If you don't remember Ken Murray (7/14/03 - 10-12-88), don't feel too bad. Most people don't.
After all, he was only a minor celebrity with the American public. He was, however, better known in Hollywood - because he specialized in taking pictures, and movies, of Hollywood's elite when they weren't working.
We generally only see actors and actresses after Edith Head and Max Factor get through with them. Ken Murray photographed, and filmed, the stars at play, or simply relaxing.
Murray was himself an actor and an entertainer - although his career was hardly a stellar one. He appeared in a little more than a dozen mostly forgettable movies (from the IMDB) during the 1930's and 1940's before moving on to television in the early 1950s:
Bill and Coo (1948) .... Ken Murray, in prologue Juke Box Jenny (1942) .... Malcolm Hammond Swing It Soldier (1941) .... Jerry Traynor
... aka Radio Revels of 1942 (UK)
Screen Snapshots Series 21, No. 1 (1941) .... Master of Ceremonies A Night at Earl Carroll's (1940) .... Barney Nelson Swing, Sister, Swing (1938) .... Nap Sisler Wedding Yells (1938) .... Ken You're a Sweetheart (1937) .... Don King From Headquarters (1933) .... Mac A Preferred List (1933) Brother Could You Spare a Million? (1933) Disgraced! (1933) .... Jim McGuire Crooner (1932) .... Peter Sturgis Ladies of the Jury (1932) .... Spencer B. Dazy Leathernecking (1930) .... Frank
... aka Present Arms
Half Marriage (1929) .... Charles Turner
But Ken had a hobby, playing around with a 16mm home movie camera, and he parlayed that into a far more impressive career. He began taking `home movies' of Hollywood stars back in the 1930s.
Columbia pictures began using some of his work in a long running series of shorts called "Screen Snapshots", which gave him even more access to the stars.
Murray would frequently host these mini-documentaries.
During the war years of the 1940's, Murray appeared as producer and star of the Los Angeles stage show "Ken Murray's Blackouts", an amalgam of young starlets, bawdy humor, and novelty acts that ran for 7 years.
In 1947 he received a special Academy Award for "novel and entertaining use of the medium"
While Murray would occasionally ply his acting skills in shows like Death Valley Days, Burke's Law, and the classic western movie, The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance, he is best remembered today for his home movies and documentaries about the golden age of Hollywood.
In 1963, he put many of his film snippets into a television documentary called Hollywood Without Makeup.
This 50 minute film, available on the Internet Archive, is a wonderful look back at the `old' Hollywood - when the Studio System was king, and the stars had names like Bogart, Gable, and Lombard.
According to the uploader, this documentary features footage of:
Eddie Albert, June Allyson, George K. Arthur, Mary Astor, Lew Ayres, Max Baer, Lucille Ball, Richard Barthelmess, Rex Bell, Edgar Bergen, Sally Blane, Humphrey Bogart, John Boles, Pat Boone, Eddie Borden, Hobart Bosworth, Clara Bow, William Boyd, Fanny Brice, Paul Brooks, Joe E. Brown, Johnny Mack Brown, Virginia Bruce, Rory Calhoun, Leo Carrillo, Charles Chaplin, Lew Cody, William Collier Jr., Russ Columbo, Gary Cooper, Jackie Cooper, Jeanne Crain, Robert Cummings, Linda Darnell, Marion Davies, Joan Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Dolores del Rio, Cecil B. DeMille, Jack Dempsey, Walt Disney, Kirk Douglas, Marie Dressler, Irene Dunne, Josephine Dunn, Stuart Erwin, Ruth Etting, Douglas Fairbanks, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Charles Farrell, Todd Fisher, Errol Flynn, Joan Fontaine, Glenn Ford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Reginald Gardiner, Cary Grant, Alan Hale, Oliver Hardy, William Randolph Hearst, Jean Hersholt, William Holden, Bob Hope, Hedda Hopper, Walter Huston, Sam Jaffe, Van Johnson, Buck Jones, Hope Lange, Charles Laughton, Stan Laurel, Gertrude Lawrence, Mervyn LeRoy, Charles Lindbergh, Carole Lombard, William Lundigan, Fred MacMurray, Jayne Mansfield, George Marshall, Herbert Marshall, Chico Marx, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Joel McCrea, Victor McLaglen, Adolphe Menjou, Mayo Methot, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Morgan, Wayne Morris, Jean Parker, Louella Parsons, Mary Pickford, Dick Powell, Tyrone Power, George Raft, Gregory Ratoff, Donna Reed, Debbie Reynolds, Buddy Rogers, Charles Ruggles, Albert Schweitzer, George Seaton, Norma Shearer, George Stevens, Lewis Stone, Margaret Sullavan, Robert Taylor, William T. Tilden, George Tobias, Spencer Tracy, Lupe Velez, Jimmy Walker, John Wayne, Johnny Weissmuller, Mae West, Claire Windsor, Robert Woolsey, Jane Wyman and others
Hollywood Without Makeup - Ken Murray
A collection of behind the scenes and home movies from the golden age of Hollywood. Hosted by Ken Murray with a Special appearance by Kirk Douglas. Features footage of: Eddie Albert, June Allyson, George K. Arthur, Mary Astor, Lew Ayres, Max Baer, Lucille Ball, Richard Barthelmess, Rex Bell, Edgar Bergen, Sally Blane, Humphrey Bogart, John Boles, Pat Boone, Eddie Borden, Hobart Bosworth, Clara Bow, William Boyd, Fanny Brice, Paul Brooks, Joe E...