Of all the many brilliant character actresses, Jessie Royce Landis was definitely one of the most brilliant....and coolest!
She never gave a bad performance, and although not a huge amount of people may recognize her name, there are certainly many who can recall her face instantly.
She is probably most famous for playing Grace Kelly's mother in To Catch a Thief and then playing Cary Grant's mother in North by Northwest (she was only seven years older than Cary), but she was in so many amazing films. I made a short tribute to her, just from films and shows I happened to have around the house, and discovered that she was in a lot more than I even thought!
There are four specific pieces to Jessie Royce Landis' "persona". A Jessie character MUST have at least three of these pieces or it's just NOT a Jessie character (there are only a FEW exceptions....;-D).
1. She plays a main character's mother.
2. She wears CRAZY hats.
3. She carries around a small dog.
4. She has brightly colored hair.
In Gidget Goes to Rome (a completely horrible, dismal, pathetic film that I truly wouldn't even wish on Randolph Scott) Jessie Royce Landis' character (the only not horrible part of the movie, besides Joby Baker), is a part that obviously had to have been written for her. She doesn't play the mother, but she plays the Aunt. Of course, much joking is made by the fact that nobody (not even her) can remember HOW she is related to the family. She wears seriously awesome/crazy/60's hats. She talks often about how buying a hat can make any situation better. She constantly carries around not one small dog, BUT TWO. She also has extremely colorful hair. There is an entire scene devoted to her sitting in front of the mirror trying on many different wigs (of course then she-who-is-a-Gidget-imposter walks in and ruins all the fun. ;-D)
This is typical Jessie Royce Landis.
She can turn even THE most horribly made, depressing movie ever-- into something brilliant and happy.
And she's SOOO cool while she's at it. I seriously want to be her when I'm 65.
The tribute I made to her:
(If the clips are looking a little fuzzy, make sure you are watching it in 1080p!)
So, are there any Jessie Royce Landis fans out there?! What's your favorite role of hers?! I'm thinking maybe To Catch A Thief .....BUT SHE WAS SO BRILLIANT IN EVERYTHING....it's hard to choose!