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Santa Cruz County History - People
ZaSu Pitts Photo Gallery
Photographs Courtesy of Cynthia Mathews
ZaSu Pitts grew up in Santa Cruz. In her book, "Candy Hits" she recalled,
"...if I close my eyes, I can still see the kitchen in our Santa Cruz home, smell the fragrant odor of spice cookies baking in our old iron stove and molasses candy bubbling in the iron frying pan that we called a spider." (p. 13. Duel, Sloan and Pearce, 1963)
Her childhood home still stands at 208 Lincoln Street.
(Yearbook in the collection of
Santa Cruz Public Libraries)
To the right is ZaSu Pitts' high school graduation picture. It is from the 1914 edition of the Trident, the Santa Cruz High yearbook. The comment in the yearbook reads:
"Rarely is a class so fortunate as to have such a brillant leading lady as ZaSu Pitts. Even the solemnest, most awe-like member of the class loses their dignity at her comic interpretations. Can you imagine what future Hi plays will be without her? Moverover, she possesses that unusual quality, common sense, and lots of it."
After graduating from Santa Cruz High School, ZaSu went to Hollywood; this photo was taken right after she arrived in Hollywood. The caption on the original reads: Zasu Pitts - 1914 - Movie Actress.
In 1919, Zasu returned to Santa Cruz for a visit. Here ZaSu is being interviewed outside the office of the Santa Cruz Evening News, where her brother worked.
The following two photographs are, we believe, from that 1919 visit. On the left, ZaSu Pitts is standing in front of her childhood home with local promoter/entrepreneur Fred Swanton. On the right, she is visiting with Josephine Clifford McCrackin.
In 1925, ZaSu Pitts returned to Santa Cruz to star in Thunder Mountain, which was filmed mainly in Felton. The director and film crew are shooting on location in Paradise Park.
Here ZaSu is seen in a studio photo from Erich von Stroheim's " Greed, " 1923. The film was based on Frank Norris' novel, McTeague. Zasu Pitts starred in this dramatic film, playing the role of Trina.
In this publicity still, Zasu is shown with W.C. Fields. The characters are from the film is Mrs. Wigs of the Cabbage Patch, 1934.
This publicity photo is from the film Eternally Yours, which was released in 1939. It starred David Niven (seated with ZaSu) and Loretta Young.
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