First of all, her real name wasn’t Florence Bates — she was Florence Rabe Jacoby, born and raised in San Antonio. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in mathematics, which she taught … but later became a lawyer, one of the first female lawyers in Texas. She also ran an antique business that led her to travel in Europe and Asia (it seems she knew several languages), and ran a bakery in Los Angeles with her husband. She led an extremely fascinating life before she ever appeared on a movie theater screen. (via Texas is Everywhere: Florence Bates in ‘Rebecca’ | Slackerwood)
Jette emailed me about this actress over the weekend — I’d seen her in Kitty Foyle and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but didn’t realize how fascinating her real-life story was!