Yes, My Heart Belongs To Daddy

Imagine if we were all able to strike such a stylish pose in an instant? It isn’t surprising that this beautiful young woman had that skill, as she is Jean Willes, an American actor who appeared in over 60 films and numerous TV shows between 1934 and 1975.

Her films included No Time for Sergeants in 1958, Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1956, Elmer Gantry in 1960 and Gypsy in 1962. In 1956 she played opposite Clark Gable in The King and Four Queens. Although not a top box office name Jean seems to have had a very good career.

Willes’s second husband was American NFL football player Gerard Cowhig to whom she sent the, very cutely addressed, valentine card, below. Jean died in 1989, aged 65.

I was thrilled to get both items at a bargain price, thanks to the Or Best Offer option that is sometimes seen on listings at everybody’s favourite, online, garage sale. Still it is sad that items such as these end up in the public domain. Jean had a son but maybe no grandchildren to whom these could have been passed?

A still from Poseidon

A PR photo for a Three Stooges short.

6 comments
  1. Lisa said:

    The first portrait is stunning, I love the frame too.

    I always think that too when I read about people buying items that once belonged to someone famous at places like garage sales or flea markets – how did they end up there? It makes me a little sad, which may be half the impetus for giving them another good home.

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    • I agree Lisa. Giving them a home is how I see it. So much gets lost in the rubbish. My Grandmas’s next-door neighbour who as born in the 1890s burned all her family photos as there was no one left to pass them on to. She didn’t want them ending up as public property but I was horrified when I heard what she’d done. I was only 15 at the time and it really upset me that she was so alone in the world!

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  2. That’s so sad about your Grandma’s neighbour!

    She couldn’t possibly have imagined what people like us would be doing with them now!

    Displaced photos are the only evidence that some of these people even existed!

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    • So sadly, yes. However I think about the millions who lived before the advent of photography who were not rich or infamous enough to be remembered at all. I think at least these little objects give those lucky enough to have had a photo taken in their life-time (that has survived) a type of anonymous immortality. I think these little artifacts are so, so special.

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  3. m5son said:

    I remember the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It scared the hell out of me. I guess that’s why they re-do it as time goes by.
    Perhaps she had so many pictures floating around that family had all they could stand.

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  4. These are fun. I’ve ended up with a few celebrity estate items, too, and on the one hand I’m delighted to own them, and on the other hand I’m a little freaked out to own them, especially when I know there are surviving family members in the world. I guess the best that those of us with the archiving gene can do is be good caretakers for them. And I agree, I would have been very upset if that lady who burned her photos had been my neighbor. I understand her motives, and it’s her right, but still!

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