A new exhibit opening July 16 in Del Mar will celebrate the amazing life and career of American icon Ginger Rogers on what would have been her 100th birthday. The exhibit will feature candid, never-before-seen photographs of Ms. Rogers taken in the 1960’s and 70’s by Del Mar professional photographer Helen Montgomery-Drysdale, who was also a close friend of Ginger and her mother, Lela.
The exhibit will also be the first ever to show Ginger’s family ties to the United States Marine Corps. Drysdale recently discovered that Lela Rogers was one of the first 10 women ever to join the Marine Corps. Lela volunteered in 1918 at the age of 28 when Ginger was 7. Lela Rogers had a successful career in the Corps, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant and serving as editor of the famous Marine Corps publication “Leatherneck”. A gifted writer, Lela Rogers went on to write many Hollywood scripts.
Rare photos of Lela Rogers while she was in the Marine Corps will also be on display at the exhibit.
Ginger Rogers, of course, went on to become one of Hollywood’s most famous and beloved actresses. She appeared in 73 films and countless theatrical productions in a career that spanned nearly 60 years. Drysdale and her long-time assistant and cousin Dayna Carroll met and worked with Ginger in the 1960’s and remained close friends with Ginger until she died in 1995 at the age of 83.
Another little known fact about Ginger and Lela Rogers is that they also provided dairy products for the troops in World War II from their 1000 acre dairy ranch on the Rogue River near Medford, Oregon, where Ginger spent much of her time when she wasn’t working in Hollywood or on Broadway.
Rogers also sold more war bonds than anyone in U.S. history. “Ginger Rogers was the epitome of what a Hollywood star should be – a lady, talented beyond description, and a consummate American Patriot”, said Dayna Carroll.
The opening ceremony at the Ginger Rogers Exhibit will feature a color guard detail of female members of the Marine Corps Junior ROTC from Oceanside High School.
Helen Drysdale and Dayna Carroll are well known in San Diego Patriot circles, but they are not your average “tea party” activists. Veterans of the original Minuteman border watch project in Arizona in the Spring of 2005, they are affectionately known as the “Del Mar Vigil Annies” and they are every bit as tough as the nicknames when it comes to defending our Republic and our American principles.
In a recent interview, Dayna and Helen cited strong influences from Ginger and other Patriotic celebrities they’ve known and worked with over the years. Their good friends and clients ranged from Louis Armstrong to Carol Channing, Ethel Waters, Burt Lancaster; Mary Martin, and Marge & Gower Champion.
The two long-time, outspoken conservatives, now in their 80’s, refuse to roll over and watch their beloved country move towards socialism. Drysdale and Carroll grew up in blue collar families in the Northeast during the Great Depression. The long-time roommates moved to Del Mar from L.A. in 1971. San Diego County hasn’t been the same since.
The Ginger Rogers Exhibit is open to the public and will run daily from July 16 through mid-September at the Artists Space Gallery at Southfair, 2010 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar, just south of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Admission and parking are free. The Grand Opening is from 6-9 pm on July 16.
If you plan to attend, Helen and Dayna request that you RSVP to them at 858-755-6923.