Wednesday, 17 March 2010

all the king's women # 19 - joan o'brien

Joan O'Brien was born on Valentine's day in 1936, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. she began her career as a singer on a local television show while still in highschool and made her film debut in Handle With Care in 1958. Joan is perhaps most famous for her role in Operation Petticoat(1959) with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis, in which she plays an army nurse whose bountiful proportions make it difficult for sailors to concentrate whilst confined to the tight quarters of a submarine.

O'Brien proved her versatility by appearing in dramas and comedies alike, and even starring opposite John Wayne in two westerns, The Alamo (1960) and The Comancheros (1961). oddly, however, Joan played a nurse in more than half of her films, and her appearance in Elvis' 12th movie, It Happened at the World's Fair (1963), was no exception.

as nurse Dianne Warren, Joan plays hard to get while Elvis' character pursues her in every way possible, even paying a young boy (played by an 11 year old Kurt Russell) to kick him in the shins so he'll have an excuse to visit the infirmary. in the end his advances pay off, of course.

Joan made one more film after this one (Get Yourself a College Girl (1964))before retiring from the screen due to a stormy personal life. O'Brien concentrated on raising her two children (one from the first and one from the second of four marriages) and eventually became a successful executive for the Hilton hotel chain.

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