 1958) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Sultry, seductive gaze
Petite, trim and incredibly sexy figure
Long dark hair

Trivia (13)

She took her screen name from Lord and Lady Paget of England, UK, from whom her family are descended.
Tested for the lead role in the 1955 TV series, Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1955).
Third husband Louis C. Kung was a Chinese-American oil company executive and a nephew of Madame Chiang.
Aunt of Roxane Griffin.
Never auditioned for The Ten Commandments (1956). The part of Lilia was the last of the lead roles to cast. Cecil B. DeMille instinctively asked her one day to report to Paramount to start work. He had followed her career and felt that "the hand of God" was on her.
Ex-aunt-in-law of Skip Crank.
Was originally going to star with Robert Wagner and Victor Mature in The Proud Ones (1956).
In 1987 she was give the Golden Boot Award by the Motion Picture and Television Fund for her work in westerns.
As of August 2004 she was retired and living in Houston, TX.
Owned a chimpanzee named Lord Murphy as well as a mischievous Golden Gibbon she named Haji Baba she gave to Ralph Helfer, renowned animal trainer and Hollywood animal behaviorist who owned "Nature's Haven: Wild Animal Rentals" in Van Nuys, CA, at that time.
She was pleased when she found out that actress Debra Winger was named after her, since Winger's father was a fan of Paget's.
Priscilla Presley copied Debra's hairstyle from Love Me Tender (1956) to attract Elvis in 1959.

Personal Quotes (17)

There's a difference in the morality [of today]. I don't want to be embarrassed when I go to see something on the screen. I don't want to listen to foul language, watch a lot of violence or see something immoral. I prefer stories with sensitivity and family values; films that strive to lift you up to a higher place in life. Those types of films are few and far between today. As a result, I seldom go to the movies.
[Twentieth Century Fox] was a wonderful place. It was like a separate little world of its own. I remember the huge buildings full of antique cars, stagecoaches and varied pieces of architecture. It was just incredible, and so much fun to wander through. There were New York, Western and Midwestern streets, a Roman square, the countryside...it was huge, and an extraordinary place.
[on a sexy seduction scene with Ron Randell in Most Dangerous Man Alive (1961)] This was a very unusual part for me, you know, and that was one reason I did it. It was kind of a veer-off from what I usually did.
[on having to wear brown contact lenses for her part in The Ten Commandments (1956)] I've worn contacts three different times in movies, but they're awful to work in because the Kleig lights heat them up. I have to keep taking them off about every half hour, but they make my eyes the right color for [Cecil B. DeMille]. If it hadn't been for the lenses I wouldn't have gotten the part.
I was pleased to learn a contemporary actress, Debra Winger, was named after me.
I had gone into the theatre at about 9-10 years old and worked professionally from 11 on. I signed a contract at 20th Century Fox at 14. My mother was my agent. She had a lot of contacts and through her connections, I was signed. It kind of took your breath away at first. I was awe-struck. It took a while to come down off that cloud. I had to have a parent and a schoolteacher with me at all times.
My brother Frank Griffin used the name Ruell Shayne in [Love Me Tender (1956)]. He had a bit, but he did have a lead in Teen-Age Crime Wave (1955), He's done a western with Guy Madison [Bullwhip (1958)] and a cult science fiction film, The Giant Claw (1957). He's now a top make-up man.
[on working with James Stewart in Broken Arrow (1950)] I was so young that I was told, "Don't ever tell him your age. Lie and say you're 17." Well, I had a birthday on the set, and when Jimmy saw the number of candles, he screamed, "Oh my God, I'm a dirty old man!" We had a lot of bad weather - it would wash away the set! We got way behind schedule, and Jimmy's fiancée, Gloria [Gloria Stewart], came up there. A week after we finished, they were married.
[on religion] I used to have a show on Trinity Broadcasting; I once did a seminar with Jacqueline White that was fun. We talked about the picture days. I do things for the Lord Jesus Christ - I give speeches, I write gospel songs and poems that are used when I speak.
[on testing for Broken Arrow (1950)] [James Stewart] took the time to test with us, which was not usually done at that time by major stars, they'd have a contract player work with you. But he took all that time to work with Jeff Chandler and I which made a great deal of difference in our getting the parts. In a scene, if Jimmy thought Jeff, who was a gentle, quiet man, or I could do better, he would blow it and they'd have to cut. And he'd whisper to us, "You can do this better...focus in". He was just a beautiful human being. I want to cry, thinking about his recent passing. I loved that man, and I love that film. It was my first starring billing.
In 1982, I decided to go back to work. A newspaper reporter did a long story on me. Then I prayed about it, and decided not to do it. I did do a play, that was lots of fun, but I will never have a full-time acting career again.
[on Elvis Presley] Elvis and I did [Texaco Star Theatre (1948)] three months before we did Love Me Tender (1956). I didn't notice Elvis because I had a tough dance number; my mother was there when we did it. Elvis did have a scene with [Milton Berle] that had something to do about me...and I may have come on at the end, I don't recall. I was more concerned with that crazy dance - I kept throwing my hip out - they had a woman on the set who pushed it back in! I just did the job and tried to stay out of pain!

Three months later we did 'Love Me Tender.' Originally, it had no songs. Elvis didn't want to sing, but they wanted to cash in, so he did sing in the movie. I didn't know Elvis was to do the picture until it was time to do the film. I was very shy, very quiet and very immature for my age. I was in my very early twenties but I was emotionally more like a 16-year-old. Elvis and I just sort of came together like a couple of children really. Following the film, he did ask me to marry him, but my parents objected to my getting married. I cared about Elvis, but being one not to disobey my parents, that did not take place. He was a precious, humble, lovely person. Elvis had a lot of talent; there was a lot of depth they never used. He could have been a fine actor.
[on the contact lenses she had to wear for Broken Arrow (1950)] The contact lenses were a problem. They weren't like they are today - not plastic, but *glass*! They covered the entire eye! They dyed the color in them. The light would heat them up and they dried the eyeball. You would sometimes be shot in profile, so only one contact had to be in your eye. The heat would turn that eye to hamburger. They were supposed to stay in 15 minutes, but it would turn into four hours! I'd see rainbows for half an hour after taking them out. Once, when I put the contacts on a table by the shore, they fell into the river! The entire crew was on their knees feeling, trying to find the contact lenses. Finally, my mother had to send off for spares. I still have the originals - they are humdingers.
[on her sisters, Lisa Gaye and Teala Loring] I think Teala is the prettiest, then Lisa, then myself! Lisa has a quick, sharp wit about her, and a good sense of humor.
On Bird of Paradise (1951), there were 50 island girls hired to jump off a boat. They were not well-endowed, so the studio wanted to put pads or falsies in the sarongs. But the girls balked. They wouldn't let them be put in. Finally, they put them in themselves - and when the director called "Action," they jumped off the boat and the falsies came off! From island to island, the story preceded us! They later called it Falsie Bay.
I was at Fox for two weeks when I did Cry of the City (1948) with Richard Conte and Victor Mature. They had shot the small part of a young 18-year-old, who had an innocent look about her, with two different actresses. They didn't like the results and decided to test three more. When I did the part, they liked what they saw, and I was kept after the six-month option period! I worked with Victor Mature in that when I was about 14 years old. I was so shy, terrified and insecure. He would put me on all the time. I didn't know it was a put on. I thought he was really mad at me. I'd run to my dressing room and cry. He really wasn't being bad. I worked with him later and then I understood it was just a put on. But he knew how to get to you!
Of course, Cecil B. DeMille was a great director - I worked with him for a whole year on my personal favorite film, The Ten Commandments (1956). That picture took two years to complete. Unfortunately, all my scenes were shot in Hollywood - only Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner had to go to Egypt. But it was an ordeal, just the same. I was wearing the same costume for 3 or 4 months! They wouldn't clean it, because it was supposed to look dirty! I like animals, but goats, camels, cows and dogs in the dust-blah! The goats would be chewing on my costume. DeMille personally chose me for the part. He told me he felt the hand of God was always on my career! I did Omar Khayyam (1957) later - but it was nothing like this.

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