Old Movie Teams

Weren’t they also in that other movie?

Ida Lupino & Sally Forrest

They shared an on-screen appearance in only one movie and in only one scene. Still, Ida Lupino and Sally Forrest were a noteworthy team. “She was the best I ever worked with,” is how Sally Forrest described her working relationship with Ms. Lupino. Ms. Forrest started out in Hollywood dancing in bit parts. Not until Ms. Lupino noticed her and, supposedly thought Ms. Forrest resembled her, was Sally Forrest given the chance to play a leading role, something she did to great critical acclaim.

Ms. Lupino had enjoyed a starried career as an actress in the 30s and 40s and was beginning to branch out into producing and writing when she cast Ms. Forrest in Not Wanted (1949). It’s the story of a young woman who has a baby out of wedlock, gives the baby up for adoption, and then regrets relinquishing her role as the baby’s mother: a ground-breaking and out-in-the-open depiction of a subject usually kept in the shadows of Hollywood film making back then. Incidentally, the movie was to have been directed by Elmer Clifton, but he suffered a heart attack three days into production and died a short time later. Ms. Lupino took over and, for the first time, directed a film (declining credit so that the honor could posthumously go to Mr. Clifton).

Becoming one of the first prominent female directors of post-WWII Hollywood, Ms. Lupino was so impressed with Ms. Forrest’s performance that she also cast her in The Young Lovers, a.k.a. Never Fear, (1950) and Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951). Soon Ms. Forrest was married and living in New York where she found work on Broadway and occasionally in television. She returned to Hollywood now and then to work on a film and joined the cast of While the City Sleeps (1956) in which she and Ida Lupino shared their only screen appearance.

Ida Lupino continued to act, to write, and to direct, mostly for television. She even directed an early episode of The Donna Reed Show (1959) and three episodes of Gilligan’s Island (1964 & 1966). After an appearance on TV’s Charlie’s Angels (1977) and in the movie My Boys Are Good Boys (1978), she retired from the screen, succumbing in 1995 to the effects of colon cancer.

Sally Forrest retired from the screen in 1967, dying from cancer herself in 2015. But she was forever grateful to Ida Lupino for recognizing and encouraging her abilities as an actress. “She was completely understanding,” Ms. Forrest said of Ms. Lupino in an interview in 2002, “and knew exactly what she wanted.”

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