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Luxford, Nola (1895–1994)

Luxford, Nola (1895–1994)

New Zealand actress, radio broadcaster, journalist, and literary inspiration. Name variations: Adelaide Minola Pratt, Nola Bauernschmidt, Nola Dolberg. Born on Adelaide Minola Pratt, Dec 23, 1895, at Hunterville, New Zealand; died Oct 10, 1994, in Los Angeles, California; dau. of Ernest Augustus Pratt (draper) and Adelaide Agnes (McGonagle) Pratt (schoolteacher); m. Maurice George Luxford, 1919 (div. 1927); m. William Bauernschmidt, 1927 (div. 1939); m. Glen Russell Dolberg, 1959 (d. 1977).

Traveled to California (early 1920s) and attempted to find work in Hollywood after 2 disastrous marriages; with assistance of Zane Grey, who claimed to have based some of his heroines on Luxford, secured cameo in Harold Lloyd comedy, Girl Shy (1924); made successful transition to talkies and worked with Katharine Hepburn, Basil Rathbone, Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, George Arliss and Mary Astor; starred in theater group that toured US and Canada; persuaded executives at NBC affiliate in Los Angeles that she do commentary at Olympic Games for New Zealanders and Australians, and her reports were heard throughout North America; wrote popular column for New Zealand Free Lance (1929–55); hired by NBC as one of 1st women news announcers (1939); instrumental in establishing ANZAC garden at Rockefeller Center to commemorate Australian and New Zealand war dead; published children's book, Kerry Kangaroo. Received OBE and American Award of Merit (1947); Queen's Service Medal (1989).

See also Carole van Grondelle, Angel of the ANZACs: Life of Nola Luxford (Victoria University Press); Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (Vol. 4).

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