Elise Cavanna

Active - 1926 - 1946  |   Born - Jan 30, 1902   |   Died - May 12, 1963   |   Genres - Comedy, Romance, Drama, Musical

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

The angular victim of an abscessed molar in W.C. Fields uproarious The Dentist (1932) -- in order to pull the tooth, Fields is forced to carry her around in a manner that, for all the world, looks like a frenetic case of coitus -- Elise Cavanna shared a birthplace with the great comedian (Philadelphia) and had appeared in his abortive Broadway-bound The Comic Supplement in 1925. The famously loyal Fields would demand the former dancer's services whenever he could, and the statuesque Cavanna was equally memorable as a typical overbearing Fields wife in The Barber Shop (1933). Offscreen, Cavanna was married to the art critic Merle Armitage and was herself known for a fine series of abstract oil paintings, one of which, Elevation, is exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Shortly before her death from cancer in 1963, Cavanna, with second husband James Barrett Welton, wrote the cookbook Gourmet Cookery for a Low Fat Diet.

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