Cammie King

By Vallance, Tom | The Independent (London, England), October 7, 2010 | Go to article overview
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Cammie King


Vallance, Tom, The Independent (London, England)


Actress who played Bonnie Blue in 'Gone with the Wind'

Cammie King appeared in only one motion picture, but it is one that is still (taking account of inflation) considered the most successful film ever made: Gone with the Wind (1939). King played Bonnie Blue, the daughter of Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), who meets an untimely end when her horse throws her at a jump. She contributed to one more film - providing the voice of the young doe Faline in the Disney film Bambi (1942) - but it is as Bonnie Blue that she achieved lasting fame. "I peaked in show business at the age of five," she said. "Imagine being in two classics and never doing another thing after that."

Born Eleanore Cammack King in Los Angeles in 1934, she was the stepdaughter of Herbert Kalmus, head of the Technicolor corporation. Her older sister had been cast as Bonnie, but production took so long that by the time the shooting of her scenes was to start, she looked too old, and she suggested four-year-old Eleanore (already nicknamed Cammie), who was tested and immediately casted. With a cherubic face and bright blue eyes, she filled the role of the child who is initially to be called Eugenia Victoria, but when she is a week old her father admires her blue eyes, prompting Scarlett's cousin Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) to comment, "as blue as the bonnie blue flag".

King recalled Clark Gable as "warm and friendly", adding, "when he kissed me, his moustache tickled. I'd tell that to my mother's friends and they'd swoon." In the film, Rhett dotes on Bonnie and takes her to London, where he promises her the sight of London Bridge. "Will it be falling down?" she asks, but she quickly becomes homesick and anxious to see her mother, the wilful Scarlett.

Later she displays similar wilfulness when she asks her parents to watch her prowess at jumping with her pony and, despite Rhett's warning that she is being too daring, goes ahead. "Just like Pa", says Scarlett, suddenly chilled as she recalls her father's death in a riding fall.

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