Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Olive Thomas' Nude Photos

Olive Thomas was one of the first silent movie stars. When she was young she posed nude for artist Alberto Vargas.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Margaret Roach

Margaret Roach was born on March 21, 1921 in Los Angeles, California. Her father was comedy producer Hal Roach. When she was a teenager Margaret worked on in the theatre and sang at nightclubs. She changed her name to Diane Rochelle and began getting small roles in films. Her father didn't want her to be an actress and initially refused to help her. However in 1940 he cast her in his comedies including Turnabout and Road Show. Margaret's first marriage, to E.L. Hilton, ended in divorce.  Following her mother's death in 1941 she became estranged from her father.

Patsy Kelly, Margaret, and Adolphe Menjou

John Hubbard, Margaret, and Carole Landis

She married actor and writer Robert Livingston in 1947 and they had a son named Addison. Although she made more than a dozen films Margaret never became a leading lady. She retired after appearing in the 1949 crime drama The Devil's Sleep. Her marriage to Robert ended after four years. On November 25, 1964 Margaret passed away at the age of forty-three. She was buried near her mother at Holy Cross cemetery in Los Angeles. Margaret's son Addison Randall also became an actor.

~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2013

With Charles Butterworth

Judy Garland

"Hollywood is a strange place if you're in trouble. Everyone thinks it's contagious." ~ Judy

Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She was the youngest of three daughters. Judy was a gifted singer and by the age of three she was performing with her sisters in vaudeville. She was offered a contract with MGM in 1935. Judy appeared in several hit films with Mickey Rooney including Babes On Broadway and Girl Crazy. As a teenager she struggled with her weight and began taking amphetamines. In 1939 Judy played Dorothy in the classic film The Wizard Of Oz. It became the most successful movie of her career and she would forever be associated with the movie's theme song "Over The Rainbow". In 1940 she received a special juvenile Academy Award. She married David Rose, a composer, in 1941. Judy became pregnant but her mother forced her to have abortion because she believed a baby would hurt her career. Her success continued with starring roles in Meet Me In St. Louis, The Harvey Girls, and Easter Parade. She divorced David and married director Vincente Minnelli in 1945. Their daughter, Liza, was born the following year. While working on the 1947 musical The Pirate Judy suffered 
a nervous breakdown.

Her marriage to Vincente ended in 1951 after she caught him in bed with another man. By this time Judy's drug use was out of control and she was fired from MGM. Depressed over her failed marriage and career she attempted suicide by slitting her throat. She married producer Sid Luft in 1952 and had two more children. Judy starred in the musical remake of A Star Is Born in 1955 and was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance. In 1962 she received another Oscar nomination for her role in Judgment In Nuremberg. Judy spent much of the 1960s performing live concerts. She also starred on television in The Judy Garland Show. After divorcing Sid she married actor Mark Herron. Their marriage ended when Judy discovered he was gay. In the spring of 1969 she married her fifth husband, Mickey Deans. Judy died on June 22, 1969 from an accidental overdose of barbiturates. She was just forty-seven years old. Judy is buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Her daughter, Liza Minnelli, followed in her footsteps and became a very successful performer.

~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

 With Mickey Rooney and Bob Hope

A signed check (from my collection)

Judy's book signed by Sophie Tucker (from my collection)

Suzanne Kaaren

"I was offered screen tests at Universal and Fox. A flip of the coin and I signed with Fox." ~ Suzanne 

Suzanne Kaaren was born on March 21, 1912 in Brooklyn, New York. When she was a teenager she won a high-jumping contest. She wanted to compete in the Olympics but her parents wouldn't let her. Suzanne started modeling and was hired to be one of the original Rockettes. She signed a contract with 20th Century Fox in 1933. Suzanne was given small roles in The Great Ziegfeld and Strangers All. Her biggest success came when she began working with the Three Stooges. She appeared in several of their comedy shorts including What's The Matador? and Disorder In The Court. Suzanne became known for displaying her long legs and as a publicity stunt they were insured for one million dollars. In 1940 she costarred with Bela Lugosi in the horror film The Devil Bat. Unfortunately her career stalled and she found herself stuck making B-movies.

Suzanne and Irene Hervey

She married actor Sidney Blackmer in 1943. Suzanne was supposed to play Judy Garland's sister in meet Me In St. Louis but when Louis B. Mayer found out she had gotten married he gave the role to another actress. She and Sidney had a turbulent marriage and they separated several times. They had two sons and starred in several plays together. Suzanne continued to act on the stage and starred in the Broadway show Chicken Every Sunday. She and Sidney remained together until his death in 1973. After a fire burned down her North Carolina home Suzanne moved to a rent controlled apartment in Manhattan. When real estate developer Donald Trump wanted to tear down her building she refused to move. In 1984 she had a small role in the film The Cotton Club. Suzanne died on August 27, 2004 from pneumonia. She is buried at Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Salisbury, North Carolina.

~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Joan Crawford

"I never go out unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door" ~ Joan

Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1904, in San Antonio, Texas. Her family was poor and her parents separated before she was born. As a young girl Joan worked as a maid to pay for her school tuition. When she was nineteen she won an amateur dance contest and decided to go to Hollywood. There are rumors that during this time she posed nude and appeared in pornographic films. She was briefly married to a saxophone player named James Welton. In 1925 she was offered a contract with MGM and was given bit parts in movies like Pretty Lady and The Circle. Her big break came in 1928 when she landed the lead role in the comedy Our Dancing Daughters. The following year she married actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. She became one of the most successful actresses of the 1930s with starring roles in The Women, Grand Hotel, and Rain. Joan loved her fans and personally responded to much of her fan mail. She worked with Clark Gable in eight movies including Laughing Sinners and Dancing Lady. The two stars had an off-screen romance that lasted for decades. Joan was also a bisexual and enjoyed numerous affair with women. After divorcing Douglas she married actor Franchot Tone. She wanted to have a baby but suffered several miscarriages.

In 1939 she divorced Franchot and adopted a daughter named Christina. Joan would later adopt a son, Christopher, and twin daughters, Cynthia and Cathy. She married Phillip Terry, an actor, in 1942 but the marriage ended four years later. After making a series of flops MGM dropped her contract. She made a comeback with the 1945 drama Mildred Pierce and won an Academy Award for her performance. Two years later she was nominated for another Oscar for her role in Possessed. Joan married Pepsi-Cola executive Alfred Steel in 1956. After his death she served on the board of directors of Pepsi-Cola. In 1963 she teamed up with her longtime rival Bette Davis to make the horror film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. Now in her fifties Joan had a serious drinking problem and was having trouble finding work. She appeared in low budget movies like Berserk and Trog. Joan died on May 10, 1977, from pancreatic cancer. She was cremated and her ashes were interred at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. In her will she left a small sum of money to Cathy and Cynthia but gave nothing to Christopher and Christina. A few years later Christina wrote a book, Mommie Dearest, that portrayed Joan as an abusive mother. Cathy and Cynthia have always disputed Christina's claims.

~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2013

With Constance Bennett

A signed letter (from my collection)

Joan's bookplate (from my collection)

Olive Thomas

"I don't think you can change anything that is going to happen to you any more than you can change anything that
has happened to you." ~ Olive

Olive Thomas was born Oliveretta Elaine Duffy on October 20, 1894, in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. She was the oldest of three children and her father died when she was just nine years old. In 1911 Olive married Bernard Krug Thomas, a teenage clerk, but they divorced two years later She moved to New York City where she worked in a department store. After winning a beauty contest she started modeling and was offered a job in the Ziegfeld Follies. Olive had a romantic relationship with the Follies creator Florenz Ziegfeld, who was married to actress Billie Burke. Florenz asked Alberta Vargas to paint a nude portrait of Olive for his private collection. In 1916 she made her film debut in Beatrice Fairfax. That same year she married actor Jack Pickford, brother of Mary Pickford. They had a tumultuous marriage due to Jack's drinking and womanizing and spent a lot of time apart.

Olive was offered a lucrative contract with Selznick Pictures. She appeared in many successful films including Madcap Madge, Youthful Folly, and The Flapper. With her marriage in trouble she began an affair with producer Myron Selznick. In September 1920 she and Jack went on a trip to Europe. After an evening of partying in Paris Olive went in to her bathroom and swallowed some mercury bichloride (a drug that had been prescribed to treat Jack's syphilis). She died four days later on September 10, 1920. Olive was just twenty-five years old. Her death was ruled an accident but some believe she committed suicide. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York. Her final film, Everybody's Sweetheart, was released a month after her death. Many people have claimed they have seen Olive's ghost in New Amsterdam Theatre where she began her career as a Ziegfeld girl.

~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2013

 With Jack Pickford


"Memories of Olive" by Alberto Vargas

Joan Fontaine

"Marriage, as an institution, is as dead as the dodo bird." - Joan

Joan Fontaine was born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland on October 22, 1917, in Tokyo, Japan. When she was a child her family moved to California and her parents divorced. She and her sister, Olivia de Havilland, both decided to pursue acting careers and the two women became lifelong rivals. To distance herself from her sister Joan changed her last name to Fontaine (which was her stepfather's last name). She started getting small parts in movies like The Women and Gunga Din. In 1939 she married actor Brian Aherne. Joan costarred with Laurence Oliver in  the 1940 film Rebecca and was nominated for an Academy Award. She won an Oscar the following year for her performance in the Alfred Hitchcock drama Suspicion. Over the next decade she appeared in numerous hit films including Jane Eyre, The Constant Nymph, and Letter From An
Unknown Woman.

 Joan divorced Brian and married producer William Dozier in 1946. They had a daughter, Deborah, but the marriage didn't last. She married producer Collier Young in 1952 and adopted a baby girl from Peru. Sadly the young girl ran away when she was a teenager. After divorcing Collier Joan married her fourth husband, magazine editor Alfred Wright Jr, in 1964. Their marriage ended five years later. Joan continued to act in movies and on television. She was nominated for an Emmy award for her work on the soap opera Ryan's Hope. Joan also starred on Broadway in the play Lion In Winter and  in 1978 she published her autobiography No Bed Of Roses. Her final acting role was in the 1994 TV movie Good King Wenceslas. She retired and lived a quiet life with her dogs in Carmel, California. Joan died on December 15, 2013 from natural causes. She was ninety-six years old.

~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2013

 With her mother

With Olivia de Havilland