Saturday, July 31, 2004

Off-Stage With Nedda Harrigan

"Nedda Harrigan Logan is the daughter of actor, playwright, songwriter, director, producer and theatre owner, Edward Harrigan. Mr Harriganwas so famous in his day that he was considered a bona fide New York City landmark. A New England guidebook in the 1880s wrote that 'A visit to New York would be as incomplete to the countryman if he did not see Harrigan and Hart as if he had by some strange mistake missed going to Central Park." (THE MERRY PARTNERS,
By E.j. Kahn, Jr., pg. 6.)

"Nedda was the youngest of ten in a very boisterous Irish Catholic family. She became an actress at age fifteen and performed in various stock companies that would put on a new play every week, fifty-two weeks of the year. Among the plays she appeared in on Broadway were the original 1927 production of DRACULA, staring Bela Lugosi and Ayn Rand's 1934 court room drama, THE NIGHT OF JANUARY 16th.

"In the mid-1920's Nedda married the great character actor, Walter Connolly. They had one child, a daughter, Ann. They resided in Beverly Hills, California because Mr. Connnolly was under contract to Columbia Pictures. . . .

"When Mr. Connonlly passed away in 1940, Nedda returned to New York City. On a fateful day, while she was waiting for an appointment in a casting director's office, Joshua Logan happened by and saw her sitting there. He fell instantly in love with her and cast her in his Broadway revival of CHARLIE'S AUNT, starring Jose Ferrer. From 1940 until Josh's passing in 1988, they were never parted. They married in 1945.

"Nedda became the first and only woman (so far) president of The Actor's Fund of America. It was an organization close to her heart because her father, Edward Harrigan, was one of its founders. If it was a Thursday and Nedda was in New York, she'd be at the weekly Board of Directors meeting at the Fund. She helped raise millions of dollars for it and was instrumental in getting a retirement home built in New Jersey for people in the theatrical community.

"From the moment she met Joshua Logan, he became her number one priority. He did his most dazzling creative work under her loving care. She was his confidante, best friend and partner in every respect. After they married, Nedda gave up acting. She said she 'didn't want to be an actress married to a director who was always looking for a part in every script that came his way.'

"She was an extraodinary wife to Josh, a deeply caring mother . . . and always cherishing of her friends."

Nedda Harrigan made only 14 movies from 1929 to 1940 but made a
big impact on the mystery genre with three of them:

As Louise DeVoe in The Case of the Black Cat (PerryMason/1936)

As Mme. Anita Borelli in Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936)

As Madam Tchernov in Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937)


Blogger Chris M. said...

Nice find, Virginia!! Although, may I recommend that, next time, you start with the role of the Monday film that we will be watching. That is to say, mention Logan's name and that she is playing Mdme. Borelli in the movie "Opera", then display the whole bio and follow it with the other notable appearances.

Just a suggestion, of course! :)

31/7/04 8:50 PM  

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