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Shirley Patterson / Shawn Smith

Birth name:
Shirley Gladys Patterson

1922 - 1995

Shirley Gladys Patterson was born December 26, 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to Benjamin and Gladys Patterson. The family moved to the Los Angeles area in the 1920s and her father's occupation was druggist / drug store owner.

Some biographies mention Shirley as Miss California of 1940. But records indicate that Rosemary LaPlanche was Miss California in 1940 and 1941 and won the Miss America crown in 1941. Bill Bertram (V.P. Operations - Miss California) and I connected via e-mails in 2004, and excerpts from Bill's reply follow: "In doing a bit of checking I can't find Shirley anywhere ... there is a chance that Shirley may have been in one of the other Miss Calif. pageants ... USA, World, etc.". Bertram was correct about multiple beauty contests and Shirley was crowned Miss California 1940 at the contest in Venice, California. But Rosemary LaPlanche was the winner of the "official" Miss California 1940 event in San Bernardino, California, and LaPlanche went to Atlantic City for the Miss America pageant. Links further down this webpage have more on this.

Shirley's hobbies included archery and she was Southern California Junior Archery champ. And she was a 1941 graduate of the Mar-Ken School in Sherman Oaks, California. Publicity from beauty contests and archery got her noticed by Hollywood, and she signed with Columbia Pictures in 1942. After Columbia, she had a brief contract at MGM followed by free-lancing.

At Columbia Pictures, Shirley was the heroine in the first BATMAN (Columbia, 1943) serial. She appeared in Columbia's comedy shorts with Harry Langdon, Andy Clyde, and a couple with the Three Stooges. Some funny moments in PHONY EXPRESS (Columbia, 1943) with Shirley - as saloon gal 'Lola' - dancing with Curly Howard and gets a mug of beer spilled down her dress. Her westerns were with Charles Starrett, Bill Elliott, Tex Ritter, and Russell Hayden at Columbia, Johnny Mack Brown at Monogram, and Eddie Dean at Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). Her film debut was the female lead in the Elliott and Ritter adventure, NORTH OF THE ROCKIES (Columbia, 1942).

She was the heroine in THE LAND UNKNOWN (Universal-International, 1957), a tale of a military expedition landing inside of a volcano and finding a prehistoric world full of dinosaurs and assorted critters. Stuntman and future Tarzan Jock Mahoney was the star and Henry Brandon (the lead in Republic's Fu Manchu cliffhanger) played a crazed scientist. Her last movie was IT, THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (Vogue/United Artists, 1958).

Shirley's Hollywood career consisted of about forty films and a few TV appearances, and her work was split into two different time periods ... and two different names:

There were two marriages. As noted above, her first was to Alfred Fuller Smith, Jr. in September, 1947 and they divorced in February, 1971. In April, 1979, she married John Lawrence Bodette, an executive with the Florists' Telegraph/Transworld Delivery Association (FTD). They resided in Beverly Hills, California and were heavily involved in Beverly Hills society and charity activities.

In the mid to late 1980s, the Bodettes moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In her later years, Shirley Patterson Bodette was ill with cancer and had several surgeries. She passed away on April 4, 1995 at Hospice House, North Broward Medical Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Shirley was a pretty and talented lady that did some good B westerns. Wish she had done more.

(Courtesy of Bill Sasser)

Thanks to Bill Sasser for these photos of Shirley at the 1986 Charlotte Convention.

She was about 64 years old.

That's Bill Sasser with Shirley on the right.

(Courtesy of Bill Sasser)

(Courtesy of Bill Sasser)

Big smiles from Shirley and singing cowboy Eddie Dean. She was the leading lady in four of Dean's PRC westerns: STARS OVER TEXAS (1946), TUMBLEWEED TRAIL (1946), DRIFTIN' RIVER (1946), and BLACK HILLS (1947).

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Shirley Patterson / Shawn Smith:

More on Shirley in newspapers and at Family Search:

More on Shirley's two husbands:

Shirley was a 1941 high school graduate of the Mar-Ken School in Sherman Oaks, California. Other Mar-Ken graduates included Jane Withers, Lon McCallister, Jimmy Lydon, Gloria DeHaven and Jackie Moran. Alan Simon's Mar-Ken website has a senior photo of Shirley as well as a graduate listing noting that Shirley's "Major Subject" was English:

One of Shirley's skills and hobbies was archery. Large photo of Southern California Junior Archery champ Shirley Patterson in the December 6, 1941 Seattle, Washington Star newspaper:

Videos / movie trailers:

Shirley and the 1940 Miss California controversy:

The Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen website has a bio/timeline on Shirley:

Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a photo of Shirley Patterson, Harry Cohn, and Alma Carroll at the Hollywood Canteen, circa 1942. Harry Cohn was boss of Columbia Pictures:

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Russell Hayden, Shirley Patterson and Bob Wills of Texas Playboys fame, in Hayden's THE VIGILANTES RIDE (Columbia, 1944).

(From Old Corral collection)

Above from left to right are Roscoe Ates, Eddie Dean (riding Flash) and Shirley Patterson in a lobby card and crop/blowup. DRIFTIN' RIVER (PRC, 1946) was one of four Dean oaters in which Shirley was the heroine.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - Shirley and Eddie Dean's sidekick Roscoe Ates in a scene or a break in TUMBLEWEED TRAIL (PRC, 1946).

(From Old Corral collection)

Above from L-to-R are Ted Adams, Frank Ellis, Shirley Patterson and Eddie Dean in TUMBLEWEED TRAIL (PRC, 1946)

(From Old Corral collection)

Shirley/Shawn was also the heroine in IT, THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (Vogue/United Artists, 1958), which featured Ray 'Crash' Corrigan as the monster (wearing a rubber suit). This was Shirley's last movie.

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