This is an online encyclopedia of personalities of Old Time Radio. It is designed for educational and entertainment purposes.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Paula Winslowe (1910-96)

Paula Winslowe was born March 23, 1910, in Grafton, North Dakota. She married her childhood sweetheart, John Sutherland (1910-2001) after graduating from high school. In the years following, John and Paula moved to the Los Angeles area, where John began making documentary and instructional films.

As soon as arriving in California, Paula got work in the MGM Studios in Culver City as a voice actress. In the days of the studio contracts, it was good, honest, steady work. In time, Paula's voice became quite well known. When Jean Harlow (1911-37) died before the picture Saratoga (1937) was finished, Mary Dees (1911-2005) was able to serve as Jean's body double and they wanted to use Mary's voice, too. Unfortunately, it was too high. Paula, the voice actress, who could do any voice in any range, could sound exactly like Jean Harlow with the proper inflection, tone, and accent. When the movie hit the theaters, most of the moviegoers couldn't tell which scenes had Mary Dees (and Paula's voice) and which ones were actually Jean Harlow.

Paula also got a lot of work in radio beginning even before Saratoga. The first time her name was credited in a radio show was for a special program of the Don Lee Network in Hollywood on December 30, 1936.

Over the course of years she became a featured actress in the Joe E. Brown Show, The Shadow of Fu Manchu, and several shows on the Lux Radio Theater. During this time, Paula became getting friendly with some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Anna May Wong. Anna once made the comment, "Paula, you're lucky. You can get all dressed up and go to the grocery store and no one pays attention to who you are. Me, I have to wear a raggy sweatshirt, a pair of worn out slacks, holey tennis shoes, and sunglasses, so no one thinks I'm something special. I miss being anonymous! It's the one thing you have." Paula remembered that. Her name never appeared in the credits of any of the movies she made.

In the Disney animated feature, Bambi (1942), Paula did the part of Bambi's mother and a few other creatures in the forest. She was also probably heard in Walt Disney's Dumbo (1941).

Paula's best known role was that of Margaret "Peg" Riley in The Life of Riley. That show lasted from 1945 to 1951. When the radio show became a movie, all of the parts were done by members of the radio show cast, except that of Peg, which was played by Rosemary DeCamp (also a radio actress). She also did not appear in the subsequent TV series, which used several other actors (although William Bendix was retained for the title role). Later on, though Paula would play some very minor roles on several TV shows.

Paula Winslow died at her home in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles on March 6, 1996, at the age of 85. She was survived by her husband, John and their four children, Eric, John, Ronald, and Diane.

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