(Note: Actor names are linked with the Internet Movie Database.)
ETHEL WATERS (Berenice). Miss Waters, unrivaled as a singer of popular songs and spirituals, established herself as one of the finest dramatic actresses in the American theatre with her performances as Hagar in “Mamba’s Daughters” and Petunia Jackson in “Cabin in the Sky.” Born in Chester, Pennsylvania, she was reared in Philadelphia. After winning an amateur night contest in a cellar cabaret she made her singing debut at the age of seventeen in a Baltimore vaudeville theatre at the magnificent salary of nine dollars per week. For many years Miss Waters was a favorite singer of blues in night clubs from Alabama to Harlem, then came to Broadway in a revue entitled “Africana,” wherein she sang everything from “Eli Eli” to “St. Louis Blues” and proved herself a star of the first magnitude. Lew Leslie presented her in “Blackbirds” and “Rhapsody in Black,” and then she introduced “Heat Wave” and “Supper Time” in Irving Berlin’s “As Thousands Cheer,” sharing honors with Clifton Webb, Helen Brodcrick and the late Marilyn Miller. She was co-starred with Beatrice Lillie in “At Home Abroad,” after which came “Mamba’s Daughters” in 1939. Miss Waters sang “Am I Blue” in one of Hollywood’s first talking pictures, “On with the Show,” and recently in “Pinky.” Miss Waters turned down numerous Hollywood offers to return to the legitimate theatre in “The Member of the Wedding.” Ethel Waters’ biography, “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” is a current best-seller.
BETTY LOU HOLLAND (Frankie Addams) is a southern girl who has already had a distinguished career on the stage. Getting her share of stock experience with such well-known companies as the Whitefield Players of New Hampshire, the Fairhaven Players (Mass.) and the Easthampton Players (Long Island), Betty Lou got prominent roles in “Call Me Mister,” “Annie, Get Your Gun,” “Goodbye, My Fancy” and “The Devil’s Disciple.” On TV she is known as Agnes in The Aldrich Family.
BRANDON DE WILDE (John Henry West) celebrated his ninth birthday recently. Although John Henry is his first theatrical assignment, Brandon has known stage doors and stage talk all his life, as his parents are both of the theatre. He won the Donaldson award for the best debut performance of the year.