The Queen of the Hollywood Extras

From the beginning of the film industry, background talent has been referred to as “extras.” They are the people who merge into the background and either say and word or two, or have no lines at all. Bess Flowers is one of those extras. Known as the "Queen of the Hollywood Extras,” she appeared in more than 350 feature films and numerous comedy shorts in her 41-year career. Born in Sherman, Texas, Flowers made her film debut in 1923 when she appeared in the silent comedy film Hollywood. She made 3 films that year, and then began working extensively. Many of her appearances were uncredited and she generally played non-speaking roles. By the 1930s, she was in constant demand and her appearances ranged from Alfred Hitchcock thrillers to comedic roles alongside the Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy. She appeared in 5 films that won the Academy Award for Best Picture: It Happened One Night, You Can't Take it with You, All About Eve, The Greatest Show on Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days. In each of the movies, Flowers was uncredited. Her last movie was Good Neighbor Sam in 1964. Her acting career wasn’t confined to feature films. She also appeared in many TV series, including I Love Lucy, The Jerry Lewis Show, Perry Mason and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Flowers died on July 28, 1984 at the age of 85 in the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif.