(Above: Fay McKenzie on the set of ‘Kill a Better Mousetrap.’ Source: YouTube video)
Fay McKenzie, one of the final 10 surviving silent film actors, died last week at 101 years old – after a career spanning an entire century.
McKenzie began “acting” in the film Station Content at just 10 weeks old. She achieved her greatest fame co-starring with Gene Autry in five singing westerns during the early 1940s. She had small roles in three Blake Edwards movies from the 1960s to 1980s, and appears in an upcoming film, Kill a Better Mousetrap.
Here is 1918’s Station Content. Look for McKenzie in the arms of star Gloria Swanson starting around the 5:30 mark:
Another now-notable McKenzie performance came in the 1937 anti-marijuana exploitation flick, Assassin of Youth, in which she plays scheming drug-dealer Linda Clayton. You can watch it in its entirety here:
Next, Gene Autry romances McKenzie’s character with the title song of 1941’s Sierra Sue:
If you want to stream a complete Gene Autry/Fay McKenzie film, you’re out of luck. They’re even hard to find on home video. But you can get Sierra Sue, Down Mexico Way (also 1941) and Cowboy Serenade (1942) on DVD at GeneAutry.com. The duo’s other two films together, Home in Wyomin’ (1942) and Heart of the Rio Grande (1942), are currently sold out
For McKenzie’s appearances in Blake Edwards’ films, Starz subscribers can start with Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), in which she plays a party guest laughing in the mirror. Partying on, you can stream The Party (1968), in which she plays Mrs. Clutterbuck, and S.O.B. (1981), in which she appears as the “woman on the beach.” You can rent both films starting at $2.99 at Vudu or iTunes.
Finally, from last July, here’s McKenzie on the set of Kill a Better Mousetrap:
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