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Actress Known for ‘The Party,’ ’40s Westerns Dead at 101

Apr 23, 2019  •  Post A Comment

An actress whose movie career began in the silent film era, and who starred opposite cowboy hero Gene Autry in a series of Westerns, has died. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fay McKenzie died in her sleep on April 16 in Los Angeles. She was 101.

McKenzie starred with singing cowboy Autry in five Republic B-Westerns, “Down Mexico Way” (1941), “Sierra Sue” (1941), “Home in Wyomin'” (1942), “Heart of the Rio Grande” (1942) and “Cowboy Serenade” (1942). She also starred in a number of movies directed by Blake Edwards, including playing the host of the memorable title event in “The Party.”

“After a brief marriage to tough-guy actor Steve Cochran in the 1940s, McKenzie wed screenwriter Tom Waldman, who worked on the screenplays for the Edwards films ‘High Time’ (1960), ‘The Party’ (1968) and ‘Trail of the Pink Panther’ (1982),” THR reports. “In ‘The Party,’ McKenzie played Alice Clutterbuck, the hostess of the film’s chaotic bash, and she also appeared for the director in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (1961) — in another memorable party scene — ‘Experiment in Terror’ (1962) and ‘S.O.B.’ (1981). She and Edwards were neighbors in Malibu.”

She was a child actress in silent films, going back to a role as an infant in the 1918 Gloria Swanson movie “Station Content.” She also appeared in the silent movies “A Knight of the West” (1921), “When Love Comes” (1922), “The Judgment of the Storm” (1924) and “The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln” (1924).

Here’s a clip in which McKenzie, who was approaching her 100th birthday at the time, reminisces about “The Party” and her early experiences in Hollywood.

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