Friday, December 30, 2011

The JJs

Justine Johnstone and Julanne Johnston. Yeah, I get them confused.  I am surprised one or both of them didn't have to change their names, although in the silents it wasn't as much of a studio came as it became in the 30s and 40s. Julanne was on The Oneida when Tom Ince was taken ill, Justine was not. I am putting them both in here because they both stick together in my head. Kinda like Aileen Pringle/Alma Rubens and Pola Negri/Alla Nazimova stick in my head as pairs.

Let's start with Julanne first because that will round out the Oneida crew. And because there isn't that much information about her out there :(

Julanne Johnston was born May 1, 1900 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her parents were Howard Petterman and Ann Johnston. Not 100% sure judging by this info if her parents were married.

I am not sure if this is her birth name because she used the names 'Julanne Johnstone' and 'Julianne Johnston' in her earlier films.

Her family moved to Hollywood when she was in her teens. While there, she studied dance at the Denishawn School and honed her acting chops at the Hollywood Community Theatre.

She appeared in her first film in 1917 in an uncredited role.

Some notable silent movies she was in include The Thief of Baghdad (1924) with Douglas Fairbanks, The Big Parade (1925) with John Gilbert and Mae Murray, and Twinkletoes (1926) with Colleen Moore.

Julanne did appear in some talkies, but they were in uncredited roles. Her last film was supposedly Cleopatra (1934) with Claudette Colbert, but her part has yet to be confirmed. She retired from films when she was around 35.

She was only married once. She met her husband, David Rust while she was travelling to New York and she made a pit stop in Michigan. I couldn't find anymore information on their marriage until I looked up an ancestry record and well, I found a little bit more info. I couldn't find out when they were married, but I did find out that they had three kids. Son, David, and daughters, Patricia and Peggy.

Julanne Johnston passed away on December 26, 1988 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

She was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan. (I was pretty excited to read that she was buried about 30 minutes away from where I live....until I failed to find exactly where she is buried. Looks like I am gonna have to make a trip up there!)

Julanne was a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1924, along with Clara Bow and Lucille Ricksen.

She was handpicked by Douglas Fairbanks to star with him in The Thief of Baghdad.

She supposedly was only five feet tall and had gray eyes.

Apparently was president of The Mary Pickford idea what that is/was.

Like I said before, Julanne was a guest of William Randolph Hearst on The Oneida's fateful trip, and once again, no quotes from her about the incident.


Justine Johnstone was born January 31, 1895 in Englewood, New Jersey.

Her family moved to New York when she was still young, and this is where she received her education.

Justine appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies, the Follies-Bergere, and a Broadway play called Over the Top with one of the best hoofers ever, Fred Astaire.

She made her film debut in the 1914 version of The Crucible, which starred Marguerite Clark. She only made a total of 8 films, and they were all silent. She retired from films in 1926.

Why did she leave the silver screen after such a short career? Well, Justine was one smart cookie! She enrolled in Columbia University and worked in studies in the medical field. She was a partner with two colleagues in the development of the I.V. unit used in hospitals today. She also made excellent discoveries in the fields of endocrinology, and cancer and syphilis research. Justine eventually had a laboratory built onto her home.

Justine Johnstone passed away on September 3, 1982 in Santa Monica, California.

She was interred at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory.

Justine Johnstone was married once, to producer Walter Wanger in 1919. They divorced in 1938.

According to a 1920's magazine article, Justine loved sports.

Miss Seena Owen

As far as an intro goes...I don't really know much to say about Seena. The most I know about her is that she was in Intolerance and her make-up looked really weird and hid how really pretty she was. Which, most make up back then did anyway. Can you imagine how white and greasy their faces must have looked off camera? I mean, in some pictures, Buster looks dead!

Seena Owen was born Signe Auen on November 14, 1894 in Spokane, Washington. She was the youngest of three children, brother Auden and sister Lillie, born to Jens and Karen Auen who had come to the U.S. from Denmark about five years prior to Seena's birth.

Her father found work in a pharmacy, and the family enjoyed a nice lifestyle for a few years. Seena had the opportunity of attending school in her parents native land, Copenhagen, Denmark. Unfortunately though, Jens Auen's business failed and it became necessary for his children to find jobs to help support the family as well. Seena decided to try her luck at acting and joined a stage company in San Francisco where she worked for awhile. She soon traveled further South where the movie scene was starting to settle, in Hollywood.

Seena worked as an extra before she was signed to the Kalem Film Company. She made her first credited debut in 1915 in the film A Yankee From the West. That year she also changed her stage name to 'Seena Owen,' which is how her name was pronounced anyway, but this way it was easier for people to read.

The next year, Seena appeared in D.W. Griffith's epic, Intolerance. She played 'Princess Beloved' (Belshazaar's favorite). I think everyone alive at that time was in that movie...seriously. The scene of Babylon has like 4 million extras. It always tickles me when you go to downtown Hollywood and see the replicas of the Intolerance set. I used to think they were real, and that the film was shot right there...but sadly I was wrong. Cool to imagine though, eh?

In her relatively short career, Seena had the chance to appear with some big names like Douglas Fairbanks, Lon Chaney, and Gloria Swanson. Her film with Chaney, Victory (1919), was considered lost for many years but was re-discovered in Europe and is now available to watch on DVD. Yay! Seena also appeared in a lot of Tod Browning's early shorts. You may know him more for his cult classic, Freaks. I don't know about you, but I love that movie.

Seena had a weak voice for talkies, so she only appeared in one. She officially retired from films in 1933.

Seena Owen passed away on August 15, 1966 in Hollywood.

She was interred at Hollywood Forever with her mother and siblings. I am not 100% sure her father is interred there too.

Seena was only married once, to actor George Walsh, who she met on the set of Intolerance. They were married from 1916 until 1924. They had a daughter named Patricia. Supposedly it was D.W. Griffith who set them up.

Her older sister, Lillie was a Hollywood screenwriter. She appeared in a ton of films, including 1924's Janice Meredith, which starred Marion Davies and 1959's The Shaggy Dog. Seena even helped her with writing a few movies/tv shows as well.

As I said in previous blog entries, she was on board The Oneida the night the whole Thomas Ince scandal took place. I can't find any comments ever made by her, or any of the other 'witnesses' on board that night. Hearst did a good job of shutting people up...or perhaps there really wasn't anything scandalous that occurred.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Miss Jacqueline Logan

I posted this on my Facebook page, but since some of you are not on my Facebook page...I will state it here. (By the way, if you do want to add me on Facebook, please do! My name sadly isn't really Jessica Keaton, it is Jessica Wahl).

Since my last blog was about Margaret Livingston and how she tied into the whole Tom Ince scandal, I figured why not do the rest of the gals who were also on board The Oneida that fateful trip. So, we did Margaret, next is Jacqueline Logan.

Jacqueline Logan was GORGEOUS! She is one of those girls where her face looked modern enough to where she would fit in today on screen. I think the same thing of Olive Borden. Silent stars like Alla Nazimova, Theda Bara, Mae Murray, Olive Thomas, they had a classic beauty that was perfect for silent film and the 1910s and 20s. But Jacqueline and Olive Borden had a modern look to them that I think would have worked well had they been alive now. That is just one man's opinion though.

She is also 1/3 of one of my favorite pictures from the era. This one below with Ann Pennington and Billie Dove.

How amazing do they all look?! Three perfect examples of beautiful gals in the 1920s. Oh to have been a part of their little date that day. How fun!

Jacqueline Logan was born Jacqueline Medura Logan on November 30, 1901 in Corsicana, Texas. I don't know much about her early life, and I couldn't find her on any census records that I had at my disposal. What I do know is that her father was a renowned architect and her mother was an opera singer for sometime.

Apparently during her teens she took ill and relocated to Colorado Springs for a better climate. It was there she began working as a journalist before segueing into the theater. She traveled with the stage company to Chicago where she had to lie about her age in order to keep working. She even lied to her family about why she was going to Chicago. She told them it was to visit relatives. Eventually her real age was found out and she was let go from the company. She soon left for New York.

She again told her family she was going to New York for reasons other than her theatrical ambitions. She appeared on Broadway in 1920 in a production of Floradora, where she was spotted by none other than Florenz Ziegfeld who wanted her in his Follies. She had the one of being put in a few of his rooftop shows which were just spectacular to see. Jacqueline also became a model for famed Ziegfeld photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston. Love him!

Jacqueline was given the opportunity for a screen test by then unknown actor Ben Lyons. She appeared alongside Mabel Normand in the film Molly O in 1921, and then alongside child star Jane Peters (who grew up to become the beautiful and amazing Carole Lomabrd) in the film The Perfect Crime.

She was pretty lucky when it came to costars it seemed. She had the chance to work with both Barrymores, Lon Chaney, and William Powell. Yeah........way too lucky. This makes Jessica jealous.

Although she did appear in a number of talkies, she wasn't a big success. Her roles were most supporting or brief cameos. She decided to take a break from the screen (as a lot of stars did when talkies came) and go to England to work on the stage. It was while working in England that she found a new way to work in the movies. Writing and directing. She wrote two films that were quite successful in Europe, but when she tried to do the same thing on her return to Hollywood, she was turned away. The film studios were proud of her achievements they said, they just didn't feel comfortable with hiring a female director. Nice, huh?

She retired from films completely in 1934. She did do an interview for Kevin Brownlow's documentary Hollywood in the 1970s, but her interview appears to have been lost because it was never aired and isn't in any new releases of the series.

Jacqueline Logan passed away on April 4, 1983 in Melbourne, Florida.

She was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Decatur, Illinois.

Jacqueline was only married once, to an industrialist named Larry Winston. I am not 100% sure when they married, but I do know they divorced in 1947. I have also read that she was married to a man named Ralph Gillespie during the 1920s.

She was good friends with actresses Lila Lee, Dorothy Dalton, and Lina Basquette.

She was also a hardcore right wing advocate. Damn.

Jacqueline was named a WAMPAS Baby Star of 1922 alongside Colleen Moore, Bessie Love, Mary Philbin, and her friend, Lila Lee.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Miss Margaret Livingston

Margaret Livingston.

I don't know about you, but when I think about her, the things that pop into my head are: Tom Ince, William Randolph Hearst, yacht, cover up, other woman.

Now, what happened on board Hearst's yacht is still up for debate. I personally like the version that was portrayed in the movie The Cat's Meow. It worked, it made sense. And since Ince was cremated without an autopsy...the real story is lost in the unknown. What else is unknown is the alleged affair between Ince and Margaret, which it seems did not occur. And if it did, it was hush hush.

Margaret Livingston was born on November 25, 1895 in Salt Lake City, Utah. In the 1920 Census, her name appears as "Marguerite" but I am not sure if it is just a misspelling or that was in fact her birth name. It also shows that during that year she lived in Los Angeles with her older sister Ivy, a woman named Edith Hurd (who could be their mother), and a 4 1/2 year old girl named Dorothy Atkinson who is listed as Edith's granddaughter.

When she was around 16 years old, she made her film debut in The Chain Invisible. Her most famous role was in 1927 in the film Sunrise. She wasn't a huge star of the day, but she made over 50 silents, so people were used to seeing her face.

Unlike a lot of her fellow film friends, Margaret successfully transitioned into talkies and made over 20 of them. She even did voice dubbing work for other actresses, including Louise Brooks.

In 1924, she was invited on board The Oneida, the yacht owned by William Randolph Hearst. Also on board were Heart's mistress, Marion Davies, writers Louella Parsons and Elinor Glyn, and actors Charlie Chaplin, Seena Owen, Julanne Johnston, Aileen Pringle, and Jacqueline Logan. Oh, and may I add a certain Dr. Daniel Carson Goodman. Goodman man who was in the car accident that killed his fiance, actress Florence La Badie, and he later married actress Alma Rubens, who died from the effects of drug abuse. Good Lord that guy had some shit luck!

Tom Ince became ill while on board and was taken very quietly to a hospital in San Diego. He claimed he had just drank to much, so they decided to let him go home. He died there the next day of a heart attack. All these rumors started running rampant because Ince was so young when he died and why was it all being kept so hush hush. Many began assuming Ince was the victim of mistaken identity. They thought that Hearst had seen Charlie Chaplin and Marion Davies canoodling in a stairway of the yacht and shot who he thought was Chaplin...who turned out to be Ince. Again, this is just a hearsay rumor. Interestingly though, Nell Ince, Tom's wife had him immediately cremated and buried without an autopsy. She was also well taken care of by Hearst for the rest of her life. Makes you wonder, huh?

One of Margaret's last film appearances was in one of Clara Bow's first talkies, Call Her Savage in 1932. She soon retired from film due to her weight gain that began creating problems between her and the studios. She eventually moved to Pennsylvania.

Margaret Livingston passed away on December 13, 1984.

She was interred at the First Presbyterian Church of Ewing Cemetery in Ewing, New Jersey.

Margaret was only married once, to bandleader Paul Whiteman in 1931. They remained married until his death in 1967. They never had children.

Another interesting thing I found in the 1920 Census Record I was looking at was that one of her neighbors at that time was actress Colleen Moore!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Miss Virginia Rappe

I have been debating this entry for a couple days, and just trying to figure out what my stance is on the whole ordeal.

I read a snippet in a book a few weeks ago that discussed the Roscoe Arbuckle case, and I thought to Virginia Rappe the one to hate in this whole trial? When I read about the case for the first time in Hollywood Babylon years ago, I blamed her, and I blamed him a little as well. That book paints everyone involved in a bad light. But once you get the REAL story, you see that the real enemy here was Maude Delmont, the one who "represented" Virginia during the trial.

When I went to Hollywood Forever the first time, I paid my respects to her and said I was sorry for what happened. But after I read different accounts, I just walked by her grave without saying anything. I think the next time I go, I should sit with her and tell her again how sorry I am for what happened to her. Yes, she lived a wild and out of control lifestyle. She wasn't a saint, by any means! She loved to take her clothes off at parties, drink heavily, have sex with anyone and everyone...It was the 1920s, who wasn't living the high life?! The only difference is, Virginia's fast living caused her early, unfortunate death.

Virginia Rappe was born Virginia Caroline Rapp on July 7, 1895 in New York City. She was born to her unwed chorus girl (and rumored prostitute) mother, Mabel, who died when Virginia was 11. She never knew her father, and after her mother died, she was raised by her grandmother in Chicago.

Her grandmother died when she was 14, so she began working as a model to help support herself. The next year or two later, she moved to San Francisco to pursue her modeling career even further. The next year, she was given her first movie role in the film Paradise Garden. She also added an 'e' to the end of her name so her stage name would sound more sophisticated.

In 1918, she appeared in the film Over the Rhine with then newcomer, Rudolph Valentino. After appearing in this film, she was named "The Best Dressed Girl in Pictures," which led her to create her own clothing line. The movie unfortunately wasn't released until 1920, under the title The Adventuress.

She appeared in about 10 films that are known. It is possible that she appeared in more, but the director she worked for at the time, Henry Lehrman, has many lost we may never know.

On September 5, 1921 Virginia attended a party at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco given by Roscoe Arbuckle. She came with her new friend, Maude Delmont, who in fact she only met a few days prior. No one really invited Virginia, so she pretty much just crashed the party.

As the party progressed and the liquor flowed, she got drunker and drunker. A few hours in, Roscoe went into the bathroom and found Virginia laying on the floor. He picked her up, laid her on the bed, and brought her some water. He returned to the party for a few minutes, and when he came back, she was on the floor in agony. She kept drifting in and out of conciousness, so he thought of an old trick his friend Buster Keaton had told him. To find out if someone is really sick or just faking, you should hold ice to their thigh. Roscoe did just that with no response. It was at this time that Maude Delmont walked in and oh I bet her mind started turning at the sight she saw! 

Shortly after, Virginia began screaming and tearing her clothes off, and thinking she was just drunk and causing a scene, Roscoe wanted her out of there.

 Roscoe sent word for the doctor to come around and even paid to have him look at her in a separate room. She was laid in a cold bath to try and cool down until she was moved into the new room, where she was dosed with morphine so she could sleep. The next day the doctor came in again to give her morphine and even fitted her with a catheter. FINALLY she was taken to the hospital.

Virginia Rappe passed away on September 9, 1921. Her cause of death was listed as a ruptured bladder and peritonitis.

She was buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Was Virginia's death caused by being raped with a champagne bottle? No. What about a Coke bottle? No. Was she raped by Roscoe Arbuckle at all? No. Doctors deduced that her ruptured bladder was most likely caused by one of her numerous abortions. She reportedly had two before the age of 16. It is rumored that in 1918 she actually had a daughter but put her into foster care. No one knows if this is 100% true or not. It is also rumored that she could have been pregnant when she died, but for some weird reason, her organs were removed and destroyed after her autopsy, so we will never know.

Yet ANOTHER rumor about her death is that Virginia came over to Roscoe at the party and started tickling him. Roscoe was a very ticklish guy, which she may or may not have known, but either way he got up from where he was sitting, and tried to stop her from tickling him by blocking her with his arms and legs. Apparently, he brought his leg up and kneed Virginia in the stomach which led her to stumble into the bathroom and start saying "He did it. He did this to me!" Is this why she said this? Who knows.

Virginia never married, but was engaged twice. Her first fiance was dress designer Robert Moscovitz who she met when she first moved to California. Sadly, shortly after they got engaged, he was killed in a car accident. After this loss, Virginia moved to Los Angeles. There she met producer/director Henry Lehrman and worked for him. They became engaged a short while later, and were still engaged when she died. When Lehrman died in 1946, he was buried next to Virginia.

So, what did Maude Delmont do after her "friend's" death? She claimed that Virginia ran in screaming that Roscoe had raped her and that she had told the hospital doctors the same thing. She made sure that he was arrested and charged with murder. Maude never had the chance to testify because character witnesses destroyed her reputation. She was a liar known for trying to extort money from powerful figures and was rumored to have teamed with Virginia to extort Arbuckle, but this was never proven.

Three trials later, he was finally acquitted of all charges, but Maude had done her job by ruining him in the eyes of the public. He may have been found 100% innocent, but the press had painted him black, so the audiences weren't interested anymore.

RIP Virginia.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Miss Nita Naldi

So, the time has come where I had to make a list of who I have covered here in my blog because I keep thinking I have talked about some great people and I really haven't. My mind = completely fogged at times.

Nita Naldi was a vamp alongside Theda Bara and Valeska Suratt. And just like these other ladies, Nita was not as exotic or vamp-ish as she may have seemed on screen. In fact, all three ladies were born in the U.S. and not under the shadow of The Sphinx (as it was said Theda Bara was born).

Nita Naldi was born Anita Donna Dooley on November 13, 1894 in New York City, New York. I have also heard that she was born Mary or Donna Dooley. I have tried to look under the Census records that I have at hand, but I am unable to find anything under either of those names. Even while looking under her father, Patrick or her mother, Julia...nothing. She was supposedly named after a great aunt named Mary Nonna, but that doesn't help our case in either way.

Patrick Dooley abandoned his family in 1910, and sadly her mother died six years later leaving Nita with her brother Frank and a sister (who's name I don't know). In order to support her and her siblings, Nita began modeling and doing other odd jobs.

A few years later she began appearing on the vaudeville stage with her brother Frank. In 1918, she debuted on Broadway in a show called "The Passing Show of 1918." A year later, she joined the Ziegfeld Follies. It was while working for the Follies that she took the stage name of Nita Naldi.

She continued to appear on stage and in a few short films into 1920 when she was given a role opposite John Barrymore in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Her next role was opposite another great leading man of the day, Rudolph Valentino, in the film Blood and Sand. Nita and Valentino appeared in another film together called Cobra in 1925. After these films, she was seen as a vamp actress.

Nita appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's second directorial picture, The Mountain Eagle, in 1926. After this, she went to Europe and appeared in a few more pictures before retiring from the screen. Even though her voice was deemed usable and acceptable for talking pictures, she never made one.

In 1932, she had to file for bankruptcy and chose instead of film, to appear in a few stage shows. Critics were cruel, poking fun at her weight gain. She sued one of the newspapers, but the suit was dismissed.

In 1952, she had a better time on stage when she starred with Uta Hagen in the play In Any Language. A few years later, she helped coach Carol Channing for a role in which she had to play the role of a vamp. She helped Channing win an award for the role!

Nita Naldi passed away on February 17, 1961 of a heart attack in her apartment. She was almost up to her 66th birthday.

She was buried with her mother at Calvary Cemetery in New York. There are also three other people buried in the plot named Daniel Francis, and Bridget and Mary Dunphy. I looked on to see if I could get any information on them, but there is nothing. I am not sure if they are distant relatives, or who exactly they were.

Nita was only married once, to millionaire J. Searle Barclay. They had met in 1919 while she was still performing on the stage, and he was still married. They even lived together for a short time with Nita's sister. In 1923, Nita was named as a party in Barclay's divorce from his wife. They married in 1927 while in Europe, but a few years later, she returned to the U.S. without him. It seemed that he lost most if not all of his money in his divorce. They remained married until his death in 1945, but she never spoke of him until after he died.

She was supposed to have been engaged to another millionaire named Larry Hall in the 1950s, but nothing ever came of it.

Even with all the rumors of the day, Nita swore that she never had a romantic relationship with either Valentino or Barrymore. She was good friends with both though, and was actually one of Valentino's only friends who actually got along with his second wife, Natacha Rambova.

"We were all blind as rats. Theda Bara couldn't see a foot in front of her and poor Rudy groped his way through many a love scene and I mean really groped. They all used big reflectors to get extra light from the sun - that is how we acquired that interesting Oriental look. We didn't have any censors in those days, but we did have our own bosoms and our own eyelashes. And we never took ourselves seriously." ~ Nita Naldi (How can you not love this?!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!

My mom gave me the idea this year to make some of my own ornaments with pictures of the movie stars I love. So, I went and bought little frames and took pictures from two photo collages I made way back I was in high school and voila! They are necessarily my top will notice there are no Jean Harlow, Clara Bow, or Buster Keaton....yet!

I made six for the time being. Joan Crawford, Mary Miles Minter, Theda Bara, Constance Talmadge, Lousie Brooks, and Olive Thomas. (I apologize for the rough looking pictures. My camera is broken, so I had to take these with my phone.)