Hello and thanks for your interest in my contributions to and/or edits to the article(s) at hand. Please feel free to correct my entries as you see fit ("just back it up with facts," like my former high school English teacher, Rose Gilbert, of Palisades High School used to say!)
FYI--I love Wikipedia. I love the opportunity it affords me to impart to others my storehouse of movie trivia and other trivia that I have collected over a lifetime. I love that Wikipedia lets me share my knowledge about the people and places and things that I and my family have had the pleasure of knowing and experiencing.
I am a vintage movie fan extraordinaire--my wife and friends have been to enough of my annual Oscar Night parties to confirm this as fact. I am definitely addicted to Wikipedia and I love the forum it allows me to expand my knowledge base and share choice tidbits of Tinseltown dish and dirt. And I love it when something I have written is challenged by someone else--all in the name of truth. Wikipedia rocks--what a great resource for film fans like me.
Anyway, my primary interest is in the stars of old Hollywood. Specifically:
--Richard Cromwell. He was my late relative, specifically, I believe according to Emily Post, my "second cousin once-removed" on my mother's side. Cromwell was "Cousin Roy" Radabaugh to our family. My mother, Sally Stocking Keane, met him many times when she was a child at Stocking family gatherings held at Cromwell's Hollywood Hills home in the 30s and 40s. Roy and my aunt, Marguerite Stocking Buttrey, were very close friends. Roy's sister, Opal Radabaugh Putnam, was friendly with my grandparents, Lowell and Ethel Stocking. I spent many a lovely afternoon in the 80's reminiscing with Opal and my grandfather Lowell (nickname: Sox) at Opal's North Hollywood home, purchased for her and her late husband by Roy. Roy's grandfather on his mother's side: Frank Stocking and my great-grandfather: Ellsworth Stocking were brothers. Thus, my grandfather, Sox and Cromwell's mother, Faye Stocking Radabaugh, were first cousins. The Stocking family hailed from Oshkosh, WI in the 1800s by way of Hartford, CT in the 1700s, by way of England in the 1600s. Today, I am the proud owner of many fascinating items of Hollywood memorabilia relating to Cromwell/Radabaugh's 20-year film career. My prized possession is the signed photo from Roy inscribed to my grandparents: "To Socks and Ethel, from your Cousin Roy." Further, in 2004 I finally connected for the first time in person with Dan Putnam, Opal' son and Cromwell/Radabaugh's nephew, who coincidentally, lives near me in the Conejo Valley in California. My cousin Dan Putnam (my third cousin once removed?) has an even more extensive collection of Richard Cromwell memorabilia than I do.
--Angela Lansbury. I have, by the way, corresponded over the years with Angela Lansbury because of the family connection (she is a lovely and very gracious lady). By happenstance and serendipity, Ms. Lansbury has graciously agreed to serve as 2005 Honoree for the April Gala of a charitable organization that I used to be involved with in West L.A. For this, I am eternally indebted to the extraordinarily talented and generous Ms. Lansbury.
Other notables that I am very interested in include:
--Anne Baxter and Edith Head. (I met them both many times as a teenager at Miss Baxter's; I grew up with Melissa Gault, Anne's daughter in Brentwood, CA. My Aunt Judie Raiford, of Roswell, GA. is a friend of Melissa Gault's to this day.) Baxter and Head were by far the most glamorous and sophisticated women I have ever known.
--Phyllis Diller and Cloris Leachman. (I met them both and many other film and t.v. personalities many times as the teenage delivery boy for the Country Mart Pharmacy in Brentwood, CA. in the 70s.) Both women were just divine and charming to a pleasure to serve.
--Colleen Moore. My grandfather on my dad's side was first married for a time in the 1930s to a Broadway actress whose best friend was Miss Moore. Miss Moore stood up with my grandfather and his first wife at their wedding.
--Richard Dix. My grandmother on my mother's side, Ethel Revine Stocking, had an uncle named Ross and a cousin (Ross's son?) named Harold and both were very good friends with Dix. Our family has many annual 1940s era Xmas cards from Uncle Ross and Cousin Harold showing them with Mr. Dix. My mother remembers meeting Mr. Dix on a regular basis in her youth.
--Marilyn Monroe. Specifically, Eunice Murray, the "nurse" whom discovered Miss Monroe dead in 1962. Mrs. Murray lived in my grandparent's guest house in the '60s and '70s and she often took care of my sister and I, especially during the period of my parent's divorce. She was very kind and very interesting and she was accomplished in many ways, but to this day, I wonder about her. For example, Many days after Monroe's passing in 1962, when Murray attempted to cash her last paycheck from Monroe, it was declined and marked "deceased." This check, one of the last that Monroe ever wrote on her Roxbury Drive Branch account at City National Bank in Beverly Hills, is today on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum in Hollywood, CA. Further, it is a documented fact that Mrs. Murray, a divorced woman of very modest means, left the country on a lenghty transatlantic cruise voyage and was gone for most of the Fall of 1962 (in fact, I remember Murray showing me her photos of this "vacation" when I was a child!)
--Jeanne Crain. I had the pleasure and honor to know her and serve her in a personal and professional business-related capacity during the last ten years until her passing. I have known and worked with four of her five children and their spouses under the circumstances during this time as well. Mrs. Brinkman was a lovely, gracious, beautiful woman. Of these people, I have to say that a more wonderful and caring family I have never encountered! I will always treasure my encounters with these Brinkmans!
--And yes, I even spoke with the late Mr. Paul Brinkman, Sr. on an annual basis. (though I wouldn't necessarily include him with the rest of the family in my aforementioned comments!).
I welcome your questions and comments here. Thanks again, Bill Keane IV (aka Keane4).
P.S. Here is additional trivia about my late cousin Richard Cromwell...
- Cromwell's height was 5 feet, 10 inches, according to 1932's Picture Show Annual (Amalgamated Press, London).
- * Cromwell was a gourmet cook. According to Kim Nichols King, of Carlsbad, California, many a wonderful dinner party was enjoyed by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Nichols in the 1950s at Cromwell's home. For example, once in particular, The Nichols' enjoyed Roy's specially prepared delicacy of Frogs' Legs in the French-style. - * According to his niece, Joan Radabaugh, Cromwell was a very heavy smoker, which may have contributed to his early demise. Nevertheless, he was always the gracious host and as such he took great care to empty the ashtrays in his home regularly, almost to the point of obsession. - * Cromwell's father Ralph R. Radabaugh's claim to fame was his patented invention of the "amusement park swing" ride, called the "Monoflyer", of which a variation can still be seen in use at most carnivals today. - * Cromwell was always extremely generous to his mother and siblings and their spouses with the sudden wealth he enjoyed from his career ascendancy. Cromwell bought, or helped to buy, many of them a home of their own during the worst of the Great Depression and later. For example, his older sister Opal and her husband, a studio-craftsman, bought their first home in Long Beach thanks in part to bother Roy's help. Opal later lived in North Hollywood for more than 45 years until her passing in 1998. - * Cromwell's maternal ancestors, the Stockings, originally hailed from England in the late 1600s and helped settle the town of Hartford, CT. Years ago, a statue purportedly stood in Hartford of one of the Stockings astride a horse with a sword held high, though its whereabouts today is unknown. - * Cromwell's mother, Fay B. Stocking Radabaugh, was raised by his grandparents, Frank and Eugenie Stocking, on a farm in Oshkosh, WI. The farm was co-owned by Cromwell's great uncle Ellsworth Stocking, who raised his own large family there too. Cromwell remained close with his Stocking cousins throughout his life. Most of these family members also moved to Southern California in the 1920s and 1930s. The large, close-knit clan held many a family reunion during this period, with photographs of the occasions attesting to both Cromwell's participation and enjoyment.