martedì 27 agosto 2013

Who's that girl? (actress-spotting in '2001: a space odyssey')

(UPDATE: this post is now out-of-date: there are many follow-ups with important corrections here and in the full 'cast list' series of posts here. I'll leave the post here for historical reasons) 

The recent identification of Mrs. Maggie London D'Abo as the actress playing the elevator stewardess in 2001 pushed me to pursuit the insane quest to uncover all the remaining uncredited actresses in the movie.

Let's start from the beginning. Five woman have appeared in almost every cast list since the release of the movie in 1968:
  • Penny Brahms, who plays the stewardess on the lunar shuttle "Aries" that is watching a judo match on TV; born in 1951, model and actress, she was only 15 when the shooting of '2001' started in 1966.

  • Edwina Carroll, the stewardess on the lunar shuttle "Aries" that does the "somersault" walking on the ceiling; born in Burma, irish origin, played small but numerous roles in British theatrical productions and on screen.
  • Heather Downham, the stewardess on the space shuttle "Orion", she walks with "grip shoes" and picks the floating pen (she talks about her experience in the movie in two documentaries);
  • Margaret Tyzack is Elena, the russian scientists. She appears also in Kubrick's A Clockword Orange.
  • and Ann Gillis, long-standing actress who played Frank Poole's mother in the video recording aboard Discovery I (here's an interesting interview about her experience in '2001')

Altough uncredited, it is well known that Heywood Floyd's daughter in the picturephone was played by director's youngest daughter Vivian Kubrick:

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Further investigation based on the cast list on IMDB, the credits put together by Kubrick's assistant Antony Frewin, the help of good books (like Science fiction and space futures – past and present, Volume 5 Eugene M.Emme, ed.; AAS History Series, ; Univelt, San Diego, 1982; p. 64), and some patient googling, brought me this far:
  • Chela Matthison, canadian stage actress, as Mrs.Turner, the receptionist on the Space Station that greets Dr.Floyd. She's easily recognizable in the otherwise undistinguished movie Battle beneath the earth, (approx. at min.7). UPDATE: I interviewed her here;
  • Sheraton Blount Based on her appearance in this 1969 movie The Legend of Robin Hood, she must be one of the little girls in a scene cut from the final version of 2001, in which Heywood Floyd is given a tour of the moon base and is shown a kindergarden and a painting competition.
  • Julie Croft also a child actress (based on her appearance on the only other movie she appeared in (Inspector Clouseau, 1968), she must be another of the little girls in the kindergarden scene.
  • Marcella Markham: this famous character actress appears in another cut scene: after calling her daughter 'Squirt' via picturephone, Floyd makes another call, this time to a Macy's store, and buys her the promised bushbaby. Mrs.Markham is one of the two salesclerk that appears on screen.
  • Krystyna Marr is Dr.Kalinan, one of the russian scientists (the one with the green dress, besides Elena - I found the information on the BFI web site);
  • Irena Marr is Dr.Stretyneva, the other russian scientists, the one in purple dress with the red collar. The looks and the surname makes me wonder if the two are related; they probably are, but there are no official information available. The couple never appeared elsewhere on screen.

If you double check the info given so far, you'll notice that the famous International Movie Database is missing a few of the actresses listed; they consider Frewin's cast official, therefore closed. I submitted a few corrections in April and they ignored it; well, whatever.

Also, a cast member, Penny Francis, has the wrong bio: stated to be an award winning puppeteer, I managed to contact her and she wasn't in any way involved in '2001'. Must have been another Penny Francis and NOT that one. (By the way, good luck to Mrs.Francis who is recovering from a recent illness. UPDATE: Imdb corrected that info)

Besides that, it is quite odd that two - no, three speaking actresses: Mrs.D'Abo, Mrs.Matthison and 'voiceprint identification', weren't listed in the cast at all. I wonder if some union rules prevented to officially acknowledge their presence. Who knows.

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You'll notice that there is another speaking actress who doesn't appear in the list: 'Voiceprint identification' girl. That brings me to this: according to other 2001 scholars I talked to, this movie is significantly short of daily call sheets (the official documents that inform actors on a movie about where and when they should report for a particular day of shooting). This is why Mr.Frewin, when compiling that list, did probably not have at hand call sheet n.1, which recently surfaced in a DVD sold with the book 2001: the lost science. This sheet states that 'passport control girl' Judy Keirn appears in the first scene ever shoot in the movie, December 17, 1965 (you can make out Call N.1 in the right uppermost corner)

I could make out the name JUDY KEIRN because of a caption in the aforementioned book Science fiction and space futures – past and present, Volume 5. This, according to the book, is "Passport control girl" Judy Keirn:

The looks of Mrs.Keirn are not entirely consistent with Voiceprint identification girl....

(to me they are NOT the same person) but she looks definitely like THIS girl (on the right) that we see in the scene when Dr.Floyd is walking with Miller approaching the picturephone.

(here's more stills of her behind the scenes....)

This means that Judy Keirn was probably to have a larger role in the movie (there is a couple of other promotional pictures on the net), but ended up only featuring in the background in a passing shot. Too bad!
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There are more female characters that appeared in the movie and are still unknown:
  • The aeroflot girl;
  • The previousy shown voiceprint identification girl;
  • A blonde stewardess on space station (we can barely see her in the background in the same shot when Floyd and Miller walk through the picturephone:

  • and the two women in the briefing room:

Plus :
  • A younger salesclerk in the Macy's cut scene:
  • and a couple more in the kindergarten scene (the teacher and the clerk at the reception, that might also be Judy Keirn by the hairdo).

    Also, there's a longstanding internet rumor regarding the presence of a couple of Kubrick's daughters (Vivian and Anya, being Katharina already 13 at the time) in the kindergarten scene: in this picture there are at least 6 girls; if we assume that Sheraton Blount and Julie Croft are among them, four are still missing.

That brings the grand total of unknown actresses to... 14 (fourteen).

Some of these actresses might or might not be, based on Frewin's list.....
  • Jane Hayward; There is a Jane Hayward still performing; she appears to be in her 50's-60's; I've been trying to contact her for months, her agents don't even reply to my e-mails.
  • Jane Pearl; her only other movie is Darling (1965), where she appears as 'Jane'. I watched it a couple of times but I couldn't spot her. The movie is produced by '2001's associate producer Victor Lyndon.
Frewin lists four more actresses that, according to IMDB, appeared only in '2001':
  • Ann Bormann
  • Kim Neil (also a male name...)
  • Penny Pearl
  • Penny Francis (NOT the M.B.E., famous puppeteer).
It means that at least eight names are still missing, even if those 6 (Hawyard, Pearl 1 & 2, Bormann, Neil and Francis) played every character already pictured above and not someone else cut from the picure...

Any help in improving this list is more than welcome.

UPDATE 28/8/2013 How could I miss her... :-) The girl in the movie playing on the 'Orion' TV seat. That makes the grand total to fifteen unknown actresses. Thanks to for the screenshot.

As you can see from the image I took from the Douglas Trumbull website, there is the actress or, more probably, a stand-in, some of the crew involved in one of the shots, which was made in Detroit with the prototype car. The closeups were shot by Kubrick in Borehamwood.

MORE UPDATE 28/8/2013 There's another female star in 2001... though played by a male... :-)

 from Tom Spina Designs via Archivio Kubrick

8 commenti:

  1. FYI, that was a judo match, not sumo.

  2. Whops. Thought judo, typed sumo. Thanks.

  3. Your blog is wonderful. Where did you get information (and photos) of ll the deleted scenes? Maybe you could write a post that covers what they were?

    Thanks you, great stuff.

  4. Thank you very much.

    A post about the deleted scenes is in the works since the beginning of the blog. Almost all the info available are already here:

    I'd like to pick up from there, updating it with the new info that came out in the last 13 years, and illustrating every scene with all the photos available.

  5. The photos were published in some of the books I bought in the years, and on the web.

    You can check out some of the books in, though it's in italian.


  6. There is also the space station announcer overheard as Dr. Floyd walks with Mr. Miller and prepares to make a phone call: "Will Mr. Travers please contact the Met Office" etc.

    I love your blog, it's a treasure!

    1. Thank you J, 'you' are a treasure. And you're right! That voice will be even more difficult to match to a face or an actress. Also, I have no skills whatsoever in telling british/american accents apart. Well, whatever - I'll enclose the PA lady in the next update, it's already on its way.

      Stay tuned,


  7. Hi there. I know this is an old post but just wanted to say thank you for helping to identify my mother's role in this film. Her (Sheraton Blount) and I have been trying to figure out which part she played and couldn't find her in the film so thank you for helping with this information. Perhaps she can help identify a few of the actresses if you're still researching, they may have gone to theatre school with her.

    Twitter: @sinead_elven