Sheree North
Actress
Sheree North
Dawn Shirley Bethel, better known as Sheree North, was an American film and television actress, dancer, and occasional singer. She is probably best-known for being Twentieth Century-Fox's alternative to Marilyn Monroe during the 1950s. She starred in films such as: How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955) and The Lieutenant Wore Skirts (1956), before the studio lost interest in her and released her in 1958.
Biography
Sheree North's personal information overview.
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WATCHLIST; Mishaps in Politicking, Single-Parenthood And Finding a Partner
NYTimes - about 6 years
Single Dads On the still rarely completed journey from Web series to television show, ''Single Dads'' has a significant head start. It is being developed for the slightly bigger screen, as a sort of test case, by an actual television company: Fox International Channels. Lots of television networks produce original content for their own Web sites,
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Critic's Choice: New DVD's
NYTimes - over 10 years
The Jayne Mansfield Collection ''Anatomy is destiny,'' Freud wrote, and although he apparently did not have Jayne Mansfield in mind (having died 17 years before she had her first major part in a movie), he really should have. It was Mansfield's anatomy that made her a star -- she claimed a 41-inch bust line and a 22-inch waist, though some scholars
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NYTimes article
Sheree North, 72, Prolific Star Of Stage, Television and Films
NYTimes - over 11 years
Sheree North, a platinum blond bombshell in the 1950's who later became a prominent character actress in television series including ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show'' and ''Seinfeld,'' died here on Friday. She was 72. The cause was complications of surgery, said her daughter Dawn Bessire. Ms. North initially was groomed as a glamour girl who could
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New DVD's
NYTimes - about 12 years
'Charley Varrick' Don Siegel's 1973 film ''Charley Varrick'' begins with Walter Matthau in geriatric makeup that eerily causes him to resemble his future self in the hideous ''Grumpy Old Men'' movies. But codger comedy is not the order of the day in this perfect genre piece. The disguise turns out to be part of an elaborate ruse to rob a small-town
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Review/Film; A Lawyer, Her Client And a Porn Film Studio
NYTimes - over 25 years
When the main character of a movie is a female lawyer, you can be sure she has dangerously bad taste in men. In the slick, efficient thriller "Defenseless," the lawyer is Barbara Hershey, and the client she is fooling around with owns a building where pornographic movies are made. Steven (J. T. Walsh) claims to be innocent of any crime and ignorant
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Review/Television; Latter-Day B Pictures For a Smaller Screen
NYTimes - over 25 years
Going to the movies via television is not very different from going to movie houses a few decades ago, when the bill of fare consisted of two or maybe even three features. There was the main attraction, and then there was the equivalent of potluck. The latter is what you get, more often than not, in made-for-television movies. Oddly enough, the
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A Strong Man Runs Amok
NYTimes - almost 29 years
LEAD: There was an intriguing half-minute during a showing of ''Maniac Cop'' yesterday, when the film broke. The flaring orange on screen at least livened up this amateurish effort about a monstrously strong uniformed policeman - or is he a civilian in costume? - who roams the streets of New York killing innocent people. There was an intriguing
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Review/Television; 2 Shows for Young Viewers About Homelessness
NYTimes - almost 29 years
LEAD: Will younger viewers pull themselves away from music videos long enough to consider the subject of the homeless? Two series aimed at young audiences are giving the possibility a shot this week. This afternoon at 4 o'clock, CBS's ''Schoolbreak Special'' series is presenting ''Home Sweet Homeless,'' and tomorrow at 4 P.M., ABC's ''Afterschool
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BROADWAY
NYTimes - almost 30 years
LEAD: HOW'S this for starters? The Seventh Regiment Armory will be the theater, the $75 to $125 tickets will include champagne and an elaborate ''intermezzo'' (formerly known as intermission) buffet, and the performers will roam from room to room, some here, some there, taking with them various members of the audience. HOW'S this for starters? The
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Sheree North
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2005
    Age 73
    On November 4, 2005, North died during cancer surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
    More Details Hide Details She was 73 years old. At the time of her death, North was married to her fourth husband, Phillip Norman. Theatre World Award Emmy Award
  • FIFTIES
  • 1988
    Age 56
    In 1988, she gave a poignant performance in the film "Maniac Cop" that got North some long-deserved recognition.
    More Details Hide Details However, it didn't appear to lead to more substantial roles. In the 1990s, she appeared as Kramer's mother, Babs Kramer, in two episodes of the sitcom Seinfeld. North's last onscreen role came in John Landis' film Susan's Plan (1998).
  • 1983
    Age 51
    In 1983, she appeared in the ensemble cast of the Steven Bochco series Bay City Blues.
    More Details Hide Details The hour-long drama series aired eight episodes. North later appeared on two episodes of The Golden Girls as Blanche Devereaux's sister, Virginia.
  • FORTIES
  • 1980
    Age 48
    During the 1980–81 season North starred in I'm a Big Girl Now with Diana Canova, Danny Thomas, and Martin Short.
    More Details Hide Details The series aired 19 episodes.
  • 1975
    Age 43
    She co-starred with Sheldon Leonard in the short-lived CBS sitcom, Big Eddie in 1975.
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    She had supporting roles in two Charles Bronson movies, Breakout in 1975, and Telefon in 1977.
    More Details Hide Details In 1980, she played Marilyn Monroe's mother in the made-for-television film Marilyn: The Untold Story. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, North appeared in guest spots on Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco, McMillan and Wife, Matlock, and Magnum, P.I.. She played Lou Grant's girlfriend on several episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1966
    Age 34
    After an eight-year absence from film acting, North accepted a lead role in the B-movie science-fiction film Destination Inner Space in 1966.
    More Details Hide Details The film opened to only a minor release in 1966, and has rarely been seen since. North co-starred with Elvis Presley in one of his final films, The Trouble with Girls (1969). Other notable performances were in Don Siegel's Charley Varrick (1973) and another crime film, The Outfit (also 1973). She appeared briefly as John Wayne's long-lost love in the actor's final film, The Shootist (1976).
  • 1963
    Age 31
    Her third marriage was to psychologist Gerhardt Sommer, with whom she had another daughter, Erica Eve, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1963.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TWENTIES
  • 1962
    Age 30
    North joined the cast of I Can Get It for You Wholesale in 1962, which featured Elliott Gould and introduced Barbra Streisand.
    More Details Hide Details She later guest starred on a series of popular television shows, including Ben Casey and Burke's Law (1963 - 65), The Virginian (1964 - 66), The Big Valley, The Iron Horse (both 1966), and The Fugitive (1965 - 67).
  • 1958
    Age 26
    After North's contract with Fox ended in 1958, her career stalled.
    More Details Hide Details She continued to act in films, television, and on the stage throughout the rest of her life, but she failed to again obtain the recognition she had with Fox in the 1950s. She guest starred on episodes of The Untouchables and Gunsmoke (both 1963).
  • 1956
    Age 24
    In 1956, Fox signed another blonde bombshell, Broadway actress Jayne Mansfield to a contract, and began promoting her instead of North.
    More Details Hide Details Although Fox slowly lost interest in North, the studio continued to offer her a string of films. She was offered the leading role in a film called The Girl Upstairs, in which she would have parodied Monroe's on-screen persona. When North's agent suggested she decline the film, Fox put her on suspension for two months. When her suspension was lifted one month later, North agreed to appear in The Way to the Gold only on the assurance that Elvis Presley would be her co-star. When Presley withdrew due to salary disagreements, he was replaced with Jeffrey Hunter, with whom North often quarreled. In the film North attempted to progress from her blonde bombshell image, playing a sarcastic waitress, and while the film drew mixed reviews, it was a box office success. She next starred in No Down Payment (1957), a melodrama about the lives of multiple families living in a California subdivision. Tony Randall played her alcoholic husband in the film. Although critically acclaimed, it was not a box office success. The following year, she appeared in her final two films for Fox. In Love and War (1958) was a war drama film pairing her again with Jeffrey Hunter, and also with Robert Wagner, Dana Wynter, and Hope Lange. It was not a critical or financial success. Although the musical film genre had declined in profitability, she next co-starred in Mardi Gras (1958) with Pat Boone and Tommy Sands.
    The film premiered with much fanfare in January 1956, and became a box office success, grossing over $4 million in the United States.
    More Details Hide Details North's follow-up was The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956), a lavish musical in which her singing voice was dubbed by Eileen Wilson. She received fourth billing under Gordon MacRae, Dan Dailey, and Ernest Borgnine. It was an attempt by the studio to broaden North's audience appeal, and while it earned favorable reviews from critics, it did not become the success Fox had hoped for.
  • 1955
    Age 23
    In 1955, she married television writer Bud Freeman, and the marriage ended a year later.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1955, she was assigned the lead role opposite Betty Grable in How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955), a role that Marilyn Monroe had refused to accept.
    More Details Hide Details Media attention surrounding Monroe's suspension and North's hiring resulted in North appearing on the cover of Life magazine with the cover line "Sheree North Takes Over From Marilyn Monroe". How to Be Very, Very Popular would eventually not live up to the hype Fox had generated, even though North had appeared on What's My Line? to publicize the film and had been asked point-blank by one of the panelists if she has been associated with Monroe. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and was a moderate box office success. Despite this, film historians, then and now, cite North's electrically-charged dancing to "Shake, Rattle and Roll", as the film's most memorable scene. In an attempt to promote North, Fox studio executives lobbied to cast her in films surrounded with popular stars. The studio had campaigned to cast her in a film with comedian Tom Ewell, hoping to repeat the success he had with Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (1955). Soon thereafter, the studio assigned North and Ewell to appear together in the romantic comedy The Lieutenant Wore Skirts, plotting the story of an army lieutenant whose husband tries to get her discharged. To promote the film, North posed for several publicity shots showing her legs. When the majority of the shots were released, only her legs appeared with the tagline, "Believe it or not, these legs belong to an army lieutenant".
  • 1954
    Age 22
    In March 1954, North had a brush with scandal when it was revealed that she had earlier danced in a bikini in an 8 mm erotic film.
    More Details Hide Details Fox capitalized on the publicity as the studio previously had with Monroe's nude calendar posing in 1952.
    In 1954, North signed a four-year contract with 20th Century-Fox.
    More Details Hide Details The studio had big plans for her, hoping to groom her as a replacement for the studio's leading, and increasingly uncontrollable, female star, Marilyn Monroe. Fox tested North for leading roles in two of their upcoming productions, The Girl in Pink Tights and There's No Business Like Show Business—two films that had been offered to Monroe—while North was wearing Monroe's own studio wardrobe. After her screen tests, however, North was not cast in either film.
    In early 1954, aged 22, she appeared in a live TV version of Cole Porter's Anything Goes on The Colgate Comedy Hour, with Ethel Merman, Frank Sinatra, and Bert Lahr.
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  • 1953
    Age 21
    She was then spotted by a choreographer performing at the Macayo Club in Santa Monica, and was cast as a chorus girl in the 1953 film Here Come the Girls, starring Bob Hope.
    More Details Hide Details Around that time, she adopted the stage name Sheree North. She made her Broadway debut in the musical Hazel Flagg, for which she won a Theatre World Award. She reprised her role in the film version, Living It Up (1954), starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1949
    Age 17
    She bore her first child at age 17 in 1949, and continued dancing in clubs under the stage name Shirley Mae Bessire.
    More Details Hide Details North made her film debut as an uncredited extra in Excuse My Dust (1951).
  • 1948
    Age 16
    North was married four times and had two children. In 1948, at age 16, she married Fred Bessire, a draftsman, with whom she had a daughter, Dawn (born 1949). The marriage ended in 1953.
    More Details Hide Details
    She began dancing in USO shows during World War II at age ten. In 1948, she married Fred Bessire.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1932
    Age 0
    North was born as Dawn Shirley Crang in Los Angeles, California, on January 17, 1932, the daughter of June Shoard and Richard Crang.
    More Details Hide Details Following her mother's remarriage to Edward Bethel, she was known as Dawn Shirley Bethel.
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