Brunette leading lady, signed by Paramount in 1936. She was introducedwith a famous publicity campaign, which instructed prospective Americanaudiences to pronounce her first name 'O-lamp'. She was born backstage,in between a matinée and evening performance to vaudevillians Josephand Jeanne Bradna. Their dog act featured at the Olympia Theatre inParis -- hence her first name.
The Bradnas had been in show businessfor generations. Her father had been a circus rider and formerringmaster for Ringling Brothers. Likewise, her uncle Fred had beenringmaster for Barnum & Bailey. Her mother was a former operaticsinger. Trained by her dad, Olympe soon joined the family business as asinger and dancer.
Even before reaching her teens, she performed as anacrobatic dancer, costumed as a sailor, in a Parisian production of theBroadway musical "Hit the Deck", billed as the "tiniest sailor inFrance". Olympe became noted for her poise and for her ballet taps,later joining an American company of the Folies Bergere as an acrobaticdancer for Chicago's World Fair. She then performed for eight months atthe French Casino in New York, where she was 'discovered' by Paramounttalent scouts and discreetly signed under contract. For three months, Olympe was tutored in English, tap dancing and horseriding. She was then launched in a minor musical, Three Cheers for Love (1936) .
In the same year, she also made College Holiday (1936) , but her tiny role was totally submergedby the antics of star comedians 'Jack Benny' ,'George Burns (I)' , 'Gracie Allen' and 'Martha Raye' . Her first leading role was opposite 'Gene Raymond' in Stolen Heaven (1938) , a forgettable second-string programmerabout a couple of jewel thieves on the run. This was followed by the'Ray Milland' comedy Say It in French (1938) and asentimental theatrical drama, The Night of Nights (1939) , whichflopped despite a script by 'Donald Ogden Stewart' and directionby 'Lewis Milestone' . On loan to Warners, Olympe made three more films, the last being International Squadron (1941) , an airborne drama about a cockyAmerican pilot in the RAF, starring 'Ronald Reagan (I)' . In themajority of her films as the perfunctory love interest to sportingchamps or war heroes, she had little else to do but be ornamental.
Unsurprisingly, Olympe gave it all up in 1941 upon her marriage toSanta Barbara socialite Douglass Wood Wilhoit Sr. , devoting the rest ofher life to family and various charities. .
|1||The Last Train from Madrid||1937||as Maria Bonda|
|2||College Holiday||1936||as Felice L'Hommedieu|
|4||Highway West||1941||as Myra Abbott|
|5||International Squadron||1941||as Jeanette|
|6||Knockout||1941||as Angela Grinnelli|
|7||Meet the Stars #5: Hollywood Meets the Navy||1941||as Herself|
|8||Roger la Honte||1933||as Suzanne Laroque|
|9||Say It in French||1938||as Julie|
|10||Souls at Sea||1937||as Babsie|
|11||South of Pago Pago||1940||as Malia|
|12||Stolen Heaven||1938||as Steffi|
|13||The Night of Nights||1939||as Marie Alyce O'Farrell|
|14||Three Cheers for Love||1936||as Frenchy|