Artist Willard Downes was commissioned by the major motion picture studios in the 1930s to do publicity sketches of the big name stars of the era. A Virginia-born painter and commercial illustrator, he was a staff artist for three New York newspapers: THE HERALD TRIBUNE, THE JOURNAL AMERICAN, and THE BROOKLYN EAGLE and his illustrations appeared in many magazines such as THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, LIFE, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING and COLLIERS. He was also an art director at various advertising agencies and exhibited his paintings at museums and galleries.
Scottish-born actor Donald Crisp, who began his theatrical career singing opera, had a long career as an actor and director of movies, from his early days with D.W. Griffith through the 1960s. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY in 1941.
American actress Miriam Hopkins, film star of the 1930s, made her theatrical debut as a chorus girl in THE MUSIC BOX REVUE in 1921. Her starring roles were in films such as TROUBLE IN PARADISE, DESIGN FOR LIVING, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and BECKY SHARP. Her later career was mainly on the stage in summer stock and touring companies and character parts in films.
From the guide to the Willard Downes portraits of Donald Crisp and Miriam Hopkins, undated, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)