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Bonita Granville

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bonita Granville
Granville c. 1946
Bonita Gloria Granville

(1923-02-02)February 2, 1923
New York City, U.S.
DiedOctober 11, 1988(1988-10-11) (aged 65)
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California
Other namesBonita Granville Wrather
Years active1926–1981
Known forThese Three
Nancy Drew... Reporter
Nancy Drew... Detective
Nancy Drew... Trouble Shooter
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Now, Voyager
(m. 1947; died 1984)

Bonita Gloria Granville Wrather[1] (February 2, 1923 – October 11, 1988) was an American actress and producer.

The daughter of vaudevillians, Granville began her career on the stage at age three.[2][3] She initially began as a child actress, making her film debut in Westward Passage (1932). She rose to prominence for her role in These Three (1936), which earned her an Academy Award nomination at age fourteen. Her prominence continued with the Nancy Drew film series, and roles in Now, Voyager (1942) and Hitler's Children (1943).

After marrying Jack Wrather in 1947, Granville transitioned into producing with her husband on series such as Lassie (1959–1973). She also worked as a philanthropist and a businesswoman, most notably owning and operating the Disneyland Hotel and the Queen Mary in Long Beach, with her husband. She was appointed to the John F. Kennedy Center Board of Trustees by president Richard Nixon in 1972 and for another term by president Ronald Reagan in 1982.[2][4]

In addition to her Oscar nomination, Granville received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 for her contributions to the film industry. She and her husband were posthumously named Disney Legends in 2011.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    37 144
    33 240
    2 308
  • Nancy Drew Reporter - Full Movie | Bonita Granville, John Litel, Frankie Thomas, Dickie Jones
  • The Beloved Brat (1938) Bonita Granville, Matthew 'Stymie' Beard
  • La Vida y El Triste Final de Bonita Granville
  • Nancy Drew... Reporter (1939) Comedy, Crime, Mystery
  • Breakfast in Hollywood (1946) | Full Movie | Musical Comedy | Tom Breneman, Bonita Granville


Early life

Granville was born on February 2, 1923, in Manhattan, New York City, the daughter of Rosina (née Timponi)[5] and Bernard Granville. Both of her parents were stage performers.[3][6] She was raised Roman Catholic.[7]


1932–1941: Child actress

She made her film debut at the age of nine in Westward Passage (1932), and appeared in a credited but nearly wordless supporting role as the young dancer Fanny Bridges in Cavalcade (1933), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Over the next few years, she played uncredited supporting roles in such films as Little Women (1933) and Anne of Green Gables (1934). She next played the role of Mary Tilford in the 1936 film adaptation of Lillian Hellman's 1934 stage play The Children's Hour. Renamed These Three, the film told the story of three adults (played by Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon, and Joel McCrea) who find their lives almost destroyed by the malicious lies of an evil, attention-seeking child. For her role as that child, Granville was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, then the youngest person to be nominated for an Oscar.

In 1938, Granville was cast by Warner Bros. to play the role of girl detective Nancy Drew in a series of B movies based on the novels. The films were meant to resemble the popular Torchy Blane film series starring Glenda Farrell. Granville co-starred in the films with John Litel as her father Carson Drew, and Frankie Thomas, Jr. as Ted Nickerson. All four films — Nancy Drew... Detective (1938), Nancy Drew... Reporter (1939), Nancy Drew... Trouble Shooter (1939), and Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (1939) — would play continuously in theaters over the next several years. Also in 1938, Granville appeared as the saucy, mischievous daughter in the multiple Academy Award-nominated hit comedy film Merrily We Live, and starred as the title character in The Beloved Brat. She also had Angels Wash Their Faces (1939) alongside Ronald Reagan, who would become a lifelong friend of hers.

In late 1939, Granville left Warner Bros. and signed a contract with MGM. However, she continued to be relegated to supporting roles in The Mortal Storm (1940) and H. M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), and less substantial leading roles in Those Were the Days! (1940) and Down in San Diego (1941). She and MGM soon parted ways.

1942–1947: Stardom

In 1941, Granville signed with RKO Pictures[8] and immediately found more substantial supporting roles in The Glass Key (1942) and Now, Voyager (1942), for which she was loaned out to Paramount and Warner Bros. Following her leading role in Seven Miles from Alcatraz (1942), director Edward Dmytryk, soon cast her in RKO's World War II anti-Nazism film Hitler's Children (1943). The film was a commercial and critical success, becoming one of the studio's highest-grossing films of the year, and one of the highest-grossing for both RKO and 1943; it was also reportedly Granville's favorite film of hers.[citation needed] However, the studio relegated her to B-films such as Youth Runs Wild (1944) and The Truth About Murder (1946). She continued to be loaned out to other studios, such as MGM loaned for two Andy Hardy films with Mickey Rooney, Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944) and Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946),[9] as well as a leading role in Song of the Open Road (1944); Universal for The Beautiful Cheat and Senorita from the West (both 1945); and United Artists for Breakfast in Hollywood. Following being loaned out to Monogram Pictures for Suspense (1946) and The Guilty (1947), Granville informally retired from films, only appearing in Strike It Rich (1948) and Guilty of Treason (1950).

1948–1988: Later career

On February 5, 1947, Granville married Jack Wrather at the Bel-Air Hotel, having met him while he produced The Guilty.[10] He formed the Wrather Corporation, and bought the rights to the characters from both The Lone Ranger and Lassie. Granville worked as a producer for several film and television productions featuring these characters, including the 1954 TV series Lassie.[11]

She appeared in the film version of The Lone Ranger in 1956, and made her final screen appearance in a cameo role in The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981).[12] Their children are daughters Molly and Linda, and sons Jack and Christopher. Jack and Molly were from Wrather's previous marriage to Mollie O'Daniel, a daughter of Governor of Texas and U.S. Senator W. Lee O'Daniel.[11] Granville's marriage to Wrather lasted until Wrather's death in 1984, shortly after release of the movie The Magic of Lassie, a movie co-produced by Granville and starring Wrather's friend James Stewart.

In 1949, she appeared with Rod Cameron in the comedy film Strike It Rich, filmed around Tyler, Kilgore, and Lindale in East Texas.


Bonita Granville's grave, next to that of her husband Jack Wrather, at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California

Granville died on October 11, 1988, of lung cancer at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 65.[2][3][4] She was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[13]


Granville has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6607 Hollywood Boulevard, for her contributions to motion pictures.[14] She was honored at the Disneyland Hotel, which she and her husband owned until The Wrather Company was sold to the Walt Disney Company after Granville's death. The Bonita Tower and the Granville's Steak House were named in her honor. In 2011, Disney honored the Wrathers posthumously by inducting them into the Disney Legends.[15]

In 1942, Granville's image was used as the heroine of the novel Bonita Granville and the Mystery of Star Island. The story, written by Kathryn Heisenfelt, was published by Whitman Publishing Company in 1942. The story was written for a young teenaged audience, and is reminiscent of the adventures of Nancy Drew. It is part of a series known as "Whitman Authorized Editions", 16 books published between 1941 and 1947 that featured a film actress as heroine.[16]



Year Title Role Notes
1932 Westward Passage Little Olivia Allen (age 10)
Silver Dollar Liddy Uncredited
1933 Cavalcade Young Fanny
Beauty for Sale Little Girl at Madame Sonia's Uncredited
Little Women Amy's Classmate Uncredited
Cradle Song Carmen
1934 The Life of Vergie Winters Joan Winters as a Child Uncredited
Anne of Green Gables School Girl Uncredited
1935 Ah, Wilderness! Mildred Miller
1936 Song of the Saddle Jen as a Child
These Three Mary Tilford
The Garden of Allah Convent Girl Uncredited
The Plough and the Stars Mollser
1937 Maid of Salem Ann – Their Daughter
Quality Street Isabella Uncredited
Call It a Day Ann Hilton
It's Love I'm After Gracie Kane
1938 White Banners Sally Ward
Merrily We Live Marian Kilbourne
The Beloved Brat Roberta Morgan
My Bill Gwen Colbrook
Hard to Get Connie
Nancy Drew... Detective Nancy Drew
1939 Nancy Drew... Reporter
Nancy Drew... Trouble Shooter
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
The Angels Wash Their Faces Peggy Finnegan
1940 Forty Little Mothers Doris
Those Were the Days! Martha Scroggs
The Mortal Storm Elsa
Third Finger, Left Hand Vicky Sherwood
Escape Ursula
Gallant Sons Kate Pendleton
1941 The Wild Man of Borneo Francine Diamond
The People vs. Dr. Kildare Frances Marlowe
Down in San Diego Betty Haines
H.M. Pulham, Esq. Mary Pulham
1942 Syncopation Kit Latimer
The Glass Key Opal Madvig
Seven Miles from Alcatraz Anne Porter
Now, Voyager June Vale
1943 Hitler's Children Anna Müller
1944 Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble Kay Wilson
Song of the Open Road Bonnie
Youth Runs Wild Toddy Jones
1945 The Beautiful Cheat Alice
Senorita from the West Jeannie Blake
1946 Breakfast in Hollywood Dorothy Larson
The Truth About Murder Christine Allen
Suspense Ronnie
Love Laughs at Andy Hardy Kay Wilson
1947 The Guilty Estelle Mitchell / Linda Mitchell
1948 Strike It Rich Julie Ann Brady
1950 Guilty of Treason Stephanie Varna
1956 The Lone Ranger Welcome Kilgore
1981 The Legend of the Lone Ranger Woman Uncredited - final film role
As Producer
Year Title Notes
1963 Lassie's Great Adventure
1978 The Magic of Lassie (as Bonita Granville Wrather)


Year Title Role Notes
1951 Armstrong Circle Theatre Episode: "That's Simon's Girl"
The Bigelow Theatre Episode: "Make Your Bed"
Somerset Maugham TV Theatre Episode: "Masquerade"
Lux Video Theatre Kitty Episode: "Not Guilty - of Much"
Gruen Guild Playhouse 2 episodes
1952 Episode: "I Saw It Happen"
The Schaefer Century Theatre 2 episodes
Chevron Theatre 2 episodes
The Unexpected Woman Episode: "The Woman Who Left Herself"
1953 Broadway Television Theatre Evelyn Heath Episode: "Guest in the House"
The Ford Television Theatre Margo Foster Episode: "The Son-in-Law"
1954 The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse Episode: "Annual Honeymoon"
1955 Crown Theatre with Gloria Swanson Episode: "The Antique Shop"
The Eddie Cantor Comedy Theatre Pearl Episode: "The Suspicious Husband"
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Ellen Morison Episode:"Sentence to Death"
Climax! Laura Jordan Episode: "The Healer"
1956 Molly Episode: "The Fifth Wheel"
Ethel Barrymore Theater Episode: "Lady Investigator"
Matinee Theater Edna Johnson Episode: "The 25th Hour"
The Fisher Family Episode: "Burden Made Light"
1957 Lux Video Theatre Joan / Anne Episodes: "One Way Passenger" & "Stand-in for Murder"
Science Fiction Theatre Barbara Cameron Episode: "Killer Tree"
The United States Steel Hour Episode: "Shadow in the Sky"
1958 Studio One Ann Episode: "The Fair-Haired Boy"
Target Alice Ward Episode: "Edge of Terror"
1959 Playhouse 90 Mrs. Kirkley Episode: "The Velvet Alley"
1960 Lassie Mrs. Brewster Episode: "The Wrong Gift"
1961 The Best of the Post Widow Episode: "The Valley of the Blue Mountain"
1963-1972 Lassie Narrator
1965 Nancy Hoyt Episode: "Lassie's Teamwork"
1966 Williamsburg tour guide Episode: "Lassie the Voyager: Part 3"
1968 Mrs. Wade Episode: "Hanford's Point: Part 3" Uncredited
As Producer
Year Title Notes
1959-1973 Lassie 374 episodes
1963 Lassie: A Christmas Tail TV Movie
1967 Flight of the Cougar
1968 Lassie: The Adventures of Neeka
1970 Lassie: Well of Love

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1945 Suspense Bank Holiday
1952 Family Theater The Promise[17]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1936 9th Academy Awards Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress These Three Nominated


  1. ^ "Bonita Granville Wrather and Jack Wrather | Biographical Sketch". University of Texas. Retrieved May 5, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c Folkart, Burt A. (October 12, 1988). "Bonita Granville Wrather Dies of Cancer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Flint, Peter B. (October 12, 1988). "Bonita G. Wrather, 65, an Actress and Executive". The New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  4. ^ a b De Atley, Richard (October 12, 1988). "Actress and Philanthropist Dies Of Cancer". AP News. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  5. ^ Granville marriage record accessed 8-3-2015
  6. ^ "Granville, Actor, Dies In Hollywood. Film Comedian Well Known on New York Stage for Many Years. Victim of Pneumonia. Discovered By Ziegfeld. Long Career Included Roles in Minstrel Shows, Circuses and Outstanding Plays" (PDF). The New York Times. October 7, 1936. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  7. ^ Rhea, Rosemary Filmore (2003). That's Just How My Spirit Travels: A Memoir. Unity. ISBN 978-0871592866.
  8. ^ "BONITA GRANVILLE - CONTRACT SIGNED 09/15/1941 CO-SIGNED BY: ROSINA GRANVILLE". Archived from the original on November 10, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  9. ^ "Andy's Girls". Archived from the original on August 1, 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  10. ^ "Bonita Granville Becomes Bride". The New York Times. February 5, 1947. Retrieved January 30, 2015. Bonita Granville, motion-picture actress, was married here today to Jack D. Wrather, Jr. of Dallas, Texas, oilman and film producer. The wedding was at the Bel-Air Hotel. ...
  11. ^ a b "Jack and Bonita Granville Wrather Papers". Online Archive or California. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  12. ^ "Bonita Granville – Biography – Movies & TV –". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2009. Archived from the original on September 10, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  13. ^ Hollywood: The Movie Lover's Guide
  14. ^ "Bonita Granville". Hollywood Walk of Fame. October 25, 2019. Archived from the original on October 19, 2021. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  15. ^ "Bonita Granville Wrather". Walt Disney Archives. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  16. ^ Whitman Authorized Editions for Girls
  17. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 2, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved May 28, 2015 – via access icon

Further reading

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Bonita Granville". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 104–106. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 May 2024, at 22:56
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