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Claire Rochelle

Birth name: Mildred Frizell or Frizelle

1907, 1908, 1914, or ? - 1981

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - Bob Steele guards Claire Rochelle in a crop from the title lobby card from EL DIABLO RIDES (Metropolitan, 1939). This was her fourth (and last) film as Bob Steele's leading lady. Bob's horse is 'Lucky/Tex' which was ridden by John 'Dusty' King, Raymond Hatton, Jack Randall and Jimmy Wakely.

Born in or around Nevada, Missouri in 1907 or 1908 or 1914 or ?, Claire Rochelle and her mother moved to California. Claire learned to dance and her early film work was hoofin' and chorus girl jobs in Busby Berkeley musicals at Warners circa 1933-1934. In her early Hollywood days, she called herself "Mildred Claire".

Her first western was a bit/supporting role in Buck Jones' EMPTY SADDLES (Universal, 1936). Over the next 3-4 years, she progressed to leading lady roles with Bob Steele (4 films), Johnny Mack Brown (2 films), Fred Scott (2 films) and one with Ken Maynard. Claire also portrayed B western "bad girls" and examples include KID FROM SANTA FE (Jack Randall, Monogram, 1940) and TEXAS JUSTICE (George Houston, Lone Rider series, PRC, 1942).

During the World War II years, Rochelle's screen work slowed to an occasional bit or supporting role, and during that period, she was often employed at Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC).

Apparently, Claire grew tired of waiting for casting calls as well as the infrequent pay checks from acting jobs. She gave up movie work and began a fan club and fan mailing service with her husband Leo Hirsch. The business expanded and their clientele included scores of Hollywood stars. Actor Howard Duff was their first customer; and another customer was comedian George Gobel. In a February, 1955 newspaper article, author Bob Thomas wrote: "Miss Rochelle and her husband Leo Hirsch run the United Fan Club and Fan Mail Service from an office on the Sunset Strip."

Her movie career ran from about 1933 - 1946 and consisted of about 60 films (that includes 14 westerns and no serials). Claire's film appearances may have begun earlier - the Internet Movie Database lists her as a dancer in TANNED LEGS (RKO, 1929).

There are a variety of birth years for Claire Rochelle. You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral, and then to the California Death Index. There you will find a record for Claire R. Hirsch, born 8/22/1914 in Missouri, Mother's maiden name of Harrington, Father's name of Frizell, and she passed away in the San Diego, California area on 5/23/1981. However, the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) has her birth date as 8/22/1907.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Claire Rochelle:

The February 19, 1955 North Hollywood Valley Times newspaper has an article on actress Claire Rochelle and husband Leo Hirsch running the United Fan Club and Fan Mail Service for Hollywood celebs. Their clients included actor Howard Duff and comedian George Gobel:

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are Claire Rochelle and Buck Jones in a crop from a lobby card from EMPTY SADDLES (Universal, 1936). The heroine in this Jones oater was silent film star Louise Brooks. Rochelle had a supporting role.

(Courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

L-to-R are Sherry Tansey, Jim Corey, Claire Rochelle, Johnny Mack Brown, Frank LaRue, and Ed Cassidy in a lobby card from BOOTHILL BRIGADE (A. W. Hackel/Republic, 1937).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - title lobby card from Bob Steele's EL DIABLO RIDES (Metropolitan, 1939).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

L-to-R are Reed Howes, Dave O'Brien, Carleton Young, Bob Steele, Claire Rochelle and Ted Adams in a scene from RIDERS OF THE SAGE (Metropolitan, 1939).

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