I Talked To This Lady And She Is Awesome

“My real name is Noreen Roth, but after I played J. Carrol Naish’s daughter in a film, The Southerner, my agent suggested changing it to Noreen Nash (without the ‘I’). Everything was alliteration in those days — Greer Garson, Marilyn Monroe, thus Noreen Nash.” — interview with Mike Fitzgerald, WesternClippings.com

Noreen was born Norabelle Jean Roth [April 4, 1924] in Washington state, where her mother was a teacher and her father owned a Coca-Cola bottling plant. Shortly after arriving in Hollywood, Noreen met Dr. Lee Siegel, and they had a whirlwind romance. Their marriage was a long and happy one. Dr. Siegel not only had a flourishing medical practice, but he was the medical director at 20th Century Fox. Together, they often traveled the world, attending to the urgent medical needs of many of Hollywood’s most well-known personalities. Their many friendships make Noreen’s life and collection of behind-the-scenes anecdotes far more out of the ordinary. — Screen Sirens Scream! Interviews with 20 Actresses from Science Fiction, Horror, Film Noir and Mystery Movies, 1930s to 1960s, Paul Parla and Charles P. Mitchell (2000)

On Lee Siegel: “I only knew him for six weeks before we were married, and we got married December of that same year. … He had had rheumatic fever as a child, and he had a heart murmur. He was head of the draft board in Beverly Hills, and he drafted himself. He went to Florida and he was on his way to Europe, and the doctor said, ‘Your valor is greater than your judgment.’ He got an honorable discharge, and so he never went to fight, but he came back and again was head of the draft board. … He had his own private practice, with the most amazing people, and then he was the 20th Century Fox studio physician from 1950 to 1971.”

“I stayed with Metro Goldwyn Mayer for about two years, and I did nothing but showgirl parts. At that time, I also did some modeling. I modeled with Marilyn Monroe. Then I left there and I made a movie with the director Jean Renoir. … That was my first movie, called The Southerner, that I had a part in.”

“[Renoir] was an amazing part of my life. … He was the most fabulous person I’ve ever known, and he changed my life in so many ways. He made everything kind of simple. He didn’t believe in perfection. … He said none of the great works of art are ever perfect. He used, as an example, the statue of David. He said, ‘If you look at the statue of David, one hand that’s hanging down is twice the size it should be. But that’s what makes it a work of art. If it was exactly the same size, it wouldn’t be.’ He said, ‘You may not be aware of that, but if you look at art, you always find that there’s something that isn’t just exactly like a photograph.’ … He became a very, very close friend until he died in 1979. We were with him all the time. We would go to his house — it was full of his father’s works — and have dinner with people like Salvador Dalí or Gregory Peck or whoever was around. It was quite fabulous.”

Ms. Nash’s favorite film role was 1948’s Assigned to Danger in the role of Bonnie Powers. She worked at many studios and had the opportunity to meet L.B. Mayer during her career. Her favorite actor was Charles Boyer. There is nothing she misses about working in the film industry, and never had any regrets about her career. She does not recall ever being ‘star struck’ during her career. As a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences she attended the Oscars many times. Her all time favorite movies are Shawshank Redemption and Waterloo Bridge. — HollywoodGoldenGuy.com

Frank Worth was the only photographer who ever had the idea of showing Liz Taylor doing the housework. ‘I guess he wanted to take pictures that showed her turning from childhood ingenue into the sort of young woman who could keep house,’ Howard says. Worth also shot the ones who didn’t quite make it. ‘Oh, boy. If those had been published I’d have been a star for sure,’ said Noreen Nash when she saw the photographs Frank Worth had taken of her 50 years ago. — “In Search of Lost Stars,” Patrick O’Connor, The Telegraph (UK), September 27, 2002.

“The thing I remember most about making Phantom From Space was how it boosted my sincere interest in astronomy. I loved shooting at the Griffith Observatory. … Every chance I had when I wasn’t doing a scene I spent with the planetarium director. He would show me around the place and let me view the large telescope. I remember him saying that he felt we would be landing on the moon within ten years. That seemed so farfetched to us all in 1953, but he wasn’t far off … it was only 16 years later.” — Screen Sirens Scream!

Back at the end of the shelf containing all the books I’ve read in my life, there’s a worn-out paperback with yellow pages called By Love Fulfilled [1980] by Noreen Nash. … I still remember my, er, regular visits to read about Nostradamus’ dire prediction that a French king would meet tragedy in a joust and how his dread prophecy comes true; and the terrible punishment a jealous husband takes on his adulterous wife — he cuts off her nose — and the way, nursed to health in a convent, the wound heals and her appearance is somewhat restored, though she’s not a ravishing beauty anymore. — “Jacket Copy: Mom’s Bathroom Reading,” Nick Owchar, Los Angeles Times, May 8, 2011

“I did my writing after I stopped working, but I started the research. I became very fascinated by medical history, and actually thought my husband would write the book and I’d do the research. I went on a quiz show, and Mike Wallace was the MC of the quiz show. It’s called ‘The Big Surprise,’ and I came home with $10,000. I was up to $30,000, but I didn’t have the good sense to go home. But it was after I graduated from college that I started writing.”

“I wrote a second book, I had a great time doing the research, but I never sold it. Then I did quite a few articles for Cosmopolitan — I knew the editor of Cosmo, so it was easy to get my articles published. Then after my husband died [1990], I just didn’t write anymore. … But it was a good time of my life, and I just loved doing the research. I went to France both times, because they were both historical novels set in France.”

[James] Whitmore was born in 1921 in White Plains, New York. He was married four times: twice to Nancy Mygatt, for four years in the ’70s to actress Audra Lindley, and since 2001 to actress Noreen Nash.

“After my husband, James Whitmore, died — I lived in Malibu when I was married to him — I moved back to Beverly Hills, where my lifetime friends are. I’m very busy socially — I play a lot of bridge, I go to a lot of luncheons, I go to dinners, blah blah blah. And I’ve always liked tutoring — I tutored when I was in college, then I did some tutoring to homeless children for a while, and now I’m tutoring a little girl in French. I just have one student, so it’s not very much, but I keep very busy. Friends that I’ve had but didn’t see for a while have all come back into my life, so it’s very good.”

The 2000 Western North Carolina Film Festival guest stars. Front, from left: Pat Priest, Pamela Sue Martin, Peggy Moran, Soupy Sales, Noreen Nash, Elizabeth MacRae, Bill Black, Julie Parrish. Back, from left: Johnny Meeks and Rhodes Reason.

Stereo Total — Moviestar

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