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(Courtesy of Rick Newill)

Above are pretty Carol Hughes and James Newill in a still from the first of the Renfrew "singing mountie" films, RENFREW OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED (Grand National, 1937).

Carol Hughes

Real name: Catherine Hukill

1910 - 1995

Pretty brunette Carol Hughes was born in Chicago and began her Hollywood career in the mid 1930s as a contract player at Warner Brothers. Over the next fifteen or so years, she labored primarily in B films with occasional work in A grade movies.

To those of us who love the western and serial, Carol is best remembered as "Dale Arden" in the third and final Flash Gordon chapterplay, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE (Universal, 1940). We also recall her work at Republic Pictures during the period from 1938 - 1946. There, she was the leading lady to Roy Rogers in his first starring role, UNDER WESTERN STARS (Republic, 1938) as well as THE BORDER LEGION (Republic, 1940). Hughes had a support role in Roy's HOME IN OKLAHOMA (Republic, 1946) (Dale Evans was the female lead). Carol was the heroine in three with Gene Autry - GOLD MINE IN THE SKY (Republic, 1938), MAN FROM MUSIC MOUNTAIN (Republic, 1938) and UNDER FIESTA STARS (Republic, 1941). Carol also did a second cliffhanger which I've never seen - she was the evil "Zara, the High Priestess" in the Sam Katzman production JUNGLE RAIDERS (Columbia, 1945) which starred Kane Richmond, Eddie Quillan and Veda Ann Borg.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Carol Hughes (as "Dale Arden") and Buster Crabbe in a Chapter 10 lobby card from the third Flash Gordon serial, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE (Universal, 1940). Carol replaced Jean Rogers who played "Dale Arden" in the first two Flash Gordon cliffhangers.

As the 1940s progressed, Carol was busy caring for her family. During that time, she did a few films but the roles were small and she was often unbilled/uncredited. If you watch closely, you may spot Carol, now in her mid thirties, in BLONDIE KNOWS BEST (Columbia, 1946) and a couple of Cary Grant comedies, THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (RKO, 1947) and EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE MARRIED (RKO, 1948). She had a credited role in THE RED DRAGON (Monogram, 1945), one of the Sidney Toler/Charlie Chan mysteries. She also turns up in STAGECOACH KID (RKO, 1949), one of Tim Holt's best (Jeff Donnell was the leading lady in that film). Carol's final movie appearances were several 1950 - 1953 RKO comedy shorts that starred tall and bumbling Gil Lamb. She then retired.

Around 1928, when Carol was about 18 years old, she married actor Frank Faylen (real name: Frances Ruf) and they were together through his death in 1985. Prior to both entering films, they did stock / vaudeville as the comedy team of "Faylen and Hughes". For those who don't recall Frank Faylen, think "Herbert T. Gillis", the frustrated grocer and father of Dobie Gillis in THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS TV series which ran on CBS from 1959 - 1963. Faylen was also "Ernie the Cab Driver" in the Frank Capra directed IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) with James Stewart and Donna Reed. Carol and Frank had two daughters (Carol and Catherine). Carol was the former mother-in-law to Regis Philbin - daughter Catherine married Philbin in 1957 and they divorced in 1968.

The California Death Index has a (confusing) record for: Catlevone Mabel Ruf, born 1/17/1910 in Illinois, Mother's maiden name of Stein, Father's last name of Hukill, and she passed away in the Los Angeles area on 8/8/1995. Am guessing there was an error when her first name was initially recorded or, when the records were converted to digital / computer format. Thus, "Catlevone" should be "Catherine". The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) has a record for: Catherine M. Ruf, born January 17, 1910, passed away on August 15, 1995, and last residence was Laguna Beach, California. Note the discrepancy in the death dates. However, the same Social Security number appears under both records. Based on this information - and the census info below - Carol's real name was Catherine Hukill ... which perhaps she shortened and "Americanized" to Carol Hughes.

Rick Albright checked the census data and found Carol, her family, and Frank Faylen and his family. Some additional comments are shown in ( ):

1910 census - 3 month old Carol and her mother Mabel are living with her grandparents, Matthew and Anna Stift:
916 Center St., Chicago, Cook Co., IL
Matthew Stift, 50, married once, born IL, father and mother born Germany, works at own shop.
Anna Stift, 51, wife, married once, 11 children/5 living, born WI, parents born Germany, Germany.
George W. Stift, son, 18, single
Robert J. Stift, son, 17, single
Anna L or S, daughter, 14, single and Bertha L or S, daughter, 14, single (twins?) single
Mabel Hukill, daughter, 21, married once, one child/one living, born IL, parents born IL, WI.
Catherine A. Hukill, granddaughter, 3 months old, single. (This is Carol Hughes.)

1920 census - 9 year old Carol is living with her parents, Charles and Mable Hukill:
2122 Pearl Court, Chicago, Cook Co., IL
Charles Hukill, rents, 39, born IL, parents born in IL, IL, upholster shop
Mable Hukill, wife, 30, born IL, parents born in IL, IL
Katherine Hukill, daughter, 9, born IL, parents born in IL, IL (This is Carol Hughes.)
Pearl Hukill, niece, 10, born IL parents born in IL, IL

1930 census - Carol has been married to Frank Faylen for a couple years. She, Frank and their daughter are living with the Faylen (Ruf) family:
7 East Chestnut St., Chicago, Cook Co., IL
Otto C. Ruf, head of household, rents at $80 a month, age 60, born IN, both parents born Germany, actor/theatre
Mary M. Ruf, wife, 52, born IL, parents born Irish Free State
Frances C. Ruf, son, 24, married at 22, born MO, parents born in IN, IL, actor/theatre. (This is Frank Faylen.)
Catherine Ruf, daughter-in-law, 20, married at 18, born IL, parents born in "unknown" (This is Carol Hughes; and she married Frank Faylen circa 1928.)
Catherine F. Ruf, granddaughter, 11 months old, born IL, parents born in MO, IL (This is the first child of Carol Hughes and Frank Faylen.)
Leo Ruf, son, 21, born MO, parents born in IN, IL, clerk/hotel
Bernard Ruf, son, 18, parents born in IN, IL, no occupation
Randolph Ruf, son, 12, parents born in IN, IL, no occupation

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on:
          Carol Hughes:
          Carol's husband Frank Faylen (real name: Frances Ruf; 1905 - 1985):

Find A Grave website notes that Carol and husband Frank are interred in unmarked graves at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, California:
          Carol Hughes (Catherine Ruf):
          Frank Faylen (Frances Ruf):

It's always interesting to click through excerpts of newspaper headlines and clippings at the Google newspaper archives. Below are links to free articles:

January 30, 1937 article at the St. Petersburg Times newspaper titled "Carol Hughes' Secret Is Out; She's Married" and the article mentions that Carol and Frank have a six-year old daughter named Katherine:,4488017&dq=carol-hughes&hl=en

April 7 and April 12, 1947 articles at the Windsor (Ontario) Daily Star newspaper about Carol doing a pre-Broadway tryout of the mystery-comedy play "Trouble For Rent" at the Shubert Lafayette Theater in Detroit:,4742626&dq=carol-hughes&hl=en

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is the title lobby card from the first of the Renfrew "singing mountie" films, RENFREW OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED (Grand National, 1937). Carol Hughes is clutching James Newill's arm. In the canoe are Chief Thunder Cloud (Victor Daniels) and Lightning, the Wonder Dog.

(Courtesy of Lee Flippin)

Above are Roy Rogers, the original Trigger, and Carol Hughes in a scene from Roy's first starring adventure, UNDER WESTERN STARS (Republic, 1938).

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