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Madcap Mabel Normand

Harry Carey 1935




HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Sept. 28 (1935)

(INS) – Harry Carey, veteran portrayer of “he men” parts on the screen, runs the risk of feminine wrath, for the Westerner has named the most beautiful screen actresses he has known in his 25 years in motion pictures – but with definite qualifications.


“Beauty,” says Carey, “contrary to the time-worn saying is more to the time-worn saying, in more than ‘skin deep’.  Since my first picture in 1909, I have played opposite hundreds of actresses are beautiful,” he added with a twinkle in his steel-blue eyes.


“The four who still stand out in my mind do so because they had, or still have, individual qualities which are as important to the beautiful woman as are perfection of face and figure,” he explained.


“First in my mind comes Blanche Sweet,” Carey said, slowly reminiscing, “She was one of the loveliest women ever on the screen, and certainly the most entrancing beauty I knew in the early days.


Mabel Leonard, (1) one of the really first big screen stars, was a bewitching type.  I retain as vivid a picture of her as I do of Blanche Sweet, but that is because of a more vivacious spirit, which added to her physical beauty.


 “Then there was another Mabel – one who has gone, but whose memory lingers on the hearts of thousands of screen lovers Mabel Normand.


“She not only had all the physical attributes of beauty, but a dare-devil, joyous spirit, spontaneity and immeasurable big-heartedness that won her devoted admirers the world over.


“Another actress, whom I would name although last, is not the least, is Mary Pickford, whose beauty and charm keeps her as much beloved and admired by millions today as it was when she started her girlish screen career years ago.


“No matter what costume she might be wearing, her beauty always charms.  I have seen her just as entrancing in tomboyish, tattered overalls as she was in the elaborate period costumes she often wore.


“But let me again emphasize the point that beauty is more than skin deep.  All the actresses I have named have been set apart by certain qualities – call it radiance if you wish – which make them outstanding.


“I believe, for the benefit of those aspiring to be movie queens that mental and spiritual beauty are going to be more and more important to the future screen stars.


“Physical beauty alone has never made outstanding, memorable personalities, and never will.”









Mabel Leonard was the mother of Jackie Cooper, he was born John Cooper, Jr. in Los Angeles, California, September 15, 1922. His father was John Cooper, he left Mabel when Jackie was two years old. Jackie Cooper was an illegitimate child; Mabel was an Italian American (her family's surname was changed from "Polito" to "Leonard") and his father was Jewish.


Mabel Leonard Bigelow (née Polito), was a stage pianist and former child actress. Mabel’s brother, Jack Leonard, was a screenwriter, and her sister was, Julie Leonard, an actress married to director Norman Taurog. Mabel later married to C. J. Bigelow, a studio production manager.  Her son also became a child performer and a huge star at Hal Roach Studios.

It was Norman Taurog in 1931, who hired his nephew to appear in Skippy.  At 9 years old Mabel’s son was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Jackie wrote in 1982. ‘Please Don't Shoot My Dog’. Penguin Group, ISBN0425053067.