Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars You Never Knew: ZaSu Pitts
On August 5, Mariah Carey became the 2,556th star who earned a permanent spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—whose lights already illuminated the path? Each week, PopCrush will look into the oft-forgotten icons of yesteryear. Between Slim Summerville (?), Tichi Wilkerson Kassel (!) and the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, this is Walk Through Memory Fame.
This is ZaSu Pitts. If you silently read ZaSu as "Zaz-oo," "Zay-soo" or "Zay-zoo," you had better take a good, hard look in the mirror and figure out what got you here.
ZaSu ("Say Zoo" [seɪzu]) Pitts, who predicted in her 1963 book Candy Hits by ZaSu Pitts that you'd likely mispronounce her name, was born in 1894 to a woman named Nelly and a man named Rulandus whose leg was blown off in the Civil War. She went to high school in Santa Cruz, dreamed of being and actress and GUESS WHAT? SHE BECAME ONE.
After moving to Los Angeles when she was 22, Pitts worked as a film extra until she started booking jobs such as a role in silent film Greed, which was notable for opening doors to dramatic roles and originally running 9.5 hours long.
Pitt's real bread and butter ultimately came from funnier roles, though. People loved watching her play a nervous spinster, like in Forty Naughty Girls, in which she played Hildegarde Withers, a nervous spinster. She also racked up fans on Broadway and later, on TV, where she starred on Guestward, Ho! which followed the Hooten (formerly Hooton) family's follies on a New Mexican dude ranch.
After marrying a boxing promoter, divorcing him and marrying another man who was not a boxing promoter, Pitts died at age 69 in 1963. But her legacy lived on, because—HEY, GUESS WHAT—it's likely that the woman who voiced Olive Oyl modeled the constantly kidnapped Popeye character after Pitts, according to America's Film Legacy.
ZaSu Pitts' star was presented on February 8, 1960 and remains at 6554 Hollywood Boulevard. It's just a stone's throw from Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen and within spitting distance of Mike's Smoke Shop and Vapor Bar, the area's oldest smoke shop at vapor bar, it insists.
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