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Helen Mack

Helen Mack

Show Count: 24
Series Count: 6
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Born: November 13, 1913
Old Time Radio, Rock Island, Illinois, USA
Died: August 13, 1986, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
An American actress. Mack started her career as a child actress in silent films, moving on to Broadway plays, and touring the vaudeville circuit. Her greater success as an actress was as a leading lady in the 1930s. Eventually Mack transitioned into performing on radio, and then into writing, directing, and producing some of the best known radio shows during the Golden Age of Radio.
Helen Mack, born Helen McDougall was the daughter of William George McDougall, a barber, and Regina (née Lenzer) McDougall, who had a repressed desire to become an actress. She obtained her education (1921–29) as a youth at the Professional Children's School of New York City. Vera Gordon was a friend who helped her along as a child actress. She appeared on Broadway, in vaudeville (1926–28) and in stock, as well as in silent films. Mack debuted on stage in The Idle Inn with Jacob Benami. She performed withRoland Young in The Idle Inn and toured America (1928–29) with William Hodge in Straight Through The Door.

Film actress

Her Fox Film screen test came in March 1931 and within three weeks she was on the studio lot. Mack began her film career, first billed as Helen Macks, in Success. The motion picture featured Brandon Tynan, Naomi Childers, and Mary Astor. In Zaza, Mack worked with Gloria Swanson. She also had a small role in D. W. Griffith's last film The Struggle (1931).

She made her debut as a leading lady opposite Victor McLaglen in While Paris Sleeps (1932) and was cast with John Boles in his initial Fox Film venture, Scotch Valley. Mack played in several westerns in the early 1930s. Among these are Fargo Express (1933) with Ken Maynard and The California Trail with Buck Jones.

Reviewer Norbert Lusk commented favorably regarding Mack's performance in the 1933 motion picture, Sweepings (1933). He said "she has a lively personality, appreciated all the more in a heavy, loomy picture, and she plays her shopgirl role with understanding and finesse." Prior to this film Mack's career had declined for three years. Three of her productions failed. One reason for this career downturn is that she was usually a character star. Her employers had used Mack as an ingenue. RKO Radio Pictures Inc. offered her a second chance as Mamie Donahue in Sweepings.

She may be best remembered for the 1933 movie sequel The Son of Kong, as Harold Lloyd's sister in The Milky Way (1936) and as the suicidal Molly Malloy in His Girl Friday(1940). She also played an important role as Tanya in Merian C. Cooper's production of H. Rider Haggard's She (1935) opposite Randolph Scott, Nigel Bruce, and Helen Gahagan(who did the title role as She, who must be obeyed). Other roles for Mack included the bank-robbing ingenue opposite Richard Cromwell and Lionel Atwill in 1937's The Wrong Road for RKO.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Mack worked as a producer and director of radio programs including such series as Richard Diamond, Private Detective and The Saint. As TV succeeded radio as the prevalent entertainment medium, she continued to write plays and TV episodes until her death.

In 1949, she collaborated with Roger Price in writing the children's record Gossamer Wump, narrated by Frank Morgan and released by Capitol Records.

Personal life

Mack married lawyer Charles Irwin in San Francisco, California, in February 1935 at age 21. Irwin was a bankruptcy trustee for Fox Film West Coast Theaters. By this time Mack was under contract to Paramount Pictures. They had a son in 1936 and divorced in 1938.

In 1940 she married Thomas McAvity in Santa Barbara, California. McAvity later became Vice President in Charge of Television Network for NBC. They had one son. McAvity died in 1974.

In 1986, Mack died after a battle with cancer.

Source: Wikipedia

Alan Young Show, TheAlan Young Show, The
Show Count: 52
Broadcast History: 28 June 1944 to 20 September 1944, 3 October 1944 to 28 June 1946, 20 September 1946 to 30 May 1947, and 11 January 1949 to 5 July 1949
Cast: Alan Young, Jean Gillespie, Doris Singleton, Ed Begley, Louise Erickson, Jim Backus, Nicodemus Stewart, Hal March, Ken Christy
Director: Helen Mack
Producer: Helen Mack
The series began on NBC Radio as a summer replacement situation comedy in 1944, featuring vocalist Bea Wain. It then moved to ABC Radio with Jean Gillespie portraying Young's girlfriend Betty. The program was next broadcast by NBC for a 1946-47 run and was off in 1948. When it returned to NBC in 1949, Louise Erickson played Betty and Jim Backus was heard as snobbish playboy Hubert Updike III.
Beulah Show, TheBeulah Show, The
Show Count: 16
Broadcast History: 2 July 1945 to 17 March 1946, 24 February 1947 to 20 August 1947, 24 November 1947 to 10 April 1953 and 28 September 1953 to 28 May 1954
Sponsor: Procter & Gamble, General Foods, General Motors
Cast: Lois Corbett, Marlin Hurt, Hattie McDaniel, Lillian Randolph, Amanda Randolph, Hugh Studebaker, Mary Jane Croft, Henry Blair, Ruby Dandridge, Ernie Whitman, Sammy Ogg, Bob Corley, Butterfly McQueen, Nicodemus Stewart, Roy Glenn, Jess Kirkpatrick, John Brown, Louise Beavers, Vivian Dandridge, Dorothy Dandridge
Director: Tom McKnight, Steve Hatos
Producer: Helen Mack, Tom McKnight, Steve Hatos
An American situation-comedy series that ran on CBS Radio from 1945 to 1954, and on ABC Television from 1950 to 1952. The show is notable for being the first sitcom to star an African American actress.
Date With Judy, ADate With Judy, A
Show Count: 39
Broadcast History: 24 June 1941 to 16 September 1941, 23 June 1942 to 15 September 1942, 18 January 1944 to 4 January 1949 and 13 October 1949 to 25 May 1950
Cast: Lois Corbett, Ann Gillis, Paul McGrath, Margaret Brayton, Tommy Bond, Lurene Tuttle, Dellie Ellis, Stanley Farrar, Louse Erickson, Joseph Kearns, John Borwn, Bea Benaderet, Georgia Backus, Myra Marsh, Dix Davis, Harry Harvey, Richard Crenna, Sandra Gould
Director: Tom McAvity, Helen Mack
Producer: Tom McAvity, Helen Mack, Robert Holmes, Clara Groves
Meet Corliss ArcherMeet Corliss Archer
Show Count: 8
Broadcast History: 7 January 1943 to 30 September 1956
Cast: Priscilla Lyon, Irvin Lee, Dexter Franklin, Bill Christy, David Hughes, Burt Boyar, Frank Martin, Gloria Holden, Irene Tedrow, Norman Field, Mary Wickes, Janet Waldo, Lugene Sandars, Sam Edwards, Fred Shields, Tommy Bernard, Kenny Godkin, Bebe Young, Barbara Whiting, Dolores Crane
Director: Bert Prager, Helen Mack
Although Meet Corliss Archer was CBS's answer to NBC's popular A Date with Judy, it was also broadcast by NBC in 1948 as a summer replacement for The Bob Hope Show. From October 3, 1952 to June 26, 1953, it aired on ABC, finally returning to CBS. Despite the program's long run, less than 24 episodes are known to exist.
Myrt and MargeMyrt and Marge
Show Count: 111
Broadcast History: 1931 to 1946
Cast: Alice Yourman, Helen Mack, Myrtle Vail, Donna Damerel, Alice Goodkin
Director: Bobby Brown, John Gunn
Broadcast: 2nd November 1936
Added: Jul 25 2010