Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Margaret Roach

Margaret Roach was born on March 21, 1921 in Los Angeles, California. Her father was movie producer Hal Roach. When she was a teenager Margaret worked in the theater and sang at nightclubs. She changed her name to Diane Rochelle and made her film debut in the 1938 comedy Swiss Miss. Her father didn't want her to be an actress and initially refused to help her. However in 1940 he cast her in his film Road Show. When the press called Margaret "plump" she went to a sanitarium to lose weight. In 1941 she announced her engagement to Geoffrey Steele but they broke up before the wedding. The following year she married Lieutenant E.L. Hinton. After her mother's death Margaret became estranged from her father.

Carole Landis and Margaret

She continued to get small roles in films like Niagara Falls and Test Tube Babies. Margaret divorced E.L. and married actor and writer Robert Livingston in 1947. The couple had one 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. Sadly on November 25, 1964 Margaret passed away at the young 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.

Margaret with her brother and father Hal Roach

John Hubbard, Margaret, and Carole Landis

Patsy Kelly, Margaret, and Adolphe Menjou
With Charles Butterworth

With William Gargan

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Thelma Parr

Thelma Parr was born Betty Selby on October 10, 1906 in Grant's Pass, Oregon. Her parents were Glenn Oswald Sill and Leonora L. Paine. Thelma claimed to be a descendant of Thomas Paine, one of the founding fathers of the United States. When she was fourteen Thelma moved to California with her parents. Soon after the pretty brunette was discovered by producer Mack Sennett and became one of his bathing beauties. Thelma married banjo player William E. Goman in 1925. That same year she made her film debut in the comedy short Her Marriage Vow. Over the next three years she appeared in more than thirty short films. She starred opposite Ralph Graves in several movies including Hooked At The Alter and The Funny Mooners. Thelma was gifted comedic actress and was considered one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood.

One newspaper said she was "the perfect type of American beauty". Her film career came to a sudden end in 1928 after she was seriously injured in a car accident. She suffered facial injuries and her mouth was permanently scarred. Two years after the accident she attempted a comeback with a small role in the comedy My Harem. Thelma divorced her husband and retired from acting. She married her second husband, Emmanuel Titelman, in 1933. The couple lived in Florida where they raised two daughters. After her husband passed away in 1966 Thelma moved to San Clemente, California. She died on February 13, 2000 at the age of ninety-three.

Thelma (in the middle) with other bathing beauties

With Ralph Graves

* Thank you to Thelma's relative, Bonnie Martin Fazio, for providing information *

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sunshine Hart (Silent Character Actress)

"Laugh and grow fat." ~ Sunshine

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.

Sunshine with Mary Pickford and Carmelita Geraghty

Sunshine, who weighed more than 250 pounds, usually played funny mothers. She became a popular character actress and was often called a female Fatty Arbuckle. Despite her age and size she was always willing to do dangerous stunts if it got a laugh. Sunshine loved making films but she told an interviewer her main priority in life was raising her daughter. In 1927 she was cast as Mary Pickford's mother in My Best Girl. During filming she was badly injured when she fell doing an automobile stunt. Although she kept working she never fully recovered from this accident. Sunshine had a small role in the 1930 comedy Midnight Daddies. It would be her last film. She died on January 3, 1930. Sunshine was only forty-three years old. Sadly she had spent the last few weeks of her life bedridden.

Sunshine with Mildred June

Sunshine with Ruth Hiatt

Sunshine with Madeline Hurlock
 Sunshine in Spanking Breezes

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Nancy Carroll

"I didn't really care about money; all I wanted was to be famous and get fans' letters." ~ Nancy

Nancy Carroll was born Ann Veronica Lahiff on November 19, 1903 in New York City. She was the youngest of seven children. When she was a teenager she and her sister began performing in local talent competitions. Nancy was a gifted dancer and appeared in several Broadway musicals. In 1925 she married writer Jack Kirkland and had a daughter named Patricia. Nancy made her film debut in the 1927 comedy Ladies Must Dress and was offered a contract with Paramount. She starred in a string of successful talkies including The Shopworn Angel and Close Harmony. In 1930 she was nominated for Academy Award for her role in Devil's Holiday. That same year her marriage Jack to ended. After a brief affair with Joseph P. Kennedy she married Francis Bolton Mallory, a Life magazine editor. Their marriage lasted only three years. Although Nancy was one of Hollywood's most popular actresses she had developed a reputation for being difficult. Paramount released her from her contract in 1933.

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.

Nancy's autograph

Friday, December 18, 2015

Irene Lentz (Fashion Designer)

"Anything new and beautiful makes one think beautiful thoughts." ~ Irene

Irene Maud Lentz was born on December 8, 1901 in Baker. Montana. When she was a teenager she moved to Hollywood to become an actress. She found work as a Mack Sennett bathing beauty and appeared in the comedies Picking Peaches and A Tailor-Made Man.  Irene married director F. Richard Jones in 1929. Tragically he died a year later from tuberculosis. To make extra money Irene decided to open a dress shop. In 1933 she was asked to design the clothes for Lily Damita in Goldie Gets Along. She quickly became one of Hollywood's top costumes designers. Irene had a passionate affair with actor Gary Cooper. She later said he was the only man she really loved. In 1936 she married Elliot Gibbons, a writer. Irene became the head costume designer at MGM where she created iconic costumes for Lana Turner and Judy Garland.

 Irene and Betty Francisco in 1924

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.

Jeanette MacDonald and Irene

 An autograph from Irene

Monday, December 14, 2015

Let's Celebrate Christmas

Celebrate Christmas with some of our favorite classic beauties ...

Norma Shearer

 Jean Harlow

Clara Bow

Nancy Carroll

 Cecilia Parker

Marion Davies