Monday, February 27, 2012

Kathleen Freeman

When I saw The Full Monty on Broadway I didn't recognize her name on the program, but when she made her first entrance, I noticed Kathleen Freeman instantly as that nameless character actress that appeared in so many Jerry Lewis movies that I saw as a child.

I was not alone, for when she entered, the entire audience went into a spontaneous mumble as the crowd all recognized Kathleen Freeman from so many older movies and television shows, in which she was usually cast as the teacher, maid, secretary, nurse, nun or snooping neighbor - and always with comic results.

Kathleen Freeman was the ultimate character actor. She was one of those actors whose face was more familiar than the name and no matter how small the role, she always delivered. Although Kathleen Freeman seemed to appear in everything between 1950 and 1990, her most high profile movies were The Nutty Professor and The Blues Brothers.

By the end of her career she mainly did character voice work in television cartoons. Her last was the recurring voice of Mrs. Gordon on As Told By Ginger.  She died in 2001 of lung cancer just five days after her final performance in The Full Monty on Broadway, making her an actor up until the very end.

I applaud you, Kathleen Freeman. And thanks for the laughs.

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