Interesting how a small part in a movie that wasn't "Big" when it opened, but is now an icon has become a way of life for her.
Sad that her parents' deaths ended her film career when the court sent her far from Hollywood. Life is what happens when you are making other plans.
Yes, her early years were very sad. If anyone has read the story about Karolyn, she was not treated very well by the relatives she was sent to live with. Her adult life has not been easy either.
As big as the movie is now, she and any of the other actors get ZERO from the movie. They were paid hardly anything at the time it was being filmed. In spite of everything she is an extremely nice person. Karolyn does travel to Seneca Falls from the state of Washington every Christmas for a celebration of the movie. The curator of the museum offered to call her and see if she would come to the museum when we arrive. She readily agreed. The curator asked us if we would mind if they incorporated our tour with the 70th anniversary of the movie. Of course, we approved!
You said it better than I, I did not mean to be critical, just find it interesting how a very short time in her life has lead to a "career" now in later life. You would think that with her success as a child actress that one of the studios could have helped in the court case to keep her in Hollywood, but the times were very different then (You'd also think the relatives would have moved to Hollywood to live off (sponge off!) her too. . . )
When released, the movie wasn't that big, and even lost money for the studio (by their bookkeeping system) and only became "big" much later in the 1970s when it became a Christmas TV staple. That's why the actors never made anything off it.
One of the most uplifting movies ever made.
To add a bit to what Dan and Dave have just said, I met Karolyn Grimes at an annual local "Antiques & Collectables" show that was held here a couple years ago. She talked with me and many others at her interesting and extensive photographic display at that show. In fact, my little grand daughter played the part of "Zuzu" in an amateur production of "It's a Wonderful Life" several years ago, and my daughter-in-law took Abby to meet "the real Zuzu" at that show, an it was a wonderful experience for all. She treated little Abby like a long lost relative and as Dan Killecut said, Karolyn Grimes certainly is an extremely nice person, to say the least!
David, you bring up a good point. It is a wonder that the relatives didn't move to Hollywood to cash in. Karolyn played in sixteen movies between 1944-1952. The Bishops wife was another Christmas movie she was in. The way the studios were set up in that era, none of the actors received any residuals for their work in entertainment. It wasn't until later that the system was changed, so entertainers would be able to share in the profits of their work. As you said times were very different then.Maybe the relatives just didn't realize what could have been for them also.
As a side note, the Dodge Touring that Jimmy Stewart used in the movie is going up for auction in a few days. According to the owner, when the movie was made, they were looking for a Model T to use, but could not come up with the right car. As part of Monday's tour I'm scheduled to drive Karolyn across the bridge in my wife's 20 Touring. They may also find a goat to ride in the back seat. There will be around 20 or more T's going across at the same time (whoever wants to join in).
Dan,I would be glad to take a goat in my back seat(as long as i can put a blanket down) WE are looking forward to seeing you guys in NY. I hear you and Ellen have done a great job!!!
Hey Dan - Have a link to that auction?
Karolyn will be at this auction. It was offered to her but she wasn't interested in buying it. The museum is interested, but the price is steep because of the movie connection
Thanks Pete! If they do get a goat, that is what we plan on doing.