Mary Ann Castle (nee Mary Ann Noblett,[1] January 22, 1931 – April 29, 1998) was an American actress of film and television whose personal problems destroyed her once burgeoning career. Castle's best-known role was as female detective Frankie Adams in the syndicated western series Stories of the Century (1954).[2]

Mary Castle
Jim Davis-Mary Castle in Stories of the Century.jpg
Jim Davis and Mary Castle in TV's Stories of the Century (1954)
Born
Mary Ann Noblett

(1931-01-22)January 22, 1931
DiedApril 29, 1998(1998-04-29) (aged 67)
OccupationActress
Years active1948–1962
Spouse(s)
William France Minchen
(m. 1957⁠–⁠1958)

Wayne Cote
(m. 1960⁠–⁠1961)

Erwin A. Frezza
(m. 1971⁠–⁠1972)
Children1

Early yearsEdit

Castle was born to Erby G. Noblett, Sr. and Myrtle A. Noblett (née Brown)[3] in Pampa, Texas. Her mother was Quapaw Indian. The Nobletts moved to Fort Worth, Texas, then Phillips, subsequently a ghost town in Hutchinson County, Texas, prior to relocating to Long Beach, California. At the age of nine, Castle contracted pneumonia. Her brother, Erby Noblett, Jr. (1927–1992),[3] taught her trick riding and later became a police officer in Long Beach.[4]

Castle gave birth to a daughter in Los Angeles in 1946.

CareerEdit

At nineteen, Castle was a model for a bathing suit company. A studio scout became interested in her after seeing her photograph in a magazine. In August 1950, she was dubbed the "lady who looks more like Hayworth than Hayworth does."[4] Her first contract was said to have been granted solely on the basis that the red-haired Castle indeed resembled Hayworth.[5] Harry Cohn, boss of Columbia Pictures, was said to have envisioned Castle as a replacement for Hayworth, who had married Prince Aly Khan and was rearing a family.[6]

Castle's first credited role was as Flo in the 1950 film The Tougher They Come. Columbia plotted Castle's career as it had for Rita Hayworth when she had first signed with Columbia: frequent exposure and seasoning in the studio's low-budget films. Most of Mary Castle's early Columbias were Westerns: Prairie Roundup, Texans Never Cry (with Gene Autry), and When the Redskins Rode. With an obvious resemblance to Hayworth, she was seen as the object of soldiers' dreams in Columbia's 1952 war film Eight Iron Men.

Her appearance in Criminal Lawyer didn't free Castle from the Western mold; In 1953, she appeared in the Western features The Lawless Breed and Gunsmoke. The most frequently revived Mary Castle feature is probably her least prestigious: she played a gold-digging femme fatale opposite Huntz Hall and The Bowery Boys in the low-budget comedy Crashing Las Vegas (1956).

TelevisionEdit

Mary Castle's first television appearance occurred in 1952 as Marcia Thorne in the episode "One Angle Too Many" of the detective series Racket Squad. She appeared with Jim Davis (who became famous two decades later as the patriarch Jock Ewing in the Dallas television series) in 26 of the 39 episodes of Stories of the Century, the first western to win an Emmy Award. The series focuses upon the capture of such western outlaws as Billy the Kid, the Dalton Brothers, the Younger Brothers, and Sam Bass. When Castle left the series, she was replaced for the final thirteen episodes by Kristine Miller.

In 1956, she appeared on The Bob Cummings Show in the episode "The Trouble with Henry". In 1957, she guest starred on ABC's The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, in "The Case of the Baited Hook" on CBS's Perry Mason, and in "Test of Courage" of ABC's Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker. She appeared too in Frank Lovejoy's detective series, Meet McGraw.[7][better source needed]

In 1959, Castle, along with Carleton G. Young, was twice cast in the episodes "The Big Gamblers" and "The Confidence Gang" on the Rex Allen syndicated western series, Frontier Doctor. In 1960, Castle appeared in the episode "The Chinese Pendant" of CBS's crime drama Tightrope starring Mike Connors. Castle's last television appearance was as an unnamed saloon girl in the 1962 episode "Collie's Free" of James Arness's long-running CBS western Gunsmoke.

Personal lifeEdit

Castle was involved romantically with several men, including actor Richard Long.[4] She ultimately had three short-lived marriages. From 1957 to 1958 she was married to William France Minchen,[3] who used the stage name William Grant; they divorced, and he remarried. From 1960 to 1961 Castle was married to Wayne Cote.[3] Castle and her third husband, Erwin A. Frezza, were married from 1971 to 1972.[4]

Legal troublesEdit

Castle was arrested for public intoxication in December 1957 after she allegedly attempted to kick and bite two deputy sheriffs, John Aiken and K. H. Smiley, in Hollywood. The officers said that they found Castle fighting with her husband in a parked car while her ten-year-old daughter cried in the back seat.[4] On September 14, 1959, Castle was revived by artificial respiration and taken to Malibu Emergency Hospital after being rescued twice from water off Malibu. A friend saw her hit by a big breaker and watched a bartender rescue Castle. When Castle then went back into the water, the friend and the bartender rescued her a second time.[8] On October 28, 1959, she was arrested again and fined for drunkenness. On November 13, 1959, she tried to hang herself after being placed in a Beverly Hills jail on a drunkenness charge.[9]

Castle also faced financial problems that resulted in legal action. In December 1959, she told a superior court that she had no money when an interior designer got a $4,500 judgment against her. On February 25, 1960, Castle filed a bankruptcy petition listing $300 worth of clothes as assets and $13,678 in debts. In April 1960, a debt warrant was served on her after she was booked on a drunk charge. Officers had found her lying on the front seat of a car in a parking lot.[10]

Later years and deathEdit

Castle spent her later years in Lodi, California. She died of lung cancer at the age of 67 in Palm Springs, California.

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1948 Mexican Hayride Girl Uncredited
1949 Always Leave Them Laughing Showgirl Uncredited
1949 The Threat
1950 The Tougher They Come Flo
1951 Prairie Roundup Toni Eaton
1951 Texans Never Cry Rita Bagley
1951 When the Redskins Rode Elizabeth Leeds
1951 Criminal Lawyer Gloria Lydendecker
1952 Just for You U.S.O. Troupe Uncredited
1952 The Lawless Breed Jane Brown
1952 Eight Iron Men Girl
1953 Three Steps to the Gallows (UK) White Fire (US) Yvonne
1953 Gunsmoke Cora Dufrayne
1956 Crashing Las Vegas Carol LaRue
1956 Yaqui Drums Linda Quigg
1957 The Last Stagecoach West Louise McCord
1960 The Threat Laura Wallace
1960 The Jailbreakers June

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Brode, Douglas (2010). Shooting Stars of the Small Screen: Encyclopedia of TV Western Actors, 1946–Present. University of Texas Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780292783317. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  2. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television (4th ed.). New York, New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc. p. 793. ISBN 0-14-02-4916-8.
  3. ^ a b c d "Social Security Death Index". Rootsweb.ancestr.com. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen: Mary Castle". Glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  5. ^ "Mary Castle - Biography". Allmovie. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  6. ^ "When the Redskins Rode". Paladin Communications. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  7. ^ "Meet McGraw". Classic TV Archives. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  8. ^ "Actress Mary Castle Twice Saved From Sea". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. September 15, 1959. p. 13. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Actress Attempts To Hang Self". Democrat and Chronicle. New York, Rochester. Associated Press. November 14, 1959. p. 5. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Actress Is Held On Debt Warrant". The Miami Herald. Florida, Miami. Associated Press. April 22, 1960. p. 9 - C. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.

External linksEdit