Monday, May 17, 2010

Miss Evelyn Nesbit

This entry is another one of those that is more appreciation rather than silent film stardom status. I got into reading about the Evelyn Nesbit/Harry Thaw/Stanford White saga about a year ago and it really was quite an interesting little story. First of all, the pictures of Evelyn are just beautiful. She really was a beautiful, very photogenic young lady. She just got herself involved in one hell of a love triangle! One that unfortunately was very high profile and led to her being branded with a negative light from the media and from the public.

As far as reading about her more, I recommend the book "American Eve" by Paula Uruburu. It is not only about Evelyn, but also about the whole Stanford White ordeal. It was a really great read. I also really did enjoy the movie The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing with Joan Collins. I thought it was a pretty cute movie. I have also seen a little documentary called The Crime of the Century that was also very good.

Evelyn Nesbit was born Florence Evelyn Nesbit on December 25, 1884 in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. She was later joined by younger brother Howard. When she was around 8 years old, her father Winfield passed away, leaving the family with a mound of debt. As a result, the family had to live in poverty. Evelyn soon began getting jobs working as an artist model.

When she was 16 years old, her family moved to New York City where she continued working as a model. Her mother was having a tough time finding a job, so it was up to Evelyn to bring home the money. Pretty soon she was in high demand, working for such artists as James Carroll Beckwith and Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr.

After Charles Dana Gibson immortalized her in a drawing called "The Eternal Question," (her hair was shaped and styled to look like a question mark) she became even more famous. She was also ranked the most famous of the Gibson Girls. I have seen pictures of other Gibson works, and I don't recall seeing any of them well.

With her new found fame she decided to move on to the stage as a showgirl with Florodora. It was here she befriended fellow showgirl Edna Goodrich, who in turn introduced her to architect Stanford White in 1901. He was 47, she was only 16.

"Stanny" (as she called him) had a swanky little hidden apartment above toy store FAO Schwarz that came with a red velvet swing...which, I mean...doesn't every apartment? Apparently he enjoyed watching young ladies swing naked from the swing.

How did this relationship with such a huge age gap get by mother Nesbit? Well, simply by having Stanny buy her off. He paid for her son, Howard to get into a prestigious military academy. He also showered both mother and daughter with gifts.

One night after drinking quite a bit of champagne, Evelyn apparently passed out and woke up in pain, naked, next to Stanny. She later recounted that she "entered the room a virgin but did not leave one." She never really came out and said he raped her, but it was pretty apparent. She always said she loved him, so she was probably just trying to protect his reputation.

When she realized that Stanny had a wondering eye, she began to venture out for new beaus as well. One of them was famous Broadway actor John Barrymore who she met in 1901. Amazingly, her mother was not happy with this arrangement even though the two were the same age. Stanford White of course was not happy that his favorite girl had eyes for another. Barrymore even proposed to Evelyn in front of White and Mrs. Nesbit, but she turned him down. She was eventually sent away to a boarding school and that was the end of that.

Then came Harry Thaw. He was obsessed with Evelyn and with her relationship with Stanford White. He liked his cocaine and was also abusive towards Evelyn...and little boys (Warning bells!) For some reason Evelyn was blind to this and agreed to marry Thaw in 1905. She was only 20 years old.

One year later Evelyn's world came crashing down. On June 25, 1906 she and Thaw went to a show on the roof of Madison Square Garden. Also in attendance at this performance was the building's architect and Evelyn's former flame, Stanford White. During the finale, Thaw got up from his seat and shot Stanford three times in the face, killing him instantly. The crowd at first thought it was part of the elaborate production but soon saw that Stanford was indeed dead and they began to panic. Thaw though walked calmly over to Evelyn and told her that he "just saved her life."

The trial surrounding the murder was a nightmare! During the first trial, the jury was deadlocked and could not decide whether or not Thaw was guilty or not guilty. The second trial had Evelyn taking the stand on behalf of her husband saying that it was temporary insanity. She did not want to get on the witness stand at all, but was forced into it by her mother-in-law who said that if she did, she would get a nice, quiet divorce and a hefty cash settlement. She did get the divorce, but no money. And after Thaw was acquitted of the murder, she was totally cut off from the Thaw fortune.

Even though he was acquitted, he was sent to a mental asylum that was pretty lax on him...although he tried to escape a few times. He was released "sane" in 1915. He was back in an asylum after being accused of sexually assaulting a young boy but was released in 1924. He died in 1947, and surprisingly he did leave some money to Evelyn, $10,000 to be exact.

After the circus of the trial, Evelyn wanted to stay out of the spotlight, but she had to go back to performing because she was broke. She danced on Broadway and appeared in a few silent films but was not very successful. She moved to New Jersey where she battled alcoholism, an addiction to morphine, and made numerous suicide attempts.

Evelyn Nesbit passed away on January 17, 1967 in Santa Monica, California.

She was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. I went there and the directions I wrote down for myself to find her grave were kinda vague so I could not find her grave. I was bummed :(

Evelyn married another time after Thaw. She married her dancing partner Jack Clifford in 1916, but sadly he left her two years later. They weren't divorced until 1933.

She had one child, a son named Russell William Thaw born in 1910. She claimed that Thaw was indeed the father, but he always doubted it considering the fact that when the child was conceived and born, he was in jail. Well then!

She worked as a technical advisor for the 1955 film The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing.

"Stanny was lucky, he died. I lived." ~ Evelyn Nesbit

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Eatons Continued...

Joseph Eaton

 Charlie Eaton

 Left from the top: Robert, Joe, Evelyn,
Pearl, Mary, and Doris

Evelyn Eaton

The family all together for Mary's (middle) wedding

 Charlie and a stage co-star

As I have stated before, I love the Eatons. I look up to Doris as an inspiration and I just love reading the stories about their childhood and careers in dancing and acting. I covered the two most prominent siblings, Mary and Doris, but there are seven of them all together! True, not all of them entered into show business, but I still wanted to talk about them here just for a little bit because they deserve to be remembered too.

 Three lovely Eaton sisters: Pearl, Mary, and Doris

Mary and Doris dressed in costumes for The Blue Bird

 Mary, Pearl, Doris and Daddy Eaton

The eldest Eaton was Evelyn, who was born in 1894. She was not interested in being on stage, but she did want to work behind the scenes helping her brothers and sisters careers. Evelyn was more of a mother figure than a sister because she was the one who took the younger ones to their auditions and rehearsals. She eventually had to leave school in order to do this full time. She loved her family but it did hurt her whenever her mother took Mary, Doris, and Joe out on the road and left her in charge of the household. Unfortunately, all this early responsibility affected the outcome of the rest of her life.

In 1917, she married Bob Mills and they had three children, Edwin, Warren, and Evelynne. She continued to be the stage mother she was used to being with her siblings with her own children, and became quite aggressive at it. In fact, her children actually distanced themselves from her and sadly they all had tragic lives. Evelynne died of a respiratory infection in 1964 and Warren, the youngest, killed himself sometime in the 1970s. Edwin developed a brain tumor and was left a vegetable after surgery was performed to try and remove the tumor. To add insult to injury, Edwin's only son, Riley, died a young age due to drugs and alcohol.

Evelyn was the last person to sign a contract for Florenz Ziegfeld when her daughter won the role in his production of Show Boat in 1932. This fact reached Doris Eaton twenty years after her sister had passed away. Doris said that she wished her sister would have known that when she was alive, because she would have been happy to know that like her siblings, she had also made it with Ziegfeld. Evelyn Eaton passed away in 1980.

"That Eva...what's her name...Le Galliene kept intruding on Edwin's lines, and so I told him just to stop speaking when she started and wait quietly until she stopped and then go back and continue with his lines. And he did that to perfection, and it shut that bitch up. She didn't step on his lines any more." ~ Evelyn Eaton Mills

 Robert Eaton

Next was Robert Eaton, born in 1896. He was the only sibling that was not involved in show business whatsoever. Being the oldest son, he went to work selling newspapers in order to help the family earn some extra money. Unfortunately, by age 14, he was staying out late drinking and causing tremendous amounts of stress for his mother and father.

Instead of following his family into show business, he enlisted in the Army during World War I. Like so many others, his experiences in the war left him with post traumatic stress disorder. The one good thing he came back with from Europe was a wife named Jean. The two had a nice life together for awhile and even started their own cleaning service

Sadly, this happiness did not last. Jean wanted a divorce from Robert (I am not sure if it is because of his alcoholism and drug use or if that just got worse because of the divorce). He went into a downward spiral of drinking and drug use and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia and malnutrition. Charlie Eaton volunteered to give blood to his brother but it was too late. He died at age 39.

 Pearl Eaton

Third in line was Pearl Eaton, born on August 1, 1898. She appeared in productions with Al Jolson and performed at the Winter Garden. Pearl was with the Ziegfeld Follies the longest, 5 years. She also appeared in the Midnight Frolic edition of the show for 3 years. Unlike her two sisters, Pearl was never a star in the Follies and instead helped work with the choreographer. Like her sisters, she also stepped in for Marilyn Miller on an occasion or two. It was also rumored that Florenz Ziegfeld felt she had the best legs in show business. It should also be noted that one of her best friends at the time was Volga Hayworth, mother of actress Rita Hayworth.

She bowed out of performing on stage in 1928 and moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a choreographer for RKO Studios. Like her siblings, she also saw her career begin decline in the 1930s and like her sister Mary, she chose alcohol as a means to help cope. Pearl was married to Harry Levant around 1917 and they had a daughter named Doris (after her aunt Doris Eaton) but they called her "Dossie." The couple divorced, and she married again in 1931 to Richard Enderly, who was involved in the oil business. Their marriage ended when he died of a heart attack in 1952.
Pearl Eaton was found murdered in her apartment on September 10, 1958. She had been beaten repeatedly on her head and was lying naked in a pool of blood. Unfortunately, her murder has never been solved and there were very little leads to go on if any.

"Maybe one day they will refer to Mary as Pearl Eaton's sister. You know it has always been quite the other way around." ~ Pearl Eaton

 Joseph Eaton...making a lovely woman!
After Pearl there was Mary, then Doris, and then Joseph Eaton who was born in 1905. He began appearing on stage at 5 years old and most of the time was involved with productions that also included at least one of his siblings. He appeared in the 1921 edition of the Ziegfeld Follies when he replaced his younger brother Charlie. He went to college and also worked at RKO Studios for a time. He then enlisted in the Army and fought in World War II, and when he got out he worked with sister Doris for the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Joseph Eaton passed away in 1998. He was married to his wife Lucille for 50 years and they had two children.

Charlie Eaton (left) in an early stage production of the Andy Hardy character

The youngest sibling was Charles Eaton who was born on June 22, 1910. He appeared in one edition of the Ziegfeld Follies in 1921. He then went on to star opposite of W.C. Fields and Ethel Barrymore on stage. Like his sisters, he appeared in a few films throughout the 1920s before his career slowed down at the beginning of the 1930s. The alcoholism curse caught up with him too, but thankfully Charlie pulled through and went on to serve in World War II. He also worked alongside sister Doris for the Arthur Murray Dance Studio and even appeared on stage off and on. Charles Eaton passed away on August 15, 2004 at age 94.

** Most of the information and pictures come from the book The Days We Danced by Doris Eaton. There is so much more to read about this wonderful family in this book and I highly recommend it. Don't let Doris' death be the death of the Seven Little Eatons.

**11/22/10** According to the 1920 Census Records, the Eatons were living in New York where their father, Charles worked as an operator in a factory. Mary was 18 and working on the stage already, while Doris was 16 and listed as working as a clerk in a government office. Their next door neighbors were sister Evelyn and her husband Robert Mills who worked as an insurance salesman. They had a 1 year old son at the time named Robert.

Miss Mary Eaton

Again, one sister and now the other. Mary was actually the more famous Eaton at the time. She was a darling of the stage, but sadly she let alcohol take her over and she died way too soon. If she had lived longer, she would have gone on to a wonderful career and maybe even have kept on dancing right along with her younger sister Doris.

While Doris was a tiny little thing with light brown hair, her sister Mary was tall with a dancer's figure and blonde hair. So, kinda like me and my sisters. My parents have dark hair and brown eyes and so do my older and younger sister. Then there is me...the blonde, blue eyed one. I am the Mary Eaton of my family :)

I am going to finally pay Mary a visit when I go to California this coming week. I have been to the cemetery a few times, but never had the chance to see her grave. The time has come!

Mary Eaton was born January 29, 1901 in Norfolk, Virginia.

She had the same childhood experiences as Doris with acting in various plays and eventually moving with the family to New York City so that the Eaton siblings could continue dancing and acting in productions. Mary became interested in ballet and began taking lessons.

Mary made her Broadway debut in 1917 with Adele and Fred Astaire in Over the Top. After that, she appeared in three editions of the Ziegfeld Follies. She would perform a very complicated dance number that would garner roars of applause from the audience. This same routine was repeated when she appeared in the film Glorifying the American Girl in 1929.

Like her sister, Mary did have a somewhat successful career. Her most notable films were both in 1929, including Glorifying the American Girl and Cocoanuts with The Marx Brothers.

With the 1930s, she soon found that her career was going downhill. She made her final stage appearance in 1932 and soon began to sink into alcoholism. The other Eaton siblings tried to get Mary into rehab and to help her, but it was a fruitless effort.

Mary Eaton passed away on October 10, 1948 of liver failure. She was 47 years old.

She was interred at Forest Lawn Glendale. Apparently other Eatons are buried around her, but I haven't read anything about that. I'll find out when I go visit her.

Mary was married three three alcoholics. The first was to director Millard Webb in 1929 and they stayed married until he died of an intestinal ailment in 1935. Her second marriage was to Charles Emery in 1937, but divorced in 1942. Her final marriage was to actor Eddie Laughton. Not sure when they exactly got married, but the marriage ended with Mary's death. She never had children.

Like her sister Doris, Mary also worked as an understudy for Marilyn Miller. She eventually took over Miller's role in the production of Kid Boots.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Miss Doris Eaton

She is definitely one of my idols. This lovely lady danced and lived the Ziegfeld Follies and continued to do so until she died recently of 106. I so wished I had the chance to have met her. She lived only about an hour or two away from me too!! I can see her now dancing away with her brothers and sisters. All together again as the Seven Little Eatons.

I recommend two great books about Doris and her famous family. The first is "Century Girl" by Lauren Redniss. The book is filled with tons information about Doris and her family and the artwork and illustrations and just amazing! The second is "Days We Danced" by Doris, Joseph, and Charles Eaton. It offers a firsthand account of what they had a chance to experience and the little trivia tidbits are wonderful. I guarantee that you will fall in love with the entire family.

There haven't been many celebrity deaths that have personally made me feel sad inside. Heath Ledger's bummed me out, especially when pictures of him and his adorable little daughter were shown. Natasha Richardson was another one that was just tragic and made me sad. When I read about Doris passing away it brought tears to my eyes. I know she was 106 and had a wonderful life, but it really signified the end of a great era. There aren't many classic actors and actresses left, and losing them is just sad. I wish I had been born earlier so that I could have met these people because they lived amazing lives. I am hoping soon to visit Doris' grave and pay my respects to her. I can't say enough what a wonderful, talented, and amazing woman she was.

Doris Eaton was born March 14, 1904 in Norfolk, Virginia. Her parents were Charles and Mary Eaton, and she had four older siblings Evelyn, Mary, Pearl, and Robert and later they were joined by brothers Joseph and Charles.

When she was four years old, she began taking dance lessons with older sisters Pearl and Mary. A few years later, the girls were hired to perform in the play The Bluebird in Washington D.C. Younger brother Joseph eventually got the acting bug as well and all four siblings eventually got to a point where they were always working.

Mary and Doris got a chance to reprise their roles in The Bluebird in New York and eventually younger brother Charlie joined them in the production. With the three kids working in New York most of the time, the whole family moved there.

The first sister to join the Ziegfeld Follies was Pearl. She began working for Ziegfeld as a dancer in the Follies and also as an assistant. One day, Doris accompanied her sister to a rehearsal and she was spotted by one of the dance supervisors and was signed to tour with the show in the summer. She was 14.

Because she was only 14 and working, the producers had to try and find a way to let her stay in the show without arousing suspicion by the Gerry Society. So, she simply went by the name "Doris Levant" until she turned 16. She stayed with the Follies until 1920 and by that time siblings Pearl, Mary, Joseph, and Charlie had all performed in a Follies production.

Like most show girls at that time, she wanted to try out film. She was 17 when she first appeared on screen in the film At the Stage Door with fellow Ziegfeld showgirl Billie Dove. She had a somewhat successful film career during the silents and into the 1930s, although the films weren't really stellar blockbusters. Also, I am not sure if her early films are even available or if they are presumed lost.

While not busy filming, she began to appear on stage again. It was during this time that she premiered two popular songs. The first was "The Doll Dance" for which she helped write, but didn't receive credit for. The second was "Singin' in the Rain." That's right, it was Doris who debuted that famous tune.

In 1936, Doris was hired as a dance instructor for the famous Arthur Murray Dance Studio. She ended up working there for over 30 years. After she left, she opened a string of her own dance studios across Michigan.

Her last public appearance was on April 27, 2010 when she made an appearance at the Easter Bonnet show.

Doris Eaton passed away on May 11, 2010 of an aneurysm in Rochester, Michigan. She was 106 years old. She is going to be interred at the Guardian Angel Cemetery.

On May 12th, the day after she died, the lights of Broadway were dimmed in her honor. It still gives me goosebumps everytime I read that.

Doris Eaton was married twice. The first was to Joe Gorham in 1923 when she was 18 years old. Her family did not approve of the marriage or of Gorham for that matter. They were only married for six months due to the fact that Gorham died of a heart attack. Doris later revealed that it was an abusive marriage. Her final marriage was to Paul Travis, who was one of her pupils at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. They stayed married until he died in 2000. They never had children.

Doris was the understudy for Marilyn Miller for a time during her years with the Follies.

In 1999, she appeared with Jim Carrey in the film The Man on the Moon. It was the first time she had been on the screen in 65 years.

When she was 88 years old, she graduated cum laude for the University of Oklahoma and was given an honorary doctorate from Oakland University when she was 100.

She would appear regularly at the Broadway AIDS Benefit, and kept on dancing!

In 1997, she appeared with four other former Ziegfeld girls at the opening of the New Amsterdam theater. She said she was the only one who was still able to dance. I have tried to find out who the other four ladies were, but I can't seem to be able to dig anything up.

"It seems that when people find out about it, they're astonished; and possibly because I'm still walking around." ~ Doris Eaton when asked about her longevity

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Dolly Sisters

So, technically Rosie and Jenny Dolly weren't movie stars, they were stars of the stage. But, they appeared in a few films and I love them, so I am putting them in here.

And blog, my rules. MUAHAHAHA!

I began reading about theses two lovely ladies when I was looking into the Ziegfeld Follies. I picked up a book about them called "The Delectable Dollies" and really became a fan. Usually when I cover sisters, each one gets their own entry. However, Rosie and Jenny appeared together the majority of the time, so it is hard to really separate the two without covering the same things over and over again.

Rosie and Jenny Dolly were born Rosika and Jansci Deutsch (I have also heard Roscizka and Janszieka) on October 25, 1892 in Hungary. They came to the United States in 1905. They also had a brother Eddie who performed as well.

They began making the rounds as dancers and were appearing on stage to earn money. They were soon banned in New York for working underage, and so they took to touring.

In 1911, they signed up with the Ziegfeld Follies. They danced together on stage most of the time, but sometimes they danced with other partners in order to have a dance off with one another.

Jenny was the wilder of the two sisters and enjoyed romancing the stage door Johnnies that paid her visits and she loved diamonds. She even had affairs with Kings and Princes from many European countries.

I have heard rumors that they appeared in a lot more films then they actually did. The Million Dollar Dollies was made in 1918 and that was the most recognized of the two films. And I am not 100% sure if these films are available, but I am guessing not.

In 1933, Jenny was involved in a car accident that left her face scarred. She had to go through multiple surgeries to try and repair the damage, but it affected her a lot more on the inside. She had previously invested a lot of her money and jewelry and gained quite a fortune from it, but she had to use this to pay for her surgeries. So the scarring and dwindling finances left her very depressed.

Jenny Dolly committed suicide on May 1, 1941. She hung herself in the shower at the hotel she was staying at. She was interred at Forest Lawn Glendale in the Great Mausoleum.

Of course, Rosie was devastated at the loss of her sister. When she sold the rights to the Dolly Sisters story, she had a stipulation that Jenny's suicide or Jenny's daughters be mentioned to protect privacy.

The "bio-pic" The Dolly Sisters starring Betty Grable and June Haver was made in 1945. I have seen the film and while it is cute, it pretty much has nothing to do with the real story of the sisters. I mean, Betty and June are, yeah...But, back in those days all bio-pics had to have was the title and character names and they could just make up their own story!

Rosie tried to commit suicide in 1962, but thankfully she was unsuccessful. She lived for a few more years and eventually passed away on January 1, 1970 of heart failure. She was interred with her sister at Forest Lawn Glendale.

Jenny Dolly married twice. First was to Harry Fox in 1914. They divorced in 1921. Her second and final marriage was to Bernard Vinissky in 1935. They stayed married until her death, although they were separated at the time.

In between her two marriages in 1929, Jenny adopted two girls from her home country of Hungary.

Rosie was married three times. First to Jean Schwartz in 1913 and they divorced in 1921. Her second marriage was to Mortimer Davis in 1927, but they divorced four years later. Her third and final marriage was to Irving Netcher. Irving's brother Townsend was married to Constance Talmadge, making her and Rosie sister-in-laws for a time.

Rosie for a time was being romanced by Diamond Jim Brady. He once gave her a Rolls Royce covered in ribbons. And apparently both girls had an affair with Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1918.

While in the Follies, the girls befriended fellow showgirl Olive Thomas. In 1920, Olive invited Rosie on a trip to Paris she was making with her husband Jack Pickford. Rosie declined the offer, and on this trip is when Olive ingested the lethal mercury bichloride that killed her. Rosie did have a chance to see her friend in the hospital before Olive tragically died.

I think I found a way to figure out which sister is which in pictures. People say that the girls always posed with Rosie on the left and Jenny on the right...maybe that is fact, but I don't know. From what I have seen, Rosie had wider eyes than her sister, so that can help figuring out who is who sometimes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Silent Gossip

There is an interesting/entertaining website called "Who's Dated Who?" (Their spelling error, not mine) Anyways, it has different celebrities listed and it lists who they have been romantically linked to...whether it was marriage, a relationship, or just a casual encounter. It may not be 100% accurate, but some of the pairings on here are quite interesting, so I just wanted to share some of the ones that I saw for the silent ladies and gentlemen I have talked about on my blog so far. I just wanted to look at the ones they had had relationships with...not marriages.

John Gilbert and Greta Garbo

John Gilbert ~ Anna May Wong, Carole Lombard, Laurette Taylor, Renee Adoree, Barbara La Marr, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Lupe Velez (whew!) The only one I have heard of out of this roster of women is Lupe, the others are just speculation. I know Norma and Renee were in movies with him, but that doesn't mean they were involved, so who knows.

Louise Brooks and William Powell

Louise Brooks ~ Buster Keaton, Humphrey Bogart, and W.C. Fields. Ummm...I am pretty sure Buster and her never happened, I would have read about it by now. And W.C. Fields?! Really?!

Rudolph Valentino and Pola Negri
Pola Negri ~ Billy Haines, Johnny Carson, Milton Berle, and Howard Hughes. Well, first off...Billy Haines was gay, so not so much.

Clara Bow and Rex Bell

Clara Bow ~ You can really tell how accurate the info is on the site going by Clara's profile. According to the site, she was married to Howard Hughes in 1927.

Jack Dougherty and Barbara La Marr

Barbara La Marr~ Charlie Chaplin and Howard Hughes. Apparently she had a relationship with Hughes about 20 years after she died...interesting...

Alla Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino

Alla Nazimova ~ Mildred fact, Alla may have been involved with Mildred while she was still married to Charlie Chaplin.

Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino

Rudolph Valentino ~ Gloria Swanson and Nita Naldi. I am gonna say no to both...they were just co-stars.

Miss Marie Prevost

Ah, Madame Marie Prevost. Sad thing about her is that she is primarily remembered for being "eaten by dogs." You know that Nick Lowe song..."She was a winner that became a doggie's dinner." First off...not the truth. Second, that song bugs me because he pronounces her name wrong and her name is misspelled.

She was a beautiful lady who sadly let inner demons prevent her from having the stellar career that she truly deserved.

Marie Prevost was born Mary Bickford Dunn on November 8, 1898 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. She had a younger sister named Peggy who also became an actress.
When she was still a child her father died, so her mother packed up her two daughters and moved them to Colorado and then to Los Angeles, California.

She eventually got a job working as a secretary, and while doing this, she applied for another job at the Mack Sennett Studios. Sennett liked Marie's "french look," so he added her to his own personal harem aka the Sennett Bathing Beauties. She made her screen debut in 1916's Unto Those Who Sin.

Marie was cast in either sexy or comedic roles in Sennett films. In 1921, she went to Universal Studios. Irving Thalberg himself took a personal interest in her and wanted to help jump start her career. He devised different publicity stunts around Marie to get her name out there. One such stunt was when she went to Coney Island and burned her bathing suit in front of a crowd of people. It was supposed to symbolize the fact that she was done being a bathing beauty.

Well, after this...she still appeared in the same type of film that she had at Sennett. So, when her contract expired at Universal, she went to Warner Brothers. Here she appeared in the film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Beautiful and Damned. There was another publicity stunt around Marie when it came to this film. It was put to the presses that the two stars of the film were going to get married on set. worked! It brought people to theater. However, it also made the press single out Marie as a bigamist because she was still technically married. The studios kept everything quiet until the hoopla died down...and the stars were eventually married when Marie was out of the clear.

Marie was getting stellar reviews and working with such acclaimed directors as Ernst Lubitsch, when tragedy hit her, hard. Her mother was killed in a car accident in 1926. Because of this tremendous loss, Marie began to drink heavily. She tried to immerse herself in work, but her alcohol addition and binge eating was affecting her greatly.

During the 1930s, she was only working in bit parts in films. Her money dwindled and she relied more on alcohol. She also began to crash diet because her weight gain was affecting her career as well. She would jump between binging and crash dieting at an alarming rate.

Marie Prevost passed away on January 21, 1937 of heart failure as a result of alcoholism. She was only 38. Her body wasn't found until two days later after her neighbors began complaining about the loud barking dogs in her apartment. After forcing open the front door, the police found her laying face down in bed. And here is where the rumors began. Marie had little bite marks on her legs from her dog trying to wake was not trying to eat her. So...just have to clear up that rumor.

She was cremated and her ashes were mixed with her mothers. Where the ashes are now, I do not know. Her funeral was paid for by Joan Crawford.

It in fact was Marie Prevost's death that prompted the creation of the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital to help care for members of the entertainment industry.

Marie was married twice. First to Sonny Gerke in 1918. He left her after six months because his mother was very much against his Marie's occupation as an actress. He couldn't divorce her because that would reveal to his mother that he had married her. They remained secretly married until 1924. She married her co-star Kenneth Harlan later that year, and they divorced in 1927.

"Marie Provost was a movie queen/Mysterious angel of the silent screen/And run like the wind the nation's young men steamed/When Marie crossed the silver screen." ~ Nick Lowe "Marie Provost"