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    Thursday, October 31, 2002
    R.I.P. Peggy Moran

    Don't know who Peggy Moran was? Well, neither did I:

    CAMARILLO (AP) 10.31.02, 8:15a - - Peggy Moran, who made more than 30 horror and Western films in the 1930s and 1940s and was once dubbed one of Hollywood's top "shrieking violets," has died. She was 84.

    Among Moran's handful of horror movies were "The Mummy's Hand," "Horror Island" and "Ninotchka," starring Greta Garbo.

    While under a six-month contract to Warner Bros. and three years with Universal, Moran made dozens of "B" films that were made every two or three weeks.

    The thing I like most about this obituary is that it lists "Ninotchka" as a horror movie! Which it is not (it's a comedy), unless you find Greta Garbo scary.

    When you live in Southern California, you see these stories a lot. Somehow it underscores how much a part of daily life here the film industry is; an old-time "working class" B-movie actor who never became well known and may not have made a film in decades will still merit a respectful mention at his or her passing. I like that this community respects the profession and cares about the people in it enough to do this, no matter what their ranking. And, of course, I like the sense of history that goes along with it. The old "contract system," which obligated actors to sign with a single studio and to commit to a certain number of films over the life of the contract, no longer exists in Hollywood. Imagine cranking out a film every two to three weeks for five years straight.



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