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Ira Bates

Ira Bates

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Florence Bates didn't set out to become an actress; from her degree in mathematics to her career as an attorney, performing seemed to be the farthest thing from her mind. But after moving to Los Angeles to open a bakery, she auditioned on a whim for the role of Miss Bates in a theatrical adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma," nabbed the part, and found a second home on the stage during the 1930s. Alfred Hitchcock cast Bates as Mrs. Van Hopper in his moody 1939 drama "Rebecca," establishing her as a go-to actress for eccentric, high-society characters in dozens of films throughout the 1940s and early '50s.

Florence Bates didn't set out to become an actress; from her degree in mathematics to her career as an attorney, performing seemed to be the farthest thing from her mind. But after moving to Los Angeles to open a bakery, she auditioned on a whim for the role of Miss Bates in a theatrical adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma," nabbed the part, and found a second home on the stage during the 1930s. Alfred Hitchcock cast Bates as Mrs. Van Hopper in his moody 1939 drama "Rebecca," establishing her as a go-to actress for eccentric, high-society characters in dozens of films throughout the 1940s and early '50s.

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