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This is a tribute to classic actresses, silent beauties, and forgotten starlets. We have tons of rare pictures, old Hollywood gossip, and vintage memorabilia. You will see some sexy photos and read a lot of scandalous stories because these ladies were not saints - they were legends!

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  • 02/14/14--23:35: Isabel Jewell

  • "I want nothing that I haven't earned thru my own efforts." ~ Isabel

    Isabel Jewell was born on July 19, 1907 in Shoshonu, Wyoming. Her father was a successful doctor and the family lived on a large ranch. Isabel was educated at St. Mary's Academy in Minnesota and later attended Hamilton college. When she was a teenager Isabel began acting in stock companies. In 1930 she was cast in the Broadway show "Up Pops the Devil". Her performance earned her rave reviews and a talent scout brought her to Hollywood. She started getting supporting roles in movies like Manhattan Melodrama and Marked Woman. Unfortunately Isabel found herself typecast as a tough-talking blonde and she was rarely given leading roles. She once called herself "the most unsuccessful successful actress in Hollywood". Isabel had a serious romance with actor Lee Tracy and the press reported they were engaged. After they broke up Isabel said she never loved anyone as much as she had loved Lee. She married radio personality Walter Crump in 1936. The following year she starred as a prostitute in the drama Lost Horizon.

    In 1939 Isabel played Emily Slattery in the epic Gone With The Wind. She continued to make movies throughout the 1940s but her parts were usually small. Isabel divorced Owen and married actor Paul Marion in 1941. Sadly this marriage would only last two years. At their divorce trial she testified that Paul flew into violent rages. Isabel was disillusioned with Hollywood and decided to move to Las Vegas. In 1959 she was arrested for writing bad checks. Two years later she spent five days in jail for driving drunk. Despite her personal problems Isabel never gave up on her acting career. She made a guest appearance on Gunsmoke and had a small role in the 1972 horror film Sweet Kill. On April 5, 1972 sixty-four year old Isabel was found dead in her home. The coroner said her death was caused by natural causes. Isabel was buried in her hometown of Shoshoni, Wyoming. At the time of death Isabel had no family and most of her belongings were given to a friend.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

    With Janet Gaynor

    Isabel (left) in Marked Woman with Bette Davis

    Isabel's autograph (from my collection)

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  • 02/18/14--02:32: Paulette Goddard Is Nude

  • Paulette Goddard was known for her vivacious personality and her great beauty. She started modeling when she
    was a child. Before becoming a star she posed nude for photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston.

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  • 02/18/14--04:37: Happy Mother's Day ~ Part 2

  • Celebrate Mother's Day with more of our classic beauties and their moms

    Lucille Ball and her mother Desiree

    Ann Miller and her mom

    Betty Compson and her mom

    Janet Gaynor and her mother Laura

    Mary Pickford and her mom

    Olive Borden and her mother Sibbie

    Judy Garland and her mom

    Joan Crawford and her mom

    Grace Kelly and her mom

    Joan Fontaine and her mother Lillian

    Claudette Colbert and her mom

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  • 02/20/14--06:28: Madeline Hurlock

  • "The characteristics that make up the screen vampire prevent her from being anything else." ~ Madeline

    Madeline Hurlock was born on December 12, 1899 in Federalsburg, Maryland (some sources say she was actually born in 1897). After attending college she moved to New York to be a dancer. In 1919 she made her Broadway debut The Rose of China. Her big break came when Mack Sennett offered her a contract and she became one his famous bathing beauties. She appeared in dozens of comedy shorts including Scarem Much, Flirty Four-Flushers, and A Prodigal Bridegroom. Sennett called her  the “wittiest of the bathing beauties.”. Madeline's first marriage, to Army Captain John Sterling McGovern, ended in 1924. The following year she was named one of the WAMPAS baby stars along with Olive Borden and June Marlowe. With her dark hair and exotic looks Madeline quickly became a popular leading lady.

     In 1927 she worked with Laurel and Hardy in the comedy Duck Soup. Although she had a lot of success in silent films she decided to retire when the talkies started. She later said had gotten bored with making movies. Madeline married playwright and screen writer Marc Connelly in 1930. They divorced five years later and she married writer Robert E. Sherwood. He became President Roosevelt's speech writer and won an Academy Award in 1946 for Best Screenplay. She and Robert moved to New York City and were happily married until he died of a heart attack in 1955. Madeline continued to live a quiet life away from the spotlight for the next thirty years. She passed away on April 4, 1989 at the age of eighty-nine. Madeline is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

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    Bette Davis was one of Hollywood's greatest actresses. She was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and
    won twice. Many of the characters she played were as unforgettable as she was.

    In 1937's Marked Woman Bette plays Mary, a prostitute who tries to protect her sister from ending up like her

    "I'll get you, even if I have to crawl back from the grave to do it!" ~ Mary

     In 1950's All About Eve she plays Margo, an aging actress who befriends a young fan

    "I'd marry you if it turned out you had no blood at all." ~ Margo

    In 1941's In This Our Life she plays Stanley, an evil young woman who steals her sister's husband

    "You'd like to put your arms around me right now, wouldn't you? You'd like to kiss me, wouldn't you?" ~ Stanley

    In 1940's The Letter she plays Leslie, a woman who claims she killed a man in self-defense

    "With all my heart, I still love the man I killed." ~ Leslie

    In 1951's Another Man's Poison she plays Janet, a mystery writer who may have murdered her husband

    "You asked a pretty question; I've given you the ugly answer." ~ Janet

    In 1942's Now, Voyager she plays Charlotte, a depressed woman who falls in love with a married man

    "Some girls aren't the marrying kind." ~ Charlotte

    In 1937's Dark Victory she plays Judith, a carefree socialite who learns she has a terminal illness

    "As long as I live, I'll never take orders from anyone. I'm young and strong and nothing can touch me." ~ Judith

    In 1952's The Star Bette plays Margaret, a has-been actress trying to raise her daughter

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  • 02/23/14--01:18: Myrna Loy

  • "Life, is not a having and getting, but a being and becoming." ~ Myrna

    Myrna Loy was born Myrna Adele Williams on August 2, 1905, in Helena, Montana. Her father died when she was thirteen and her family moved to California. She began her career working as an extra in films like Ben-Hur and The Jazz Singer. Myrna was usually cast as a femme fatale due to her exotic looks. In 1930 she was offered a contract with MGM. When she teamed up with William Powell to make The Thin Man her image was changed to the ideal wife. Myrna and William became one of Hollywood's most popular screen teams and made more than a dozen movies together including Libeled Lady and The Great Ziegfeld. In 1936 she married producer Arthur Hornblow Jr. and was voted the "Queen Of Hollywood" in a nationwide poll. Myrna wanted to be a mother but a botched abortion left her unable to have children. She divorced Arthur and married John Hertz Jr. of the Hertz Rent A Car family in 1942. They divorced two years later.

     With William Powell

    Her success continued with starring roles The Best Years Of Our Lives, Cheaper By The Dozen, and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Myrna's third marriage, to screenwriter Gene Marky, lasted four years. She married Howland H. Sergeant, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, in 1951 but this marriage didn't last either. Myrna continued to appear in movies and starred on Broadway in the play The Women. At the age of seventy she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo a mastectomy. After retiring from acting she published her autobiography Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming. Although Myrna was never nominated for an Oscar in 1991 she was given an honorary Academy Award for her career achievement. She died on December 14, 1993 from complications during surgery. Myrna is buried at Forestvale Cemetery in Helena, Montana.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2013

    A signed letter (from my collection)

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  • 03/06/14--11:32: Betty Grable

  • "I'm a song and dance girl. I can act enough to get by. But that's the limit ofmy talents." ~ Betty

    Betty Grable was born Elizabeth Ruth Grable on December 18, 1916, in St. Louis, Missouri. She was the youngest of three children (her brother died before Betty was born). By the age of five she was taking tap dancing and saxophone lessons. Betty's ambitious mother was determined to make her a star. They moved Hollywood when Betty was a teenager and she was often forced to lie about her age to get work. She beat out hundreds of other hopefuls to become one of the "Goldwyn Girls" and got small roles in movies like The Gay Divorcee and Pigskin Parade. Betty married former child star Jackie Coogan in November 1937 but they divorced three years later. In 1939 she starred on Broadway in the musical DuBarry Was A Lady. Betty was offered a contract with 20th Century Fox in 1940 and was given the lead in the musical Down Argentine Way. It was a smash and she became one of Hollywood's hottest actresses. More hit films followed including Moon Over Miami, Pin-Up Girl, and The Dolly Sisters. Betty fell in love with bandleader Artie Shaw and was devastated when he eloped with nineteen-year old Lana Turner. To make matters worse Betty discovered she was pregnant and had an abortion. In 1941 she became engaged to actor George Raft but ended the relationship when he could not get a divorce from his wife.

    With Jackie Coogan

    She also had brief romances with Tyrone Power and Victor Mature. Betty became the most popular sex symbol of World War 2 after a pin-up she posed for became world famous. As a publicity stunt her legs were insured for one million dollars. She married bandleader Harry James in July 1943 and had two daughters - Victoria and Jessica. Betty and Harry shared a love of horse racing and they bought several horses. By 1948 she was the highest paid woman in America. Despite all of her success she was growing tired of Hollywood and decided to stop making movies. Her final film was the 1955 musical How To Be Very, Very Popular. Betty later worked in Las Vegas and on Broadway. She also made occasional appearances on television shows like The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour. During the 1960s Betty appeared in commercials for Geritol and Playtex. After years of putting up with Harry's gambling and cheating she divorced him in 1965. Soon after she began dating a young dancer named Bob Remick. Betty was a heavy smoker who often smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. She died from lung cancer on July 2, 1973. Although she had once been a millionaire Betty was nearly broke when she passed away. She is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2013

     With her daughters

    A handwritten letters (from my collection)

    Harry James and Betty's Christmas card (from my collection)

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  • 03/07/14--14:02: Nearly Nude
  • These classic beauties weren't afraid to show some skin for the camera

     Carole Lombard

    Marion Davies

     Jayne Mansfield

     Myrna Loy

    Gwen Lee

    Marilyn Monroe

    Peggy Shannon

    Elissa Landi

    Marie Prevost

    June Knight

     Lucille Ball

    Diana Dors

    Jeanette Loff

    Yvonne De Carlo

    Clara Bow

    Clara took it ALL off for her nude swimming scene in Hula

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  • 03/08/14--04:13: Virginia Rappe

  • "Personally I don't know why lounge lizards exist. Even the cootie, the fly, and the ant have a mission in life
    but the lounge lizard - I can't explain it." ~ Virginia

    Virginia Rappe was born Virginia Caroline Rapp on July 7, 1891, in New York City. After her mother died she was raised by her grandmother in Chicago. She grew into a beautiful teenager and began modeling when was fourteen. Virginia moved to San Francisco in 1916 and became engaged to dress designer Robert Moscovitz. Before they could be married Robert was killed in a streetcar accident. Virginia was devastated and decided to relocate to Los Angeles. She began acting and landed small roles in the films Paradise Garden and His Musical Sneeze. During this time Virginia had at least one abortion and gave birth to a child that she put up for adoption. In 1919 she fell in love with director Henry Lehrman. He cast her in several of his films and her career started to take off. She costarred with Rudolph Valentino in The Isle of Love and was given the title "Best Dressed Girl in Pictures".  Virginia had few close friends and she spent much of her time with her beloved bulldog Jeff. On September 5, 1921 she attended a party hosted by comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. At the party she got drunk and ended up passed out in Fatty's suite.

    Eventually she was taken to a hospital where she died on September 9. Virginia was only thirty years old. The official cause of death was a ruptured bladder and secondary peritonitis. Maude Delmont, who had also attended the party, told police that Fatty had sexually assaulted Virginia. Rumors began to circulate that he had raped her with a champagne bottle. Fatty was arrested and charged with manslaughter. During his three headline making trials it was revealed that Virginia suffered from an acute urinary tract infection and her numerous health problems likely contributed to her death. After two mistrials Fatty was acquitted of all charges but his career and reputation were destroyed. Virginia was buried at Hollywood Forever cemetery. More than 8,000 people attended her funeral. Her devoted boyfriend Henry Lehrman paid $1000 to cover her casket in tiger lillies. When Henry died in 1946 he was buried next to her. Sadly the true details about Virginia's death may never be known and she will always be remembered as Fatty Arbuckle's victim. Some fans who have visited her grave claim they have heard the voice of a woman crying.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

    Virginia's casket

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  • 03/08/14--23:07: Charlotte Greenwood

  • "Temperament is temper that is too old to spark." ~ Charlotte

    Charlotte Greenwood was born Frances Charlotte Greenwood on June 25, 1890, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was a sickly child and her father left the family when she was very young. Charlotte grew into a healthy, six foot tall woman. She started her career dancing in vaudeville where she became known for her long legs. Her signature dance move was doing a high kick. She was nicknamed "Lady Longlegs". In 1915 Charlotte married actor Cyril Ring. She was deeply in love with him but he left her for another woman. Charlotte married songwriter Martin Broones in 1924. Although she dreamed of becoming a dramatic actress she had greater success in comedy. She starred in a series of stage shows playing a man crazy character named "Letty". The character became so popular that Charlotte starred in the movie version So Long Letty in 1929.

    She appeared in dozens of films including Down Argentine Way, Star Dust, and The Gang's All Here. Charlotte was usually cast as the comedic sidekick and became one the most recognizable character actresses. During World War 2 she joined the Hollywood Victory Caravan and traveled across the country with other film stars raising money. Charlotte returned to the stage in 1950 starring in Cole Porter's Out of This World. She was a devout Christian scientist and her faith made her turn down roles she felt were too risque. In 1955 she played Aunt Eller in the hit musical Oklahoma. Charlotte made a few more films before retiring. She and Martin enjoyed a very happy marriage until his death in 1971. Charlotte died on December 28, 1977 from natural causes. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered at sea. Since she had no children she left her personal papers to playwright William Luce.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

    Charlotte, Betty Grable, and John Payne

    Charlotte's autograph (from my collection)

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  • 03/12/14--01:49: Happy St. Patrick's Day
  • Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with our classic beauties

    Lucille Ball

    Carole Landis

    Ava Gardner

    Mary Pickford

    June Haver

    Angela Greene

    Virginia Vance

    Maureen O'Hara

    Vera Reynolds

    Martha Vickers

    Toby Wing

    Olga San Juan

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  • 03/21/14--04:54: Tragic Suicides
  • Sadly these classic beauties never found happiness and took their own lives

    Carole Landis (1919-1948) was a popular actress and pin-up girl. Depressed over a failed
    affair with actor Rex Harrison she ended her life with an overdose of secanol.

    Jeanette Loff (1906-1942) was a lovely star known for her soprano voice. Unhappy
    with her marriage and career she committed suicide by swallowing ammonia.

    Marion Aye (1903-1951) was a promising starlet who was named a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1922. 
    She suffered from psychiatric problems and died after swallowing poison in a motel room.

    Lupe Velez (1908-1944) was a dark haired beauty nicknamed "The Mexican Spitfire". When
    she became pregnant out of wedlock she killed herself with an overdose of pills.

    Florence Lawrence (1886-1938) was one of Hollywood's first real movie stars. After her
    career and looks were destroyed in a fire she ended her life by ingesting ant poison.

    Barbara Bates (1925-1969) was a successful model who appeared in the 1950 film All About Eve. 
    Devastated by her husband's death she committed suicide with carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Marvel Rea (1901-1937) was one of Mack Sennett's prettiest bathing beauties. After
    surviving a brutal kidnapping she took her own life with ant poison.

    Joan Dowling (1928-1954) was a British actress who appeared in a dozen films. When
    she found out her husband was cheating she committed suicide by gas poisoning.

    Peg Entwistle (1908-1932) was a beautiful young woman who came to Hollywood to be a star. 
    After making only one film she killed herself by jumping off the Hollywood sign.

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  • 03/22/14--09:33: Meet The Flappers

  • Flappers were the most fashionable women of the 1920s. They wore short skirts, drank bootleg alcohol, and loved
    to dance. Let me introduce you to some classic beauties who epitomized the flapper era ...

    Clara Bow became Hollywood's most famous flapper

    Colleen Moore

    Alice White

    Louise Brooks made the bob hairstyle popular

    Joan Crawford

    Josephine Baker

    Norma Shearer

    Billie Dove

    Anita Page

    Olive Borden

    Sue Carol

    Marie Prevost

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  • 03/23/14--14:40: Sonja Henie

  • "Jewelry takes people's minds off your wrinkles." ~ Sonja

    Sonja Henie was born on April 8, 1912 in Oslo, Norway. She grew up in a very wealthy family and was encouraged to play sports. Sonja loved playing tennis and she excelled at ice-skating. At the age of ten she won her first ice-skating competition. She competed in the 1924 Winter Olympics and came in eighth place. Sonja became the ice-skating world champion in 1927 and the following year she won an Olympic gold medal. She also won gold medals in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. After retiring from competitive skating Sonja wanted to pursue an acting career. In 1936 her father financed an extravagant ice show in Hollywood. Darryl Zanuck took notice of the petite blonde and signed her to a contract. Her first film, One In A Million with Adolphe Menjou, was a huge success. Although critics complained about her acting skills and thick accent audiences loved her. She starred in a string of hits including Thin Ice, My Lucky Star, and and Sun Valley Serenade. All of her films included dazzling ice-skating routines which she choreographed herself. By 1939 she was one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. She appeared on the cover of Time magazine and her skates were immortalized at Graumann's Chinese Theatre. In addition to her acting Sonja toured the world performing in ice shows and landed many lucrative endorsement deals.

    She had high profile romances with Tyrone Power, boxer Joe Louis, and Van Johnson. In 1940 Sonja married businessman Daniel Topping. During World War 2 her connections to the Nazis caused a controversy. She had often performed in Germany and her popularity plummeted when a photo of her with Adolphe Hitler was published. Sonja decided to become a US citizen and supported the USO in their efforts. She divorced Daniel and married Winthrop Gardner, a wealthy aviator, in 1949. By this time her movie career was over. She continued to perform in ice shows and even starred in her own television special. Unfortunately she had a serious drinking problem which eventually forced her to retire. Sonja's marriage to Winthrop ended in 1956. That same year she married shipping magnate Niels Onstad. The couple moved back to Norway and opened a museum to showcase their art collection. In 1968 Sonja was diagnosed with leukemia. She died on October 12, 1969 at the age of fifty-seven. Sonja is buried on a hilltop overlooking the Henie-Onstad museum. After she died her brother wrote a scandalous biography in which he claimed Sonja had a violent temper and was very promiscuous.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

    With Tyrone Power

    A handwritten letter to George Cukor (from my collection)

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  • 03/27/14--12:15: Linda Darnell's Perfect face

    Linda Darnell was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. She had big brown eyes, flawless porcelain skin,
    and pouty lips. It's easy to see why she got the nickname "the girl with the perfect face".

    In 1939 Life magazine said Linda was  "the most physically perfect girl in Hollywood"

    In 1944 Linda was named one of the four most beautiful women in the world by Look magazine

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  • 03/28/14--10:26: Peggy Shannon

  • "I am as much like Clara Bow as onion soup is like a fine day." ~ Peggy

    Peggy Shannon was born Winona Sammon on January 10, 1907, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She attended Catholic school where she became friends with child actress Madge Evans. While visiting her aunt in New York sixteen year old Peggy was discovered by producer Florenz Ziegfeld. He hired her as a chorus girl in The Ziegfeld Follies. Peggy married actor Alan Davis in 1926. The following year she was starring on Broadway in Earl Carrol's production of What Anne Brought Home. In 1931 she was offered a contract at Paramount studios. With her beautiful face and red hair Peggy was promoted as "the new Clara Bow". When Clara suffered a nervous breakdown Peggy was given her role in The Secret Call. Although she starred in the films This Reckless Age and Hotel Continental her career never really took off. She also developed a reputation for being difficult to work with.

    When her movie contract was not renewed she tried returning to Broadway. Unfortunately by this time she had serious drinking problem and was fired from the play The Light Behind The Shadow. Peggy continued to get small parts in B-movies like Youth On Parole and Cafe Hostess. She divorced Alan in 1940 and married camera man Albert G. Roberts. On May 11, 1941 her husband returned home from a trip and found Peggy slumped over the kitchen table. She had died from a heart attack at the young age of thirty-four. Her autopsy revealed that she had a serious liver ailment cause by her alcoholism. Three weeks after her death Albert committed suicide. Peggy is buried at Hollywood Forever cemetery in Hollywood, California. The epitaph on her tombstone says "That Red Headed Girl, Peggy Shannon".

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

    Peggy's Christmas card (from my collection)

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  • 03/30/14--17:20: Dorothy Dandridge

  • "If I were white, I could capture the world" ~ Dorothy

    Dorothy Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents separated before she was born and Dorothy was raised by her mother Ruby, an aspiring entertainer. Ruby encouraged Dorothy and her sister Vivian to go into show business. They created a song and dance act and performed at the Apollo Theatre and the Cotton Club. Dorothy made her film debut in the 1935 comedy Teacher's Beau. She got small parts in dozens of films including Four Shall Die and Sundown. In 1942 Dorothy married dancer Harold Nicholas. They had one daughter, Harolyn Susanne, who was born brain damaged. By the early 1950s Dorothy's marriage was over and she was touring the country with her nightclub act. Her acting career finally took off when she was cast in the drama Carmen Jones. The movie was a hit and she was nominated for an Academy Award. Dorothy began an affair with married director Otto Preminger. 

    After four tumultuous years she ended the relationship when he refused to leave his wife. In 1959 she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the musical Porgy and Bess. Dorothy was now a star and she appeared on the cover of Life magazine and People Today. Unfortunately there weren't many leading roles for black actresses and her movie career stalled. She married businessman Jack Denison and went back to singing in nightclubs. Dorothy divorced Jack in 1962 after discovering he had spent all of her money. Then Dorothy suffered a complete nervous breakdown. When she recovered she started planning her comeback. On September 8, 1965 Dorothy was found dead in her apartment. She was only forty-two years old. Although it was initially reported that she died of a drug overdose the coroner later concluded that she had died from a rare embolism. Dorothy was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

    Dorothy's autograph (from my collection)

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  • 04/03/14--15:05: Toby Wing

  • "Because I'm a vivid blonde and people think of me as a chorus girl they won't believe I'm any more than just that." ~ Toby

    Toby Wing was born Martha Virginia Wing on July 14, 1915, in Amelia Courthouse, Virginia. Her father worked as an assistant director and helped Toby get her first acting job at the age of nine. When she was a teenager she was hired as one of the Goldywn Girls along with Betty Grable and Paulette Goddard. Toby started to get supporting roles in films like School For Girls and Murder At The Vanities. In 1934 she announced her engagement to actor Jackie Coogan but they broke up soon after. With her platinum blonde hair and voluptuous figure Toby became a popular sex symbol. Her high-profile romances with Maurice Chevalier, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr, and singer Pinky Tomlin kept her in name in the gossip columns.

    Although she played leading roles in The Marines Came Through and With Love And Kisses Toby never became a big star. In 1938 she married aviator Dick Merrill. Toby toured with several stage productions but eventually she quit acting. Her first son Henry died from crib death in 1940. That same year her second son Ricky was born. Toby and Dick eventually settled in Virginia and she began a new career as a real estate agent. Tragically in 1982 their son Ricky was murdered in their home. Just one month later Dick died from a heart attack. Toby remained in Virginia with her two granddaughters. She passed away on March 22, 2001 at the age of eighty-five. Toby is buried with her husband and sons in Christ Church Kingston Parish Cemetery in Mathews, Virginia.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

    A program signed by Toby, Lupe Velez, and Clifton Webb (from my collection)

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  • 04/05/14--13:37: Bette Davis

  • "I will not retire while I've still got my legs and my make-up box." - Bette

    Bette Davis was born Ruth Elizabeth Davis on April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts. Her parents divorced and Bette's mother encouraged her to become an actress. She studied acting and appeared in numerous Broadway shows. In 1931 she made her film debut in the drama The Bad Sister. The following year she married musician Harmon Nelson. During their marriage she had two abortions because she thought a baby would hurt her career. Bette was offered a contract with Warner Brothers and in 1935 she won an Academy Award for her performance in Dangerous. She won her second Oscar for the 1938 film Jezebel. With hit movies like Now, Voyager, The Great Lie, and Mr. Skeffington Bette became one of the most successful actresses in HollywoodIn 1941 she became the first female president of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. After divorcing Harmon she was romanced by Howard Hughes and began an affair with director William Wyler. Bette said he was the great love of her life but he refused to leave his wife. She married innkeeper Arthur Farnsworth in 1942. Tragically just three years later he died after an accidental fall.

    During World War 2 she sold war bonds and volunteered at the Hollywood Canteen. Bette married artist William Grant Sherry in 1945 and had a daughter, Barbara. While making the drama All About Eve she fell in love with her costar, Gary Merrill. She divorced her husband and married Gary in 1950. The couple adopted two children, Margo and Michael. Sadly Margo was mentally retarded and had to be institutionalized. Gary and Bette had a tumultuous marriage and they divorced after ten years together. In 1963 Bette worked with her longtime rival Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? and received her eleventh Oscar nomination. In the early 1980s Bette was diagnosed with breast cancer and suffered a stroke. Despite her illnesses she continued to work in movies and on television. She also wrote several autobiographies and became a popular talk show guest. Bette was devastated when her daughter Barbara wrote an unflattering tell-all book and she never spoke to her again. She died on October 6, 1989, from complications of breast cancer. Bette is buried with her mother and sister at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California. The epitaph on her grave says "She did it the hard way".

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2013

    A handwritten letter (from my collection)

    Bette's book (from my collection)

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  • 04/13/14--03:55: Betty Compson

  • "They say I love money. I do, though it was pretty cold comfort, a pretty poor substitute, for all I'd lost." ~ Betty

    Betty Compson was born Eleanor Luicime Compson on March 19, 1897, in Beaver, Utah. After her father's death she dropped out of school to help her family. She began her show business career as a violinist and toured with her mother in vaudeville. Betty was offered a contract with Al Christie in 1915. Over the next five years she appeared in more than forty short films. Her career really took off when she costarred with Lon Chaney in the 1919 drama The Miracle Man. She was called "The Prettiest Girl in Pictures"and became one of highest paid actresses in Hollywood. Betty was also one of the first women to run her own production company. In 1921 she starred in and produced the movie Prisoners Of Love. She married actor James Cruz in 1925 but they had a rocky relationship and separated several times. Unlike some other silent stars Betty was able to make the transition to talkies. 

    She was nominated for an Academy award in 1928 for her performance in The Barker. Betty finally ended her marriage to James in 1930 and was left nearly bankrupt by their divorce. She was forced to sell her home and many of her possessions. Betty continued to make several movies a year and even started her own cosmetics line. She auditioned for the role of Belle in Gone With The Wind but did not get the part. Her second marriage, to producer Irving Weinberg, lasted just four years. At their divorce trial she testified that he left her home alone while he went out with other women. In 1944 she married professional boxer Silvius John Gall and decided to retire from Hollywood. Her final film was the comedy Here Comes Trouble. Betty and her husband went into business together and were happily married until his death in 1962. Betty died from a heart attack on April 18, 1974. She is buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.

    ~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

    Betty's autograph (from my collection)

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