ZaSu Pitts (January 3, 1894 – June 7, 1963) (pronounced /ˈzeɪsuː ˈpɪts/) was an American film actress who starred in many silent dramas, although later, her career digressed to comedy sound films. She overcame her unglamorous looks and wallflower tendencies by using them to craft her stage and screen persona in scores of comedies.
Her unusual first name was coined from parts of the names "Eliza" and "Susan," female relatives who both wanted Pitts' mother to name the child after them. In many film credits and articles, her name was rendered as Zazu Pitts or Zasu Pitts. Though her name is commonly mispronounced */ˈzæzuː/, in her 1930s film shorts with Thelma Todd (see below), Todd clearly pronounced it /ˈzeɪsuː/ ZAY-soo. However, her name was consistently pronounced /ˈzeɪzuː/ ZAY-zoo during her recurrent guest appearances on the Fibber McGee and Molly show in 1939.
Born in Parsons, Kansas, to Rulandus and Nellie (Shay) Pitts, ZaSu was the third of four children. Her father, who had lost a leg while serving in the 76th New York Infantry Regiment in the Civil War, had settled the family in Kansas by the time ZaSu was born. In 1903, when she was nine years old, they moved to Santa Cruz,