Thursday, September 15, 2022

The moment a seven-year-old Brandon deWilde became an actor

Embed from Getty Images

My post about Sunday's music video turned into an essay on the acting career of its singer Brandon deWilde. There I wrote about how he made his Broadway debut as a seven-year-old to universal acclaim.

But can a seven-year-old act? 

It seems he can. I have found a video of an interview with his co-star in The Member of the Wedding, Julie Harris, in which she talks about the moment when he stopped parroting his lines and became an actor. 

Julie Harris won five Tony Awards for her stage appearances, starred with James Dean in East of Eden and ended up in the Dallas spin-off Knots Landing. She died in 2013.

Harris played a 12-year-old girl in The Member of the Wedding. She was 25 when the play opened on Broadway and a year or two older when the film was made, yet I still find her performance compelling.

The third star of the play was the wonderful Ethel Waters, the first black woman who, among many achievements in music, theatre and film, was the first African American to star on her own television show.

So keen were his parents not to spoil the boy that DeWilde wasn't told he had been nominated for an Oscar for Shane and didn't find out until some years afterwards. That seems a pity.

He must have known about Look magazine's awards though. The photo shows him. aged 11, after he has been honoured for his performance in Shane, and Audrey Hepburn who had won for hers in Roman Holiday.

No comments: