Zasu Pitts ~ The Funny Character Actress

Zasu Pitts

Zasu Pitts was a popular character actress whose career spanned more than forty years

She was born Eliza Susan Pitts on January 3, 1804 in Parsons, Kansas. When she was nine her family moved to Santa Cruz, California. Tragically her father, Rulandus Pitts, died in 1908. To earn extra money earn family she began acting with a local theater troupe. Zasu auditioned for Mack Sennett and Charlie Chaplin but they rejected her. In 1917 she got her big break when screenwriter Frances Marion gave her a role opposite Mary Pickford in A Little Princess. Then she starred in a popular series of one-reel comedies. She married actor Tom Gallery in 1920. The couple costarred together in the films Bright Eyes, Heart of Twenty, and Patsy. Their daughter, Zasu Ann, was born in 1922. Director Erich Von Stroheim cast her in his films Greed and The Wedding March. Her dramatic performances won rave reviews. Zasu was devastated when her close friend Barbara La Marr died in 1926. Soon after she and her husband adopted Barbara's young son Marvin. She was signed by Hal Roach and starred in a series of shorts with Thelma Todd.

Zasu PittsZasu Pitts

Zasu Pitts Thelma Todd
Zasu and Thelma Todd

The comedy team of Pitts and Todd made seventeen movies together including Let's Do Things, Pajama Party, and On The Loose. Audiences loved them and they were often called the female Laurel and Hardy. Zasu became known for playing quirky, awkward characters who got flustered easily. In an interview she said "I was what they called a feature player, never a star. They say I was in five hundred films, everything but the newsreels." Her marriage to Tom ended in 1933. That same year she married John Woodall, a former tennis player. Unfortunately he had a gambling addiction that caused them a lot of financial problems. During the 1940s she had supporting roles in films like Let's Face It and Life With Father. She also starred on Broadway in Ramshackle Inn. Sadly she was diagnosed in cancer in the mid-1950s. Zasu continued to work and also wrote a cookbook called Candy Hits. Her final acting role was in a 1963 episode of Burke's Law. On June 7, 1963 she died from cancer at age sixty-nine. She was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Zasu PittsZasu Pitts

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