County has history of stardom

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Hundreds of Curry County residents had a small taste of fame when the movie “Believe in Me” was filmed in the area in October 2004.

More than 600 locals were used as extras for crowd scenes and about 20 landed small speaking roles, according to Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce movie liaison Liz Eisenbraun.

However, this won’t be the first time a Curry County resident has appeared on the big screen.

In the mid-1920s, Charles “Buddy” Rogers began appearing in silent films. He was in two big hits right away, including “Fascinating Youth” in 1926 and “Wings” in 1927. “Wings” was the first feature film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, according to www.goldensilents.com.

Rogers lived in Clovis from 1908 to 1913, Curry County historian Don McAlavy said.

Rogers, who was married to another silent film star, Mary Pickford, for 42 years, appeared in more than 30 movies before his death in 1999.

Another Clovis resident’s movie career ended in scandal.

Lila Leeds left Clovis High School in 1944 to pursue an acting career. Although Leeds appeared in nine movies in the late 1940s, she gained notoriety for being arrested with actor Robert Mitchum on charges of marijuana possession in August 1948.

Leeds died in September 1999.