Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Singin' in the Rain" Actress Jean Hagen 1977 Chapel of the Pines

Jean Hagen (August 3, 1923 – August 29, 1977) was an American actress best known for her role as Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain (1952) (below) for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and for her Emmy Award nominated role as Margaret Williams on the television series Make Room For Daddy. [1]

Early life

Hagen was born as Jean Shirley Verhagen in Chicago, to Christian Verhagen (born August 10, 1890 – died April 1983), a Dutch immigrant, and his Chicago-born wife, Marie. The family moved to Elkhart, Indiana, when she was 12, and she subsequently graduated from Elkhart High School. She studied drama at Northwestern University, where she was a roommate of actress Patricia Neal, graduating in 1945,[2] and worked as a theater usherette.



Hagen began her show business career in radio in the 1940s, performing in Light of the World, Hollywood Story, and other programs.[3] Using her maiden name (Jean Verhagen), she played Betty Webster on Those Websters.[4]


Hagen first appeared on Broadway in Swan Song. She also acted in Another Part of the Forest, Ghosts, Born Yesterday,[3][5] and The Traitor[6]

Film and television

Her film debut was as a comical femme fatale in Adam's Rib (above) in 1949. The Asphalt Jungle (1950) (below) provided Hagen with her first starring role beside Sterling Hayden, with excellent reviews, playing "Doll" Conover, a woman who sticks by criminal Dix's side until the bitter end. 

She appeared in the film noir Side Street (1950) (below) playing a gangster's sincere, but none-too-bright, nightclub-singer girlfriend.

Hagen is best remembered for her comic performance in Singin' in the Rain as the vain and talentless silent movie star Lina Lamont; she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

By 1953, she had joined the cast of the television sitcom Make Room for Daddy (above). As the first wife of Danny Thomas, Hagen received three Emmy Award nominations, but after three seasons, she grew dissatisfied and left the series. Thomas, who also produced the show, reportedly did not appreciate Jean's departing the successful series, and her character was killed off rather than recast. This was the first TV character to be killed off in a family sitcom.[citation needed] Marjorie Lord was cast a year later as Danny's second wife and played opposite Thomas successfully for the remainder of the series.

Hagen starred in the 1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season 3, Episode 7, entitled "Enough Rope for Two" as a woman accompanied by two thieves trying to retrieve stolen money from a desert mine shaft. In 1960, she appeared as Elizabeth in the episode "Once Upon a Knight" of CBS's anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson, and guest-starred on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show (below).

Although she made frequent guest appearances in various television series, Hagen was unable to successfully resume her film career. After appearing with Fred MacMurray in the family comedy The Shaggy Dog, for the remainder of her career she played supporting roles, such as Marguerite LeHand, personal secretary to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Sunrise at Campobello (1960), and the friend of Bette Davis in Dead Ringer (1964). In the 1960s, Hagen's health began to decline and she spent many years hospitalized or under medical care.

In 1976, she made a comeback of sorts playing character roles in episodes of the television series Starsky and Hutch and The Streets of San Francisco, and made her final film appearance in the 1977 television movie Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn.

Personal life

Jean Hagen married Tom Seidel on June 12, 1947, in Brentwood, and proceeded to have two children, Christine Patricia (born August 26, 1950) and Aric Phillip (August 19, 1952-September 9, 2012). After a marriage full of domestic violence, she divorced Seidel on November 1, 1965, in Los Angeles.


Hagen died of esophageal cancer on August 29, 1977, at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital[3] and was intombed in Chapel of the Pines Crematory.


Hagen was nominated for a 1956 Emmy Award in the "Best actress (continuing performance)" category.[7] She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1502 Vine Street for her contributions to television.


1. Obituary Variety, September 7, 1977, page 111.
2. "Northwestern Co-Eds Train For The Stage; Inspired By Achievements Of Some Grads". Lubbock Evening Journal. January 12, 1950. p. 11. 
3. "Jean Hagen, former actress, dies at 54". The Lowell Sun. August 31, 1977. p. 43. 
4. "'Those Websters,' American Family Heard Fridays at 9:30 P.M. on WHP". Harrisburg Telegraph. March 3, 1945. p. 15. 
5. "Jean Hagen Is Delighted To Get Bad Woman Role". Corsicana Daily Sun. May 6, 1955. p. 9. 
6. "Broadway Openings: The Traitor". Billboard. April 9, 1949. p. 57. 
7. "'Emmy' Award Nominations Announced" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 27, 1956. p. 93. 
8. Kirby, Walter (February 10, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 38. 2015

TV, 1957, Madge Griffin, "Enough Rope for Two", Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

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