August 28, 1925 – September 27, 2003.
During their years travelling with the orchestra, Mildred and Mareen became friends with the O’Connor family and a certain little “small fry” known as Donald. In their collection of memorabilia were these autographed photos which read “To Mildred and Sig with love, Donald O’Connor (Small Fry).
In June of 2003 my dad (Michael Edmunds) took one of the photos to the Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids, MN where Donald was a guest. He showed Donald the photo, which he enjoyed seeing again, and then he autographed it again to me! What a wonderful man 🙂
He was a brilliant entertainer and I have enjoyed many of his movies and seeing him as a guest on many television shows. One of my most favorite scenes is in “Singin’ in the Rain” when he and Gene Kelly perform “Moses Supposes”. The dancing is fabulous and the lyrics are just hysterical! Of course the most famous scene is “Make ’em laugh” where he does all kinds of acrobats and physical comedy – very vaudevillian. I also really loved the movie “There’s No Business Like Show Business” where he plays a young man growing up in a vaudeville family. Lots of good singing and dancing in that one.
Once again, happy birthday Donald, and I’ll leave you all with my favorite dance number. If you’ve not seen the movie yet, this scene happens just after the talkies start becoming big. All the silent movie stars now need to learn how to “talk” on film. This scene starts with Gene Kelly taking his vocal lesson. Enjoy!! 🙂