1947. Inscribed “Irving Ress, With great appreciation, Kay Aldridge, 1947”.
Kay inscribes this photo two years after retiring. Her career began 13 years earlier – as a secretary in Baltimore. But it didn’t last long. A cousin sent a photo of her to the John Powers modeling agency in New York, who signed her up in 1936, age 19. Over the next three years she was one of the most photographed women in the US, appearing on the covers of Life, Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook and Look magazines and in many advertisements.
Which of course brought her to the attention of the Hollywood studios. In 1939 she signed a contract with 20th Century-Fox, and in the next few years landed a number of minor and largely decorative roles. She was among the actresses screen-tested for the part of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.
In 1941, she moved to Republic Pictures, a less prestigious studio, to take the lead role in Perils of Nyoka, a serial that offered dramatic cliffhanger scenes at the end of each episode. Further feisty heroine roles followed in serials with titles such as Daredevils of the West (1943) and Haunted Harbor (1944). She retired from acting in 1945 when she became the second of Arthur Cameron’s four wives (his fourth was actress Ann Miller).
The marriage will end in divorce in 1954 but Kay will marry twice more, surviving each of her husbands and in her later years she will become a locally renowned hostess in Camden, Maine.