Priscilla Lawson (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸
Priscilla Lawson was half way home from Hollywood when she was offered a contract by telephone. Believing she had failed in a screen test, Priscilla was flying to New York when she was reached at the Kansas City airport by Fred Datig, M-G-M casting director. The word from him was one of the greatest thrills of her life, she declares.
The daughter of Elizabeth and Elmer Shortridge was born in Indianapolis, August 13. Her father was associated with the Pennsylvania Railroad and a member of a well known Indiana family.
In Indianapolis, she attended Miss Blaker’s private school and the Shortridge high school, named in honor of her grandfather, a pioneer settler. Her favorite subjects were English, history and art, and her ambition was to become a famous dress designer.
Employed as Model
After graduation, she went to Miami on vacation, and decided to stay. She obtained employment as a model at one of the smart shops and soon became head of that department. At a fashion show a friend of Earl Carroll’s saw her and later inquired if she would like a job as showgirl in Carroll’s casino.
Priscilla accepted but after two weeks found that two jobs were too strenuous. She had been rising at 7 a. m., modeling until late in the afternoon, going to the casino at night and returning home about 3 a. m.
From Miami, she went to New York, believing she would find greater opportunities there as a model. She registered at a well-known agency and was used as a model by commercial artists and photographers.
Discovered by Talent Scout
She was discovered by a talent scout at a fashion show and made arrangements to go to Hollywood for a screen test.
She flew West through thunder storms and lightning, the plane being grounded a number of times, but eventually arrived in Hollywood for the test. She played in “Flash Gordon” at Universal and “Rose Bowl” and “King of the Gamblers” at Paramount.
When she got an opportunity to go back to New York in a chartered plane with James Dunn, Robert Blair and Mrs. Blair she accepted and the party took off.
In the meantime Datig was looking for a young brunette. When he saw Priscilla’s test his search was over. It would be simple to telephone her and arrange for her to come to the studio, Datig thought.
Left for New York
But the telephone call revealed that Priscilla had left for New York the day before. Through friends of Dunn’s, Datig learned the route the party intended to follow and began calling cities along the way. Finally, he reached the group by long distance telephone just as the plane was taxi-ing up to the runway for a take-off. Priscilla hopped out of the ship, wondering who could be calling her from Hollywood. When she heard Datig’s voice offering her a contract she stuttered and stammered and could hardly say “yes.”
Summoning her wits, she decided to ask permission to continue the flight and return to Hollywood in about a month. Datig agreed and Priscilla went back to the party to tell them of her good luck. She later returned to Hollywood to prepare for her first picture.
She admires people with a sense of humor and, although she would like to become a great actress, would give up any and all prospective careers to marry the right man and be a good wife and mother. Priscilla is five feet, five inches tall, weighs 118 pounds, has black hair and hazel eyes.
Her first screen appearance at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was in Double Wedding.
Collection: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1937)