I have painted a tribute image of actress Adrian Booth as part of the Artprize event. Mrs. Adrian Booth Brian was born Virginia Pound in Grand Rapids in 1917. The image, an approximately 16 ft. high painting on wood panels was mounted outside “the B.O.B.” nightclub on Fuller at Monroe. It is visible from the street and the sidewalk. It portrays one of her most well known characters, Vultura, from the ” Perils of Nyoka” I940’s serial movie.
Special thanks to Adrian Booth Brian herself who supplied stills and enthusiasm for the project. Also special Thanks should go to John Douglas, a former film critic from the Grand Rapids Press, who contributed the historical written information at the bottom of the painting. And further-more thanks to Tommy Hildreth, Eric Stedman, Chuck Anderson, John Beifuss, and Ray Nielsen who supplied stills or contact information that were extremely helpful.
The idea came about as a site-specific Artprize entry. The concept was to use a historical or celebrity figure from The Grand Rapids region to give local viewers a strong connection with the artwork, as well as to serve an educational purpose about local cultural history. The eventual goal is to use this as a starter artwork to create a series of paintings of historical figures placed throughout Grand Rapids ( or other towns ) to create a kind of art and history walk.
The Character portrayed in the painting is the evil Vultura in Adrian Booth’s most famous Republic serial, “Perils of Nyoka,” which starred Kay Aldridge as a sort of female Indiana Jones. The male lead was the future Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore.
Still alive, and now living in California, Adrian Booth had a busy career in the 30’s and 40’s and occasionally thereafter. Before that she was a “Miss Grand Rapids” and a “Miss Michigan” and later a stage performer. Born as Virginia Pound in Grand Rapids, MI, she was “discovered” by a Columbia Pictures agent. She was given a screen test, and Columbia was impressed enough to sign her. She started performing as “Lorna Gray”, a name she kept until 1945, when she changed it to “Adrian Booth”. She worked mainly in the studio’s B unit, and sometimes worked with Republic or Monogram studios. She also occasionally worked with the “Three Stooges”, Buster Keaton and W.C. Fields in comedy shorts . Once she left Columbia, she worked mostly with Republic Pictures after 1941, appearing in westerns ( working with cowboy stars like John Wayne, Roy Rogers, the Durango Kid and Wild Bill Elliott), thrillers, horror movies, and in the serials in which the studio was best known for. She married actor David Brian in 1948, and after making films for a few more years, retired from the screen in 1951. She presently engages in philanthropy.
4 thoughts on “Tribute to Adrian Booth / Lorna Gray installed in Grand Rapids for Art-Prize Event”
I adored her when I was growing up. since I was born during the baby boomer era I only caught “Perils of Nyoka” and the other serials during the revival of the mid to late sixties, and later on home video. You have done and excellent job. God bless you for it.
Wow! She always made my little pre-teen blood pressure race altho I did not know why at the time. She must be in her late eighties. Glad she is still with us!
My aunt Adrian is alive and kicking. She is 96 this year (2013).
My daughter and I (she is 6 years old) were watching some old Three stooges shows tonight at her request and she asked me if any of the old stars in the movies were alive. I said, lets look. I ran across a list and said, Hey I know this name. She was famous. I clicked and found info on Lorna/Adrian and Anna was excited. She said I want you to show me the ones she was in so tomorrow we will watch the episodes. I then came across this page about the cut out mural and thought what a great idea for a little girls room to be decorated around the character Vultura! How unique would that be. Anna said she wants to write her and said, Oh Daddy, she is so beautiful. ha. Really starts today are all forgettable. Character actors, and the serial stars to me will live on forever.