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Sonia Darrin
The Big Sleep - Behind the scenes 02.JPG
Darrin is second from the left in still from The Big Sleep (1946)
Sonia Paskowitz

(1924-06-16)June 16, 1924
Galveston, Texas, U.S.
DiedJuly 19, 2020(2020-07-19) (aged 96)
New York City, U.S.
Years active1941–early 1950s
Spouse(s)Sidney Sircus (February 1951–September 1952; annulled[1]
Jacob Aronov (1954–?); divorced[2][3]
Bill Reese (?–c. 1979); divorced[4]
Children4 (including Mason Reese)

Sonia Darrin (born Sonia Paskowitz; June 16, 1924 – July 19, 2020) was an American film actress, best known for her role as Agnes Lowzier in The Big Sleep (1946).[5]

Early years

Darrin was born to Louis and Rose Paskowitz, the New York-born off-spring of Jewish emigrants from Russia, who lived in Galveston, Texas.[3] She had two brothers, Adrian and Dorian.[6] Her father operated a clothing store in Galveston. Around 1940, the family moved to Los Angeles, California.[7]


The family lived in San Diego for a period, during which her dancing teacher was Adolph Bolm. When Bolm was asked to choreograph The Corsican Brothers (1941), he used the entire class. This led Darrin to be interviewed by LeRoy Prinz, the dancing director at Warner Brothers, leading to a small role in The Hard Way (1943).[3] She also danced in the film Lady in the Dark (1944).[7]

Darrin's best known role was that of femme fatale Agnes Lowzier in Howard Hawks's film The Big Sleep (1946), in which she plays a paramour of minor Los Angeles gangster Joe Brody (played by Louis Jean Heydt). Notwithstanding several scenes in which Agnes trades quips with Humphrey Bogart's character, Darrin received no onscreen credit for her work in The Big Sleep; this despite the fact that she had already been credited by The New York Times in a captioned promotional photo published five days before the film 's opening,[8][9] and had been the guest of honor at a promotional event held on August 14 at the Pelham Heath Inn in the Bronx,[10] (presumably organized by her agent Arthur Pine,[11] who also represented the venue).[12][13] Darrin learned years later that this snub had resulted from a heated dispute between Pine and studio chief Jack Warner.[3] On October 18, less than 2 months after the film's premiere, the New York Daily News reported that Darrin and Pine had collaborated on an unofficial Big Sleep tie-in song, which was set to premiere the following day on a live broadcast on WOR.[14] Pine's best efforts notwithstanding, neither this broadcast nor the August 14 dinner appears to have had any appreciable effect on Darrin's ongoing lack of recognition.[a]

Several years later, Darrin did finally receive an onscreen credit for her signature performance, when she recreated the role of Agnes in a television adaptation which aired on September 25, 1950 on Robert Montgomery Presents.[16] She also worked with Ed Wynn and Alan Young on their early television programs.[7]

Personal life

All three of Darrin's marriages ended via either annulment or divorce: the first, to dentist Sidney Sircus, lasted 19 months.[1] She later wed plastic surgeon Jacob Aronoff—the father of her three eldest children (two sons and a daughter)—and theatrical designer/marketing services company president William "Bill" Reese, with whom she parented the former child actor Mason Reese.[3] Darrin's final two public appearances were on the The Mike Douglas Show in the 1970s (as Sonia Reese),[17] and in a documentary film about her brother, Dorian, in 2007.[18]

She resided on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for over 50 years.[6] Darrin died of natural causes in New York City on July 19, 2020 at the age of 96.[19] She was the last surviving cast member of The Big Sleep[6] after Dorothy Malone died in January 2018.


Year Title Role Notes
1941 It Started with Eve Nightclub Patron Uncredited
1941 The Corsican Brothers Opera Spectator Uncredited
1942 My Gal Sal Chorus Girl Uncredited
1943 The Hard Way Chorus Girl Uncredited
1943 Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man Villager at Festival Uncredited
1943 The North Star Dancing Peasant Uncredited
1944 Lady in the Dark Office Girl Uncredited
1946 The Big Sleep Agnes Lowzier Uncredited
1947 Bury Me Dead Helen Lawrence
1948 I, Jane Doe Nurse Uncredited
1949 Caught Miss Chambers Uncredited
1950 Federal Agent at Large Mildred


  1. ^ Indeed, one could argue Darrin would have been better served simply seeking out her six-year-old self and the good luck emblem/party favor once fashioned for a fellow Galvestonian.[15]


  1. ^ a b Albelli, Alfred (September 18, 1952). "Sircus Life Not for Her, Wife Decides: Asks Out". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  2. ^ "Jacob Aronoff: New York Marriages, 1950-2017". MyHeritage. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e Times staff (August 8, 2020). "Sonia Darrin: Sassy Hollywood Actress who traded wisecracks with Humphrey Bogart". The Times. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  4. ^ Goldstein, Jonathan (March 24, 2015)"Why is Mason Reese Crying?". Gimlet. Retrieved September 15, 2020. "By 1977 Mason’s dad would begin spending more and more time at the company he started, and eventually he’d convert part of his office into a living space where he could spend nights. In his early teens, around the time the commercial offers started to dry up, Mason’s parents would divorce and Mason would move into the office with his dad."
  5. ^ "Sonia Paskowitz in the 1940 United States Census".
  6. ^ a b c Lumenick, Lou (February 17, 2016). "Meet the 92-year old New York woman who once starred with Humphrey Bogart". New York Post. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Isle Girl in Gotham Lonely for Seawall". The Galveston Daily News. Texas, Galveston. August 20, 1950. p. 5. Retrieved December 24, 2016 – via open access
  8. ^ Times staff (August 18, 1946). "One Way of Entertaining Uninvited Guests". The New York Times
  9. ^ Eagle staff (August 18, 1946). "The Big Sleep". The Brooklyn Eagle.
  10. ^ Schneider, Ben (August 14, 1946). "Night Clubs". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  11. ^ Lait, Jack (August 7, 1946). "Broadway and Elsewhere: Mostly About Interesting People; Seen Together". The Tampa Bay Times.
  12. ^ Eagle staff (October 5, 1944). "Arthur Pine Associates to Handle Inn Publicity". The Brooklyn Eagle. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  13. ^ Walker, Danton (May 13, 1947). "Gossip of the Nation" The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  14. ^ Gross, Ben (October 18, 1946) "Listening In". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  15. ^ Reedy, Sally (February 20, 1980). "Looking Back: 50 Years ago". The Galveston Daily News. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  16. ^ "Television—KSD-TV". St. Louis Post-Gazette. St. Louis, Missouri. September 25, 1950. p. 33. Retrieved September 8, 2020 – via
  17. ^ Times staff (October 7, 1973). "TV Week: Tuesday". The Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ Schuler, Ron (March 25, 2009). "The Disappearance of Agnes Lowzier". Ron Schuler's Parlour Tricks. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  19. ^ Barnes, Mike (July 29, 2020). "Sonia Darrin, Femme Fatale in Bogart's 'The Big Sleep,' Dies at 96". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 8, 2020.

Further reading



External links

This page was last edited on 10 April 2021, at 15:53
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