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Iris Lancaster
Iris Clive

Full name: Iris Idele Lancaster
1915 - 2001

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above are prolific baddie Jack Ingram and Iris Lancaster in a scene from RIDIN' THE TRAIL (1940), one of the singing cowboy adventures starring Fred Scott.

Above are John Wayne and Iris Lancaster (as bad girl "Marie LaFleur") in a screen capture from Wayne's THE TRAIL BEYOND (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934). Blonde Verna Hillie was the heroine in this film.
A decade or so ago, I ran the above photo asking for help in identifying this mystery lady. There was a suggestion she may be Iris Lancaster and the photo might be from RIDIN' THE TRAIL, a Fred Scott / Spectrum film ... and that wound up being correct.

Boyd Magers had the RIDIN' THE TRAIL epic, and he ran it for me to confirm or deny the identity of this range heroine. Boyd's e-mail reads: "A match. It is Iris Lancaster. Same girl, same outfit. Awful movie."

RIDIN' THE TRAIL was one of the Spectrum films that singing cowboy Fred Scott made in the late 1930s. It wound up being released by independent distributor Arthur Ziehm in the early 1940s, which was a year or two after Spectrum folded.

Iris Idele Lancaster was born in Florida in 1915. She appeared in about a dozen films scattered over a ten year period from 1933 - late 1940s, initially as "Iris Lancaster" and then as "Iris Clive". She was in John Wayne's THE TRAIL BEYOND (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934) which had Verna Hillie as the heroine. In BEYOND, Iris has some dialog and screen time as bad girl "Marie LaFleur" who's in cahoots with no goods Robert Frazer and Earl Dwire. About ten years later, and looking virtually unchanged from THE TRAIL BEYOND, Iris Clive has a billed role as heroine Jennifer Holt's maid in the Rod Cameron / Eddie Dew RENEGADES OF THE RIO GRANDE (Universal, 1945). Later - as Iris Clive - she shows up in several of the Jimmy Wakely Monogram oaters.

There's a few traces of information on her in the census records, newspapers, trade publications, etc.:

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Iris Lancaster / Iris Clive:

1935 color photo of Iris and Colin Clive. There's color and B&W versions of this photo. Sources have them dining at either the Brown Derby nightclub or the roof of the Hollywood Tower apartment building:

Family Search (free), (subscription), Newspaper Archive (subscription), Social Security Death Index (SSDI), and other sources provide more on Iris Lancaster and family:

Newspaper, tradepaper, and other mentions:

(From Old Corral collection)

RIDIN' THE TRAIL was the last of singin' cowboy Fred Scott's series for Spectrum films and was filmed in 1939. However, it got lost or misplaced during Spectrum's financial meltdown and collapse. Trade publications indicate that Monogram had the film and planned a June 27, 1940 release ... and then it's listed as postponed. Independent distributor Arthur Ziehm acquired the film and released it in late 1941 - early 1942.


Sheila Darcy / Rebecca Wassem
Real name: Rebecca Benedict Heffener
1914 - 2004

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Max 'Alibi' Terhune, John Elliott, John 'Dusty' King, Sheila Darcy and Ray 'Crash' Corrigan in a scene from TUMBLEDOWN RANCH IN ARIZONA (Monogram, 1941), one of the Range Busters' series.

For fans of serials and westerns, Sheila Darcy (1914 - 2004) is best remembered because of her work in two cliffhangers: she was "Volita", the female lead in ZORRO'S FIGHTING LEGION (Republic, 1939) and the "Dragon Lady" in TERRY AND THE PIRATES (Columbia, 1940).

According to family trees on, she was born Rebecca Benedict Heffener in York, Pennsylvania IN 1914. At around age 5, Sheila moved with her mother and an aunt to Los Angeles after her parents separated. Her mother re-married to Wilbur Joseph Wassem.

Her movie career was brief - she did about 45 films from the mid 1930s to the early 1940s, and many of her roles were unbilled. In her early movie work, she was known as Rebecca Wassem. Les Adams has Sheila identified in a half dozen westerns and two cliffhangers.

There are traces of Rebecca / Sheila in tradezines and a few examples are below:

There were two marriages. Her first was to Erich Von Stroheim, Jr. in Los Angeles on May 28, 1943. Newspaper reports indicate they divorced in late 1945 - early 1946 in Las Vegas. She married movie star Preston Foster (1900 - 1970) on April 2, 1946, and they were together through his passing in 1970.

Though retired from movies, Sheila and hubby Preston Foster did some personal appearances:

The November 25, 1957 Billboard Cavalcade of Fairs carried a full page ad for Preston Foster, 'Cap'n John' of TV's popular 'Waterfront', starring in the 1958 Riverboat Follies show. Cast included Sheila D'Arcy, 'Lovely Star of Stage and Screen' and Stephanie Foster, 'The Voice with a Smile'. Bookings were handled by MCA Fair Productions.
(Preston Foster's WATERFRONT TV show ran for two seasons, 1954 and 1955, and was produced by Roland Reed Productions and ZIV Television.)

Sheila passed away on February 20, 2004.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Sheila Darcy / Rebecca Wassem:

Family Search (free), (subscription), California Death Index, Social Security Death Index (SSDI), trade papers and other sources have info on Sheila and family:

Find A Grave website has a photo of the markers for Sheila and husband Preston Foster who are interred at El Camino Memorial Park, San Diego, California:

(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left is a pressbook ad for Buster Crabbe's JUNGLE MAN (PRC, 1941) which featured Sheila Darcy as the female lead.

Boring and chock full of stock footage, the only redeeming value is that Crabbe is reunited with Charles Middleton who was 'Ming' in the Flash Gordon chapterplays ... but this mess was a big step down for both actors.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - a lobby card from TUMBLEDOWN RANCH IN ARIZONA (Monogram, 1941) showing John Elliott, John King, Sheila Darcy and Ray Corrigan. Appears that King isn't happy with Corrigan's interest in Sheila.

Here's a mystery for you - there's a bunch of these type lobby cards in circulation. But there's no Monogram brand name or logo. They have a common layout showing Corrigan and his twin six-shooters on the left side, and the only variation is the colors that are used (black plus a couple other colors). An approximate 6 1/2 inch x 8 1/2 inch scene still is glued on the card stock. Les Adams recalled that a company in Oklahoma circa 1935-1942 made up their own posters and cards and rented/leased them to theatres cheaper than the exhibitors could get them from National Screen Service or the company exchanges.

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