Bethany Owen bills herself as "The Woman of 1001 Voices & Faces." OK, maybe 1,001 isn't quite true. But the Huntington Beach celebrity impersonator has dozens of personae tucked away in her wardrobe and makeup kit — and she'll summon plenty of them this summer in her show at Old World Village. Here are four of the women you might see Owen bring alive onstage:
Minnie Pearl (1912-96)
Who she was: Down-home country comedian — "Cousin Minnie Pearl" to her fans.
You may know her from: Longtime gigs on the "Grand Ole Opry" stage show and TV's "Hee Haw."
Persona: Her catchphrase — "How-w-w-de-e-e-e-e-e! I'm jes' so proud to be here!" — may give a general idea. Also, she commonly wore a hat with a price tag hanging from it.
Owen's take: "Well, I guess the first thing [when impersonating her] is don't be shy. And also, you've got to wear the hat. The hat is important. It's a dollar 99. I know it probably seems a little pricey in today's times."
Marlene Dietrich (1901-92)
Who she was: German movie icon whose career bridged the silent and sound eras.
You may know her from: 1930s film classics "The Blue Angel," "Morocco" and "The Scarlet Empress."
Persona: Sultry, deep-voiced beauty who often wore androgynous clothes and possessed one of cinema's great cool stares.
Owen's take: "Marlene was from Germany, of course, but she came to the United States, to Hollywood, and they did a little bit of development of her accent, so it's not pure German — at least not from the region from which she grew up, because Hollywood was trying to Americanize her voice a little bit."
Anita O'Day (1919-2006)
Who she was: "Contender as the finest jazz vocalist ever," in the words of AllMusic.com.
You may know her from: A string of Verve LPs in the 1950s and '60s, plus the documentary "Jazz on a Summer's Day."
Persona: Tough-talking "Jezebel of Jazz" who broke stereotypes by wearing a band jacket and skirt instead of a long gown.
Owen's take: "I do Anita for me. And, actually, there are some people who really know about her and love her music and are psyched that I do her.... She really eats her words. And she's a real technician in certain ways. When she grabs notes, it's almost like listening to an instrument."
Marilyn Monroe (1926-62)
Who she was: Oh, come on, you remember her.
You may know her from: 1950s movie classics "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "The Seven Year Itch," artworks by Andy Warhol.
Persona: Breathy, voluptuous blonde — or, as "Some Like It Hot" co-star Jack Lemmon calls her, "like Jell-O on springs."
Owen's take: "Actually, Marilyn was very well-educated. People don't realize it.... She knew a lot more than people gave her credit for, because you know what? It takes intelligence to be funny."