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Subject: ARCHIVE: July 28, 1984 ~Character actress "Queen of the Extras" BESS FLOWERS, who rarely gave a spoken line in the hundreds of films she appeared in 41 years, known by generations as that "extra" always standing near the lead, dies in obscurity at 85. ...

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Date Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 11:04:18pm

American actress best known for her work as an extra in hundreds of films. She was known as "The Queen of the
Hollywood Extras," appearing in more than 350 feature films and numerous comedy shorts in her 41-year career. ...

Bess Flowers
(November 23, 1898 July 28, 1984)

Career ...
Born in Sherman, Texas, Flowers' film debut came in 1923, when she appeared in Hollywood. She made three films that year, and then began working extensively. Many of her appearances are uncredited, as she generally played non-speaking roles. By the 1930s, Flowers was in constant demand. Her appearances ranged from Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford thrillers to comedic roles alongside of Charley Chase, the Three Stooges, Leon Errol, Edgar Kennedy, and Laurel and Hardy. She appeared in the following five films which won the Academy Award for Best Picture: It Happened One Night, You Can't Take it with You, All About Eve, The Greatest Show on Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days. In each of these movies, Flowers was uncredited. Including these five movies, she had appeared in twenty-three Best Picture nominees in total, making her the record holder for most appearances in films nominated for the award.

Here is Flowers in rare credited role as Stan Laurel's
wife in the Laurel & Hardy Silent film, "We Faw Down" (1928). ...

Flowers appeared in five Best Picture Academy Award winners: It Happened One Night (1934), You Can't Take It with You (1938), All About Eve (1950), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) and Around the World in 80 Days (1956). In addition to those five films, she also appeared in 20 others which were nominated for Best Picture: One Hour with You (1932), Anthony Adverse (1936), Dodsworth (1936), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), The Awful Truth (1937), One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937), In Old Chicago (1938), Love Affair (1939), Ninotchka (1939), Heaven Can Wait (1943), Watch on the Rhine (1943), Double Indemnity (1944), Mildred Pierce (1945), The Razor's Edge (1946), Father of the Bride (1950), A Place in the Sun (1951), The Robe (1953), Giant (1956), Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961).

Flowers in memorable scene in 1950's "All About Eve". ...

Flowers' acting career was not confined to feature films. She was also seen in many episodic American TV series, such as I Love Lucy, notably in episodes, "Lucy Is Enceinte" (1952), "Ethel's Birthday" (1955), and "Lucy's Night in Town" (1957), where she is usually seen as a theatre patron. Outside her acting career, in 1945, Flowers helped to found the Screen Extras Guild (active: 1946-1992, then merged with the Screen Actors Guild), where she served as one of its first vice-presidents and recording secretaries. Her last movie was Jack Lemmon comedy, "Good Neighbor Sam" in 1964.

The many faces of Bess Flowers ...

Personal life ...
Flowers was first married on September 2, 1923, in Ventura County, California, to Cullen Tate (18941947), an assistant director for Cecil B. DeMille.
They had a daughter, and they were divorced in 1928 in Los Angeles. Her second marriage took place on August 5, 1929, in Los Angeles,
to William S. Holman (18951962). They were divorced in 1930 in Los Angeles. She and Tate had one child, Patricia E. Tate (January 29, 1924 August 1, 1972).

Death ...
Flowers died on July 28, 1984, at age 85 in the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital
in Woodland Hills, California. She was cremated and her ashes interred at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory (Los Angeles). ...

Links ...

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