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Ona Munson

ONA MUNSON (American actress, b. 1903, d. 1955) Ona Munson was an improbable choice to play the whiskey-voiced prostitute with a heart of gold, Belle Watling, in "Gone With the Wind." Born Ona Wolcott in Portland, Oregon in 1903, she first came to fame on Broadway as the singing and dancing ingenue in the original production of "No, No, Nanette." She had a very successful stage and radio career in the 1930’s in New York. She introduced the song "You're the Cream In My Coffee," to New York audiences. She was the antithesis of the voluptuous Belle: tall, freckled, and of slight build. But her skills as an actress electrified her screen test: it was all in the voice. She spoke deep and throaty in her test, and her voice conveyed sexiness and worldliness. The needed look for Belle could be created in the wardrobe and makeup departments. Early on, Selznick had announced Mae West was to play Belle, but this was of course a publicity stunt. Tallulah Bankhead refused the role as too small. Ona Munson’s career was stalemated by the acclaim of GWTW. She was typecast in similar roles, and in 1955, plagued by ill health, she committed suicide with an overdose of barbiturates in her apartment in New York.


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She was typecast in similar roles, and in 1955, plagued by ill health, she committed suicide with an overdose of barbiturates in her apartment in New York. Gladys Kravitz was played from 1966 by Sandra Gould. Ona Munson’s career was stalemated by the acclaim of GWTW. Diagnosed with terminal cancer before the show began, Pearce kept her illness a secret, but died from ovarian cancer during the second season. Tallulah Bankhead refused the role as too small. Pearce was posthumously awarded an Emmy Award for this role. Early on, Selznick had announced Mae West was to play Belle, but this was of course a publicity stunt. Her hysterical accusations against Samantha, played by Elizabeth Montgomery, and the disbelief of her husband Abner, played by George Tobias, provided a common thread through many of the series early episodes.

The needed look for Belle could be created in the wardrobe and makeup departments. As the nagging and nosy neighbor, Gladys Kravitz, Pearce's scenes were almost entirely reactions to acts of witchcraft she had witnessed at the house across the street. She spoke deep and throaty in her test, and her voice conveyed sexiness and worldliness. In 1964 she joined the cast of the television series Bewitched. But her skills as an actress electrified her screen test: it was all in the voice. More movie roles followed, and she made appearances on Broadway, where she met her husband director Paul Davis during a production of The Bells are Ringing. She was the antithesis of the voluptuous Belle: tall, freckled, and of slight build. Her comedic performance was well received by critics and public alike, and she was given her own television variety show.

She introduced the song "You're the Cream In My Coffee," to New York audiences. Gene Kelly was so impressed by her, that she became the only cast member to be included in the film version in 1949. 1955) Ona Munson was an improbable choice to play the whiskey-voiced prostitute with a heart of gold, Belle Watling, in "Gone With the Wind." Born Ona Wolcott in Portland, Oregon in 1903, she first came to fame on Broadway as the singing and dancing ingenue in the original production of "No, No, Nanette." She had a very successful stage and radio career in the 1930’s in New York. She began working in nightclubs as a comedienne and was cast in the Broadway production of On The Town. 1903, d. Born Alicia Pearce in New York City, Pearce was educated in Europe and returned to the US as an adult. ONA MUNSON (American actress, b. Alice Pearce (October 16, 1913 - March 3, 1966) was an American actress.

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