Saturday, October 15, 2011
Saturday Scream Queen: Suzanne Kaaren
Born in New York in 1912, Suzanne Kaaren was an accomplished high school athlete whose beauty so blossomed at a young age that she was offered the opportunity to join the Zeigfeld Follies at the age of 15. Her parents forbade her from pursuing the opportunity, just as they blocked her from an opportunity to compete in the 1930 Olympic Games.
Despite what seems to be the best efforts of her parents, Kareen turned to professional modeling, dancing and acting. Starting with local theater companies, she quickly rose through the theatrical ranks, and she was one of the original Rockettes and performed on stage when when Radio City Music Hall opened in 1932.
By the end of 1933, Kaaren had left New York City for Hollywood, and worked under contract for Fox and MGM, and also appeared in films from RKO, and famed low-budget movie factories Monogram Pictures and PRC.
Kaaren's film career never quite took off, and she was cast in mostly in small roles and more for exotic looks and shapely legs than for her skills as an actress. She appeared in numerous comedies and westerns, but is best remembered today for appearing in two Three Stooges films--"Disorder in the Court" and "What Matador?", and for her leading role in one of Bela Lugosi's best pictures--"The Devil Bat" from PRC. That one role, in that very fun movie, is remarkable enough to give her a place in this series.
Kaaren retired from film acting in 1944 and moved back to New York to focus on her family and raising her two children. She passed away in 2004.