Friday, January 28, 2011

Mystery Solved!

Those who dive into The Underworld on a regular basis are familiar with my post not too long ago about a mystery woman, a film and television extra who seemed to be in every other film or Hollywood TV show from the late '50s to the '80s! She seemed always to be positioned near the stars of the film and/or dressed in attention-getting colors even though she rarely, if ever, spoke or had a character name. (For the original post, click on Mystery Extra in the list on the right.)

I could not figure out this woman's name or learn a thing about her despite seeing her continually! I posted several photos of her and asked for help in identifying her. When I watched The Poseidon Adventure on New Years Day this January for the first time on my new 55" HDTV, I was utterly stunned to realize that she was in that film, too! She was (very rare for her) in a wig, a disheveled brown one, and played a capsizement survivor with an injured wrist, being attended to by priest Arthur O'Connell as he discusses posssible methods of survival with Gene Hackman.
When I was watching The Mod Squad on DVD and saw a scene in which Peggy Lipton went undercover at a computer dating service, there she was, sitting in the reception area filling out a form so that she, too, could get a date!! It seemed like I could hardly watch any movie or old TV series without her familiar face reflecting back at me, taunting me.

I did a post about the movie Airport recently, examing the costumes of the film. Naturally, as I watched parts of the movie again, there she was, sitting on the dais of a charity banquet, looking on as Dana Wynter delivered a speech during one of the flashbacks concerning that character! The mystery remained and I continued to see her all over the place. Not to mention the jealousy factor! She appeared in Airport, The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Airplane II and who knows what else!

Just yesterday, I visited another blog (the wonderful site called Stirred, Straight Up, with a Twist) and there was a clip from the Shirley MacLaine extravaganza What a Way to Go. Watching the clip, I was stunned and flummoxed to see this woman YET AGAIN standing between Robert Mitchum and Shirley MacLaine in a party scene and later greeting them in the middle of an elaborate ballroom, a male companion at her side. It seemed like I was in danger of going out of my mind with what had, by now, become an obsession.

Finally, I caught a break. A visitor to The Underworld named Panalex has solved the mystery for me and for my friends here who had also had their curiosity piqued. I will paste the information as it was relayed via Panalex:

"I was particularly taken with your ‘extra’ obsession and set out on a quest that may have proved fruitful. I humbly believe your haunting lady is Mrs. Leoda (aka Leota) Richards, possibly the world champion of uncredited film and TV appearances, born on March 15, 1907, who died of natural causes in California on February 07, 1998."

Indeed this is the woman! A quick trip to confirmed that Leoda Richards is this mystery woman. I still know very little about her, but she certainly led a busy life as an extra and met virtually any and every Hollywood star of the big and small screens.

What a relief to have an answer. Panalex, my minions are busy at this very hour, forging a statue out of bronze that will forever be on display in a place of honor in The Underworld, located not far from one of me! I am in your debt and sincerely appreciate your help and your thoughtfulness. Thank you!!


Post a Comment