Jean Rogers

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Jean Rogers

Jean Rogers in The War Against Mrs. Hadley (1942)
BornEleanor Dorothy Lovegren
(1916-03-25)March 25, 1916
Belmont, Massachusetts,
United States
DiedFebruary 24, 1991(1991-02-24) (aged 74)
Sherman Oaks, California,
United States
NationalityAmerican
OccupationActress
Years active1933–1951
Notable work(s)Flash Gordon, Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars
Spouse(s)Dan Winkler
(m.1943–1970; his death)
 
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Jean Rogers

Jean Rogers in The War Against Mrs. Hadley (1942)
BornEleanor Dorothy Lovegren
(1916-03-25)March 25, 1916
Belmont, Massachusetts,
United States
DiedFebruary 24, 1991(1991-02-24) (aged 74)
Sherman Oaks, California,
United States
NationalityAmerican
OccupationActress
Years active1933–1951
Notable work(s)Flash Gordon, Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars
Spouse(s)Dan Winkler
(m.1943–1970; his death)

Jean Rogers (March 25, 1916 – February 24, 1991) was an American actress, who is known to have starred in serial films throughout the 1930s as well as low–budgeted feature films in the 1940s as a leading lady. However, she is mostly remembered for her portrayal of the character Dale Arden in the two serial films Flash Gordon (1936) and Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938).[1]

Contents

Early life

Jean Rogers was born Eleanor Dorothy Lovegren in Belmont, Massachusetts.[2] Her father was an immigrant from Malmö, Sweden.[3] Originally, she had hoped to study art. However, as a teenager in 1933, she won a local beauty contest sponsored by Paramount Pictures, which helped launch a career in Hollywood. Rogers starred in a number of serials for Universal from 1935 to 1938, including Ace Drummond and Flash Gordon.

Flash Gordon

Rogers got her biggest assignment when she played the role of Dale Arden in the first two Flash Gordon serials between 1936 and 1939. Buster Crabbe and Rogers were perfectly cast as hero and heroine in the first serial Flash Gordon, and Rogers' fragile beauty, long blonde hair, and revealing costume endeared her to thousands of moviegoers during the late 1930s. She was lusted after by "Ming the Merciless" (Charles B. Middleton) and most of the male audience as Flash Gordon rescued her from one life-threatening situation after another in the serial.[citation needed] While on the set filming the series in 1937, her costume caught on fire and she suffered burns on her hands. Her co-star Crabbe smothered the fire by putting a blanket on her.[4]

In the first serial, Dale competed with Princess Aura (Priscilla Lawson) for Flash Gordon's amorous attention. Rogers and Lawson were two completely different types of character actress. Rogers was fragile, small-chested, diminutive and totally dependent on the all-powerful Flash Gordon for her survival. Lawson, on the other hand, was domineering, independent, voluptuous, well endowed, conniving, sly, ambitious and determined to take Flash for herself. The competition between the two women for Flash Gordon's attention is one of the highlights of the film. In the second Flash Gordon Serial Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars, Jean Rogers sports a totally different look. She has dark hair and wears the same full length, modest costume in each episode. Rogers matured both physically and mentally after the first serial, and there are no sexual overtones in Trip To Mars as there were in Flash Gordon. Rogers told author Richard Lamparski that she wasn't keen on doing the second Flash Gordon serial and asked her studio to exclude her from the third one.[5]

Feature films

After doing serial films in the 1930s, Rogers felt she was not going to improve her career if she kept the pace. So she asked the studio if she could participate in feature films instead. Her request was granted. Although she has participated in feature films during that time, she found it more tedious when having to deal with serial films. Throughout the 1940s, Rogers worked solely on feature films, such as A Stranger in Town, Backlash, and Speed to Spare. During that time, however, she also seemed to have problems with the studios she worked with, possibly regarding the type of films she worked on and how she was paid to do them. This caused her to freelance to other companies such as 20th Century Fox and MGM, hoping to find a place more to her liking. Her final appearance was a supporting role in the suspense film The Second Woman, made in 1950 by United Artists.

Later life

Rogers' marriage to Dan Winkler in 1943 raised the complexity of her acting career after having been fired from MGM, which was the company she preferred the most. As a result, she continued freelancing and ultimately retired in 1951. Because of her appearances in (mainly) low-budgeted films, she was not a highly profiled actress. However, she did have one interview that is said to have taken place in 1979, where she explains what it was like to be in show business. It is there where she also explains why she decided not to portray Dale Arden in the third Flash Gordon serial film. Rogers died in Sherman Oaks at the age of 74 on February 24,[1] due to her inability to recover from a surgery she underwent.[6]

Selected filmography

Jean Rogers, Jane Withers, and Robert Kellard in Always in Trouble (1938)

References

  1. ^ a b Obituary Variety, March 4, 1991.
  2. ^ "Q&A". Films and Filming: p. 28. June 1975.
  3. ^ Swedes In America (Adolph B. Benson; Naboth Hedin. New York: Haskel House Publishers. 1969)
  4. ^ International News Service Staff (3 Dec 1937). "Jean Rogers Suffers Burns". International News Service.
  5. ^ Lamparski, Richard Whatever Became of-Eight Edition 1982 Crown Publishers
  6. ^ Obituary The New York Times, February 28, 1991.

External links