Ona Munson

Ona Munson

Original Name Owena Wolcott
Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, USA
Death 11 Feb 1955 (aged 44)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA
Plot Ferncliff Mausoleum, Unit 8, Tier Y, Column G, Niche 5
Memorial ID 4749 · View Source
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Actress. She is best remembered for her role of southern madam Belle Watling in the classic 1939 film, "Gone With the Wind." Born Ona Wolcott in Portland, Oregon, she came to Broadway as the singer and dancer in the original production of "No, no, Nanette." During the 1930s, she had a very successful stage and radio career in New York, and in 1927, she introduced the song "You're the Cream in my Coffee." She was married three times, first to Edward Buzzell (1927-1937), then to Steward McDonald (1941-1947), and last to Eugene Berman (1949-her death in 1955), but had no children with any of them. She began her film career in the 1928 movie "The Head of the Family," but soon moved on to other films, including "Going Wild" (1930), "The Hot Heiress" (1931), "Five Star Final" (1931), then breaking for seven years to be a housewife to actor husband Edward Buzzell. When her marriage to Buzzell ended in divorce in 1937, she returned to acting for a living, beginning in the role of Anne Baker in "His Exciting Night" (1938), often playing loose, sexy women in her roles due to her sensual appeal to audiences. Pale, slim and blonde, she hit her peak as an actress in the role of beautiful madam with a heart of gold Belle Watling in "Gone With the Wind" (1939). Her acclaimed performance in this role resulted in her being typecast for much of her resulting career. She played in such films as "The Big Guy" (1939), "Wagons Westward" (1940), "Wild Geese Calling" (1941), "Drums of the Congo" (1942), "Idaho" (1943), and "Dakota" (1945). Despite her three marriages, she had many lesbian affairs, including one with Mercedes de Acosta, lesbian pioneer and feminist lover of many of Hollywood's leading ladies; her mixed sexual orientation was made clear in the book "The Hollywood Sewing Circle" by Axel Madsen. After World War II, she had only a couple of acting jobs, mostly on the new medium of television in guest star roles, as serious acting jobs evaded her. In 1955, she was plagued by ill health and committed suicide at the age of 45 with an overdose of barbiturates in her New York City apartment.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 17 Mar 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 4749
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ona Munson (16 Jun 1910–11 Feb 1955), Find a Grave Memorial no. 4749, citing Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum, Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .