Thursday, April 25, 2019

Fay McKenzie Passes On

Fay McKenzie, who appeared in five films with Gene Autry, as well as in a number of other films, died on April 16 2019 at the age of 101.

Fay McKenzie was born in Los Angeles, California on February 19 1918. Her parents were both in show business. Her mother was actress Eva McKenzie, who would appear in multiple feature films and short subjects. Her father was actor and director Bob McKenzie, who also appeared in multiple feature films and short subjects. She made her film debut when she was only ten weeks old in an uncredited part in the Gloria Swanson movie Station Content (1918). As a child she appeared in movies throughout the Twenties, including A Knight of the West (1921), When Love Comes (1922), The Judgement of the Storm (1924), The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln (1924), and Irene  (1926).

In the Thirties Miss McKenzie appeared in such films as Ferocious Pal (1934), Student Tour (1934), Boss Cowboy (1934), Arizona Bad Man (1935), Thunderbolt (1935), Lucky Terror (1936), Assassin of Youth (1938), Slander House (1938), Death Rides the Range (1939), All Women Have Secrets (1939), and When the Daltons Rode (1940). She had a small, uncredited role in Gunga Din (1939).  She appeared on Broadway in Meet the People.

It was in 1941 that Fay McKenzie first appeared with Gene Autry in the film Down Mexico Way. The film would prove successful, so that Miss McKenzie was paired with Mr. Autry for the movies Sierra Sue (1941), Home in Wyomin' (1942), Heart of the Rio Grande (1942), and Cowboy Serenade (1942). She also appeared in such movies as Remember Pearl Harbour (1942), The Singing Sheriff (1944), Murder in the Music Hall (1946), and Night and Day (1946). She appeared on Broadway in Burlesque.

Following her marriage to screenwriter Tom Waldman in 1948, Fay McKenzie's career slowed. She appeared in the films -30- (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Experiment in Terror (1962), The Party (1968), and S.O.B. (1981). She said that last year she had shot a cameo for a movie titled Kill a Better Mousetrap. Miss McKenzie made a few appearances on television, guest starring on the shows The Millionaire, Mr. Lucky, The Tom Ewell Show, and Bonanza.

Fay McKenzie was always a pleasure to see on the screen. Pretty and wholesome, and gifted with a mellifluous voice, she was perfect for the many B Westerns in which she appeared. She was also a gifted vocalist, displaying her singing skills in such films as Murder in the Music Hall and Night and Day. She will always be remembered for her talents as an actress and a singer, and as one of Gene Autry's best leading ladies.

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