Mary, 84, from Brookdale Riverwalk, moved to Hollywood when she was only 5 years old. Mary was a child prodigy who played the piano. As a child, Mary played several roles in a variety of Hollywood films. Mary left her acting career behind her 9 years after moving to Hollywood and eventually met the love of her life, Earle, in high school. Mary and Earle have been married for 64 years now. Earle claims there is a video online of Mary playing piano with Jimmie Stuart that they enjoy watching again and again. Over the past 40 years, Earle has been locating and collecting the films Mary played a role in. Unfortunately, Earle has been unable to find the, “Song of the Buckaroo,” despite talking with all of the studios in Hollywood and even contacting Tex Ritter and reaching his son and was then sent to his secretary. There is a Ritter Museum in Texas that Earle has been in touch with, and Earle says they were very cooperative but did not have access to the film. Mary played, “Mary,” in this Tex Ritter film from 1938. Even though Mary has developed Dementia, she enjoys watching the films Earle has found and occasionally reconnecting with her past. As a result, Mary’s Wish of a Lifetime was to find the, “Song of the Buckaroo.”
Earle joined the National Guard in 1948 and served for 4 years. Towards the end of his service, Earle was called upon to help in the Korean War, where he worked as a tank commander. When he returned home, Earle and Mary dedicated much of their time to helping others in their community. Mary and Earle enjoyed organizing and performing at a variety of fundraising events. Earle even created and sponsored a golf tournament for 15 years that generated scholarships for kids to go to college. Mary recently moved to Brookdale Riverwalk, but Earle visits his wife every day. Here, Earle volunteers his time by conducting a singing group. In her free time, Mary enjoys spending time with Earle and occasionally watching one of her old films.
Unfortunately, Wish of a Lifetime has been told by various places that the, “Song of the Buckaroo,” is probably a lost film. Since there is such a slim chance that the film will be found, Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale honored Mary’s childhood career by creating a photo book for Mary with articles and pictures from important moments of her life. On March 25, 2016, Earle presented Mary with a framed photo from, “Song of the Buckaroo,” and the photo book. Earle and Mary enjoyed seeing the several significant stages of her life, and the photo book allowed Mary to reconnect with some memories from her past!
Photography by: Chris Thomas, C & B Pictures