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Articles on this Page
- 05/23/15--18:13: _Nancy Carroll
- 12/04/15--09:10: _Katherine Grant (Si...
- 12/14/15--17:13: _Let's Celebrate Chr...
- 12/18/15--00:58: _Irene Lentz (Fashio...
- 01/12/16--07:36: _Sunshine Hart (Sile...
- 12/02/15--04:01: _Kay Francis
- 01/23/16--12:42: _Thelma Parr
- 01/27/16--01:39: _Margaret Roach
- 02/08/16--21:18: _Martha Raye's Dress...
- 02/19/16--05:41: _Let's Celebrate Easter
- 03/01/16--11:24: _Janet Gaynor's Oil ...
- 03/07/16--07:42: _Eugenia Gilbert (19...
- 03/30/16--04:53: _Anny Ahlers (German...
- 04/16/16--07:57: _Faith Bacon (Burles...
- 05/07/16--23:47: _Bella Darvi (1950s ...
- 05/13/16--15:32: _Lucille Ricksen (Ch...
- 05/27/16--00:58: _Phyllis Barry (1930...
- 05/31/16--00:22: _Handwritten Letters...
- 06/01/16--04:49: _Marilyn Monroe
- 06/18/16--23:27: _Let's Celebrate The...
- 07/05/16--20:38: _Actresses & Their P...
- 07/10/16--03:53: _Jeanette MacDonald ...
- 07/11/16--07:21: _Ossi Oswalda (Germa...
- 08/25/16--00:16: _Regina Doyle (1920s...
- 09/06/16--00:10: _Lya de Putti (Hunga...
- 05/23/15--18:13: Nancy Carroll
- 12/04/15--09:10: Katherine Grant (Silent Actress)
- 12/14/15--17:13: Let's Celebrate Christmas
- 12/18/15--00:58: Irene Lentz (Fashion Designer)
- 01/12/16--07:36: Sunshine Hart (Silent Character Actress)
- 12/02/15--04:01: Kay Francis
- 01/23/16--12:42: Thelma Parr
- 01/27/16--01:39: Margaret Roach
- 02/08/16--21:18: Martha Raye's Dress From Four Jills In A Jeep
- 02/19/16--05:41: Let's Celebrate Easter
- 03/01/16--11:24: Janet Gaynor's Oil Paintings
- 03/07/16--07:42: Eugenia Gilbert (1920s Starlet)
- 03/30/16--04:53: Anny Ahlers (German Actress)
- 04/16/16--07:57: Faith Bacon (Burlesque Dancer)
- 05/07/16--23:47: Bella Darvi (1950s Starlet)
- 05/13/16--15:32: Lucille Ricksen (Child Star)
- 05/27/16--00:58: Phyllis Barry (1930s Starlet)
- 05/31/16--00:22: Handwritten Letters From Classic Actresses
- 06/01/16--04:49: Marilyn Monroe
- 06/18/16--23:27: Let's Celebrate The 4th Of July
- 07/05/16--20:38: Actresses & Their Poodles
- 07/10/16--03:53: Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy's Love Story
- 07/11/16--07:21: Ossi Oswalda (German Actress)
- 08/25/16--00:16: Regina Doyle (1920s Starlet)
- 09/06/16--00:10: Lya de Putti (Hungarian Actress)
Nancy continued to make movies but she was no longer an A-list star. She played supporting roles in That Certain Age and There Goes My Heart. Unhappy with the way her career was going she decided to quit making movies in 1938. She returned to the stage and starred in the Broadway show For Heaven's Sake Mother. During the 1950s Nancy made guest appearances on numerous television shows. She also costarred with her daughter, Patricia Kirkland, in the series The Egg And I. Nancy married international businessman C.H. "Jappe" Groen in 1953. The couple split their time between Mexico and Indonesia. At the age of fifty-nine Nancy was cast in the play Never Too Late. It was a success and she toured with the show for two years. On the evening August 6, 1965 she didn't show up for her performance. Tragically she was found dead in her New York apartment. Nancy had died of an aneurism at the age of sixty-one. She was buried with her parents at Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York.
Katherine Grant was born on May 1, 1904 in Los Angeles, California. Her parents divorced and her father passed away in 1921. At the age of eighteen she won the Miss Los Angeles beauty contest and competed in the Miss America pageant. Katherine worked as a professional dancer and to make extra money she posed nude for an art study project. She made her film debut in the comedy short Saturday Morning and was offered a contract with Hal Roach. In 1923 she appeared in more than a dozen films including A Man About Town and Frozen Hearts. As her career took off the photographer who had taken her nude photos started to extort her. Katherine reported the man to the police and the scandalous photos did not hurt career. By 1925 she had become one of Hal Roach's favorite comedy vamps and he signed her to a new five year contract. Katherine worked with Oliver Hardy in Wild Papa and with Charley Chase in The Uneasy Three.
She and Charley also performed in a vaudeville act together. Unfortunately Katherine struggled with her weight and went on starvation diets to stay thin. On December 8, 1925, she was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Doctors told her to take a break from acting but she returned to work a few days later. In the Spring of 1926 Katherine suffered a nervous breakdown on the set and was put in a sanitarium. Newspaper reports blamed the breakdown on her extreme dieting. Sadly Katherine would never make another film. Her health continued to get worse and she started suffering from dementia. Eventually she was sent to to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino where she would live the rest of her life. Katherine died on April 2, 1937 from pulmonary tuberculosis. She was only thirty-two years old. Katherine is buried in an unmarked grave at Evergreen cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
She was nominated for an academy Award in 1948 for her work on B.F.'s Daughter. Eventually she left MGM to open her own fashion house. Unfortunately her marriage to Elliot was troubled and they began living apart. In 1960 Irene's close friend Doris Day asked her to design the clothes for Midnight Lace. She received her second Academy Award nomination for her work on the film. By this time Irene had a serious drinking problem and was suffering from depression. On November 15, 1962 Irene checked into the Knickerbocker hotel in Hollywood. She committed suicide by jumping out of a bathroom window. Irene was sixty-one years old. In her suicide note she wrote ""I'm sorry. This is the best way." She was buried next to her first husband at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Sunshine Hart was born Lucia Adams on July 6, 1886, in Vevay, Indiana. She would later claim that her father was a minister on an Indian reservation and that an Indian nurse gave her the nickname "Sunshine". After high school she started acting in stock companies and spent many years working in vaudeville using the stage "Miss Sunshine". She married Charles W. Hart and in 1912 their daughter Leora was born. At the age of thirty Sunshine made her film debut in the 1916 comedy short A Scoundrel's Toll. She continued to work on the stage and appeared in several of Jack White's Mermaid comedies. By 1924 she had divorced her husband and moved to Los Angeles. Producer Mack Sennett gave Sunshine a part in his short film Scarem Much. She would go on to star in more than two dozen of Sennett's comedies including Crazy To Act, Hoboken To Hollywood, and Smith's Baby.
“Beginning a new year - have a resolution to make - not to be a damn fool!" ~ Kay
By 1936 she was one of Hollywood most popular leading ladies. She became known for playing long suffering heroines in movies like Secrets of an Actress and Comet Over Broadway. Her success ended in 1938 when she was named "box-office poison" by the Hollywood Reporter. The following year she married her fifth husband Eric Barnekow. Sadly this marriage would also end in divorce. Kay never wanted to have children and she had several abortions. In 1942 she joined actresses Carole Landis, Mitzi Mayfair, and Martha Raye on a USO tour to entertain the troops. She also played herself in the musical Four Jills In a Jeep. After appearing in a few low budget movies she decided to quit acting. She moved to New York City and rarely made public appearances. In 1966 she as diagnosed with breast cancer. Kay died on August 26, 1968 at the age of sixty-three. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered.
John Hubbard, Margaret, and Carole Landis
Eugenia Gilbert was born Eugenia Knapp on November 18, 1902 in East Orange, New Jersey. She attended high school in New York City and went to Mallborough College in Los Angeles. When her father became ill she quit school and got a job as a dancer. She made her acting debut in the 1920 short film Paul's Peril. Eugenia began entering beauty pageants and in 1923 she won the title of Miss Los Angeles. She became one of Mack Sennett's bathing beauties and he signed her to a long term film contract. Eugenia starred in dozens of comedies including A Rainy Night, Sinners In Silk, and A Broadway Butterfly (she was often credited as Eugenie Gilbert).
Eugenia (second from right) with Rudolph Valentino
Eugenia Gilbert and Ruth Hiatt
"I want a man - a man to love! I want a husband, a home, a kitchen, and what goes with it." ~ Faith
Faith Bacon was born Francis Yvonne Bacon on July 19, 1910 in Los Angeles, California. She was an only child and her parents divorced when she was young. Faith dreamed of becoming a doctor but she decided to pursue a show business career instead. Although she had no formal dance training she moved to Paris and started dancing in burlesque shows. In 1928 she went to Broadway and starred in Earl Carroll's Vanities. Faith became famous doing a racy "fan dance" in which she appeared nude on stage covered only by ostrich feathers. She made headlines in 1930 when she was arrested for performing an "indecent show". Faith was given a starring role in The Ziegfeld Follies and she was one of the featured attractions at the 1933 World's Fair. Florenz Ziegfeld called her the "most beautiful woman in the world". When rival dancer Sally Rand starting doing her own fan dance Faith sued her claiming she had stolen the idea. Faith told reporters that her dream was to retire and start a family. She married songwriter Sanford H. Dickinson but the couple separated.
"I had the usual experiences of hunger and humiliation and I try not to remember them or discuss them although, of course, I shall never forget them." ~ Bella
Bella Darvi was born Bajla Wegier on October 23, 1928, in Sosnowiec, Poland. She was Jewish and tragically her entire family was jailed during World War 2. One of her brothers died in a concentration camp. Bella was freed when she was fourteen years old. She moved to Paris, France where she began working as a nurse. In 1950 Bella married wealthy businessman Alban Calvalcade. The couple spent their time traveling through Europe and attending fashion shows. Bella was discovered by Virginia Zanuck, the wife of Fox President Darryl Zanuck. She signed a contract with Fox and made her film debut in the 1954 drama Hell and High Water. Bella divorced her husband and moved in with the Zanuck's in Los Angeles. Soon after Bella and Darryl Zanuck started having and affair and he left his wife to be with her. Darryl ended the relationship when he found out Bella was
Lucille Ricksen was born Ingeborg Erickson on August 22, 1910, in Chicago, Illinois. She worked as a child model and made her film debut at the age of five. Her parents separated and her mother took her to Hollywood in 1920. Ten year old Lucille was offered a contract with Samuel Goldwyn and starred in a series of short films. She often had to work long hours but she always said she was having fun. In 1922 she starred opposite Marie Prevost in The Married Flapper. The following year Lucille was given a starring role in the drama The Rendevous. Although she was only thirteen the studio lied and said she was actually sixteen. The press called her "the youngest leading lady in movies". Lucille developed a close relationship with producer Sydney Chaplin (brother of Charlie Chaplin) who was twenty-five years older than her. She became one of Hollywood busiest starlets and was chosen as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars.
Phyllis Barry was born Gertrude Hillyard on December 7, 1908, in Leeds, England. She was a gifted dancer and at the age of fourteen she joined an Australian cabaret troupe. Phyllis starred in many stage musicals including No No Nannette and Lady Be Good. She made her film debut in the 1925 Australian film Painted Daughters. At the time her stage name was Phyllis DuBarry. In 1930 she toured America in a production of Rio Rita. Prodicer Samuel Goldwyn saw her on stage and offered her a supporting role in the film Cynara starring Kay Francis. Unfortunately the movie flopped and her performance got mixed reviews. She married vaudeville performer Albert Nordlund (also known as Al Nord) in 1932.
The following year she got the lead role in the comedy What - No Beer? opposite Buster Keaton. Phyllis and Albert had a rocky marriage and they separated several times. She divorced him in 1936 and said "he told me he didn't think my career meant anything". Soon after she married decorator Gilbert M. Caldwell. She continued to make movies but by 1939 her career had stalled. Phyllis had a bit part in the drama Waterloo Bridge and she appeared in The Three Stooges short Three Little Sew and Sews. Her last film role was playing a waitress in the 1947 drama Love From A Stranger. Phyllis and her husband moved to a small house in West Hollywood. She became increasingly depressed about her failed Hollywood career. On July 1, 1954 she committed suicide by taking an overdose of medication. Phyllis was only forty-five years old.
I have been collecting classic Hollywood autographs for many years. My favorite autographs are the handwritten letters from classic actresses. These letters are very rare and they give us a glimpse into their personal lives. Here are some of the handwritten letters in my collection ...
"I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one." ~ Marilyn
Greer Garson sent her two Standard poodles to "Manners School"
Jeanette MacDonald is one of my favorite actresses. She had a BEAUTIFUL voice and I love seeing her films with Nelson Eddy. Jeanette and Nelson had one of Hollywood's longest lasting and most tragic love stories. They met in the Fall of 1934 when MGM paired the two stars in the musical Naughty Marietta. The movie was a huge hit and audiences instantly fell in love with the singing duo. Off screen Nelson and Jeanette began a very passionate affair. The couple continued to make hit movies together but they kept their real life romance a secret at the insistence of MGM president Louis B. Mayer. They talked about getting married but Nelson wanted Jeanette to give up her career and become a housewife. She was not willing to do that and they broke up. In 1937 thirty-four year old Jeanette married actor Gene Raymond. They had a very rocky marriage and Jeanette had a difficult time dealing with Gene's bi-sexuality.
Nelson was so devastated by Jeanette's marriage that he eloped with Ann Franklin, a friend of his mother. When Jeanette found out he had gotten married she attempted suicide. Unfortunately Ann suffered from mental problems and Nelson rarely spent time with her. Eventually Jeanette and Nelson resumed their secret love affair. Jeanette became pregnant several times but tragically she lost the babies. Although they still loved each other neither of them was ever willing to get a divorce. They were both worried that the scandal would destroy their careers. When Jeanette died in 1965 Nelson was heartbroken. He passed away just two years later. Friends who knew the couple said they never stopped loving each other.
To learn more about Jeanette and Nelson's love story please visit MacEddy.com
Ossi Oswalda was born Oswalda Staglich on February 2, 1899 in Berlin, Germany. She trained to be a ballerina and worked in chorus lines when she was a teenager. Director Ernst Lubitsch discovered her and cast her in his 1916 film The Shoe Palace. Over the next five years she appeared in many of Lubitsch's comedies including The Doll, The Oyster Princess, and I Don't Want To Be A Man. She usually played spoiled, child-like characters and even appeared in drag. Ossi became one of Europe's most bankable stars earning her the nickname "The German Mary Pickford". She and Ernst Lubitsch became very close friends but their relationship was never romantic. In 1919 she married Hungarian Baron Gustav von Koczian. Ossi and her husband started their own production company but they only made five films together.
Regina Alice Doyle was born on September 2, 1907 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, John Doyle, was a fireman. Regina was educated at the Grenshaw Conservatory. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was seventeen. On July 2, 1925 Regina married thirty-one year old Stewart Gilbert Cornelius. They had one child together and divorced in 1927. By this time Regina was pursing an acting career. She appeared in several western shorts including The Lone Prairie and The Scrapping Ranger. In 1929 she was given the lead opposite Edmund Cobb in Beyond The Smoke. They would make three more films together.
Regina seemed destined for stardom but after several years at Universal Studios she stopped making movies in 1930. On September 29, 1931 Regina crashed her car into a freight train on Highland Avenue in Hollywood. She was thrown from the car and died almost instantly. Regina was only twenty-four years old. The coroner ruled that the accident was caused by reckless driving. She is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles. Just a few days before Regina's death her mother had a premonition something terrible was going to happen. She warned her daughter to "Drive slowly".
"I have never appeared in talking pictures but I hope my voice and my English will permit me." ~ Lya
Lya de Putti was born Amalia Putti on January 10, 1897, in Hungary. Her father was a baron and her mother was a countess. When Lya was sixteen she married Zoltan Szepessy, a county magistrate. The couple had two daughters together. Lya performed in vaudeville and danced in the Berlin ballet. In 1918 she made her film debut in Hungarian movie The Emperor's Soldiers. She left Zoltan and their daughters so she could pursue her career. Zoltan was so angry that he told the girls their mother had died. Lya would never see her children again. She married Ludwig Christensen, a Norwegian merchant, in 1920 but tragically he died just two years later from tuberculosis. By 1926 she had become a popular actress in Europe and was earning more than $800 a week. She moved to Hollywood after D.W. Griffith cast her in The Sorrows of Satan. The film included a controversial scene where she appears semi-nude. She had a well-publicized affair with Count Ludwig von Salm-Hoogstraeten which ended when he refused to leave his wife.