Spring Byington

  1. Fay Holden, You’re Only Young Once, 1937.      A Family Affair bred the Hardy Family saga. But the parents of Mickey Rooney’s young Andy were changed for this first sequel. Due mainly to the ill-health of Lionel Barrymore,  Lewis Stone reigned as Judge Hardy in Carvel, Idaho, for 14 films across eleven years, with the British Fay as  the all-American Ma – a role Byington regained  in the 1936-40 Jones Family series.
  2. Peggy Wood,  The Housekeeper’s Daughter, 1938.      Veteran comedy-maker Hal Roach want to spring Byington from Fox for this caper about Joan Bennett as a gangster’s moll visiting Momma. Victor Mature debuted with, at times, an oddly highly-pitched voice. Before voice lessons?
  3. Hedda Hopper, Reap The Wild Wind, 1941.     All hands on deck – and fathoms below – for a boisterous CB DeMille adventure classic. With a change of Aunt Henrietta. This was Hopper’s last role as an actress. From hereon, she was only ever seen as her gossip columnist self in movies. 
  4. Lela E Rogers, The Major and The Minor, 1941.   Director Billy Wilder was buying Byington as Ginger Rogers’ mother, until she suggested her own Mom. Although she had eight of her  scripts filmed,  this was her one and only acting job. 
  5. Marsha Hunt, The Human Comedy, 1942.      Change of Mrs Steed in the William Saroyan script – which he turned into a best-selling novel. The 2014 re-make, Ithaca, marked the directing debut of… Meg Ryan.
  6. Marjorie Main, Gentle Annie, 1944.       Starting in October 1942, shooting was shuttered after four weeks when director Woody Van Dyke fell ill. Two years on, with Andrew Marton helming, Byington was replaced by her long-time lover, Marjorie – really giving birth to her future Ma Kettle character  in the role of Annie Goss.
  7. Cora Witherspoon, Young Widow, 1945.       Young leads came and went – Joan Fontaine, Ida Lupino and Marie “The Body”  McDonald. So did the veteran Byington – substituted by Witherspoon, best remembered for Just Around The Corner with Shirley Temple in 1937 and the WC Fields classic, The Bank Dick, 1939.

 Birth year: 1886Death year: 1971Other name: Casting Calls:  7