Monday, August 25, 2014

Mr. B's Birthday

Happy birthday to film and television star Don DeFore, born 101 years ago today, on August 25, 1913. Perhaps best-remembered as George Baxter, alleged boss of TV's Hazel, DeFore also had a recurring role in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in the 1950s, and before that a thriving movie career.

DeFore is looking aghast (again) at Hazel (Shirley Booth).
As everyone including its top-billed star readily acknowledged, DeFore was an integral element in Hazel's success. "I admit it was pretty strange at first," he said during the show's run. "Here was Shirley Booth, the great and Oscar-winning Shirley Booth (Come Back, Little Sheba), as Hazel, and here I was shouting at her in the role of her boss. This Baxter is quite a guy. At the office he's a lawyer, successful, logical. Then every night he comes home to Hazel, the most illogical thing he ever ran into. Total frustration!" DeFore played that frustration beautifully, giving Hazel a worthy adversary yet never letting his character become unlikable or unkind. A family man himself, DeFore worked long and hard to take care of his wife and five children.

But to focus only on Hazel would be overlooking DeFore's accomplishments as an actor in dozens of feature films. One of my favorites is the holiday-themed It Happened on 5th Avenue. If you haven't seen it, and you'd like to celebrate Christmas with a warm, endearing movie, put it on your to-view list this year. Other film credits include Romance on the High Seas, A Guy Named Joe, and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. Mr. DeFore died in 1993, at the age of eighty, but is still fondly remembered by many fans, as seen in such Facebook groups as The Don DeFore Fan Club.

1 comment:

  1. Do you think Hazel was sort of an Amelie Bedelia for grownups?