Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Miss Gabrielle Ray

Hello out there! I do apologize if I have been a bit scarce once again these past weeks. I am in the process of moving so my time is spent either working, packing stuff up, or sleeping. Hopefully when I get down there everything will have calmed down. Although, two days after I arrive I start my new job, so, yeah. A lot at once!

Let us focus on all that is good and beautiful and in this case that is going to be another beautiful Edwardian actress, Gabrielle Ray. Bonus for her/me...we share the same birthday!! Awesome fact is awesome!

Gabrielle Ray was born Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook on April 28, 1883 in Cheadle, Stockport, England. She was the fourth child of William and Anne Cook.

She began appearing on the stage at age 10 and started touring with various shows. Some of the shows she appeared in included Little Red Riding Hood, Sinbad the Sailor, and The Belle of New York.

Gabrielle became a favorite of the English audiences who enjoyed her acting and her dancing. It also helped that she had a beautiful face that made her an artist and photographer's dream. Even the King of Portugal was a fan!

Like her contemporary, Lily Elsie, Gabrielle also appeared in The Merry Widow starting in 1907. She was with that show for over 700 performances! She wowed the audiences with her dance numbers in the show, doing all kinds of flips and turns while on top of a raised table no less! The girl could bring the house down.

Gabrielle briefly retired from the stage in 1912 to concentrate on her personal life, but when that didn't go as smoothly as she had hoped, she returned to her stage career three years later. One of her return appearances was at my favorite place, The Hippodrome!

Her last stage performance was as Mother Goose during a Christmas performance in 1920.

In the years following her retirement from acting, she began to suffer from depression and sliding into alcohol abuse. In 1936, she suffered from a mental collapse and had to be institutionalized for over forty years.

Gabrielle Ray passed away on May 21, 1973 while still in the sanatorium.

She was buried at Englefield Green Cemetery in Surrey, England.

Gabrielle was married once, to Eric Loder in 1912. It was clear that the marriage was doomed from the start when she didn't even show up to their first wedding ceremony. There are a rumors as to why the very well attended first wedding didn't take place. First, Gabrielle was mad that Loder wouldn't sign a pre-nup so she refused to go through with the wedding. The second rumor is that she was too freaked out to get married in front of thousands of people and preferred to have a small, private ceremony. Either way, they did eventually get married...and then divorced two years later.

On top of being a great actress and dancer, she was also an astute business woman. Instead of fan magazines and posters and things we have now to admire our favorite celebrities, the Edwardian audiences had postcards and Gabrielle appeared on quite a few. She and Lily Elsie both signed exclusive photo contracts for a postcard series, but it was Gabrielle who negotiated a commission that was four times more than the one given to Lily.

** Some of the information for this entry was from two wonderful sites that cover Gabrielle Ray and other amazing actresses from the Edwardian era. Please check them out and oooh and aaah over what they have to offer. Gabrielle     Ray

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Allow themselves to introduce...themselves...

Another cool part of the book of old gossip  magazines was that they had a "Who's Who in Hollywood" section that I thought was neat. Unfortunately, it only went up to the letter "H." It said that the rest would be continued in the next issue...and for some reason the book decided not to print the rest of it which is really lame in my opinion.

ARTHUR, JEAN - Never mentions her unhappy, month long first marriage, which ended in annulment. Married since June 11, 1932 to Frank Ross Jr. (She divorced Ross in 1949, and to be fair, if you had a marriage that only lasted a day, would YOU want to talk about it?)

ASTOR, MARY - Widowed when director Kenneth Hawks was killed in an air crash. Dr. Franklyn Thorpe restored her health. She married him in 1931, had a daughter, Marylyn, who became center of bitter custody battle in 1936. Eloped to Yuma February 18, 1937, with actor-writer Manuel Del Campo. (Hmmm, I notice a big, glaring omission of the diary scandal that took place during her and Thorpe's divorce trial. That kind stuff would be front page news nowadays!)

BALL, LUCILLE - Still single, but that romance with director Alexander Hall looks serious. (No mention of Desi as of yet! And that romance with Hall apparently didn't get too serious because they never made a trip down the aisle)

BARRIE, WENDY - Hasn't made The Great Decision yet. (Their capitals, not mine. Good Lord, it makes it seem like she is making a decision of biblical proportions. As far as marriage goes, Wendy never did marry.

Wallace Beery and his daughter, Carol Ann

BEERY, WALLACE - In February, 1916, married Gloria Swanson. It lasted about a year. His present marriage (to Rita Gillman) looks perpetual. Has an adopted 6-year-old, Carol Ann, around whom his world revolves. (Carol Ann was actually the daughter of Rita's cousin. Wallace and Rita divorced in 1939. Another interesting side note is that after the divorce, he adopted another little girl named Phyllis Anne. But, it seems she just kinda disappeared after that. She wasn't even mentioned in his obituary. Hmmm....)

Constance Bennett and Marquis Henri de la Falaise

BENNETT, CONSTANCE - Her first marriage, to Chester H. Moorhead, University of Virginia student - was annulled. Her second - to Philip Plant, millionaire playboy - ended in divorce and a handsome property settlement. On January 9, 1932, she adopted a child, Peter. On November 22, 1932, she married Marquis Henri de la Falaise, who now makes travel pictures. Contrary to popular impression, they are not divorced - yet. (I love the 'yet' at the end of the sentence. Their prediction was correct. The pair split in 1940)

Joan Blondell and Dick Powell

BLONDELL, JOAN - When she married cameraman George Barnes on January 4, 1933, she wanted to change her screen name to Joan Barnes. They had a son, Norman. Then, in September, 1936, they had a divorce. The same month, she married Dick Powell - and they had Hollywood's most hectic honeymoon. (And then a 'hectic' divorce in 1944. Norman was later adopted by Powell and is still alive and working as a television producer.)

BRADY, ALICE - Love Alice, and you have to love her dogs. Maybe James L. Crane didn't. Anyway, their marriage lasted only two and a half years. (I guess that ruined the idea of marriage for her because she never married again. Alice and Crane did a have a son together, Donald)

BROWN, JOE E. - Claims he has been married as long as he can remember - and to the same woman, Kathryn McGraw. They have two grown boys, and two little girls, one adopted to replace baby they lost. (I'm sorry....to 'replace' the baby they lost? What the hell?? Excellent journalism there. Anyways, both sons have passed away, but his daughters, Mary and Kathryn, are both still alive.)

James and Frances Cagney

CAGNEY, JAMES - It was love at first sight with Jimmy and his actress-wife, Frances Vernon - and that was almost more than a decade ago. (What a great story with these two, they married in 1922 and remained together until his death in 1986. They adopted a son, James Cagney Jr., and a daughter, Casey. What is really amazing is that he never cheated on his wife. He almost did while on tour entertaining troops when Merle Oberon tried to seduce him. Good for you, Jimmy! And, I don't blame you, Merle!)

Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard

CHAPLIN, CHARLIE - No one was certain he had married Mildred Harris in 1918 until she divorced him in 1920. His second marriage - to Lita Grey - was no secret. She gave him two sons, Charles Jr., and Sydney, before their divorce in 1927, when she won boys' custody. Everybody suspects Paulette Goddard is Wife No. 3 - but they won't talk. (Suspicions proved correct! Paulette and Charlie married in 1936...and then divorced in 1942. His fourth and final marriage was to Oona O'Neill in 1943. They remained married until his death in 1977. Oona and Charlie had EIGHT children together: Geraldine, Michael, Josephine, Victoria, Eugene, Jane, Annette, and Christopher. All eight of these children are still living, but his son with Lita Grey both passed away. Charlie Jr. died in 1958 from a pulmonary embolism and Sydney died in 2009 from a stroke)

Betty Grable and Jackie Coogan

COOGAN, JACKIE - "The Kid" has grown up. A married man since November 20, 1937, when Betty Grable said "I do." (Betty said "I don't" in 1939).

Bing and Dixie Lee Crosby

CROSBY, BING - Sang "I Surrender Dear" to Dixie Lee, for keeps, in 1932. Son Gary born 1933. Twins, Phillip and Dennis, born 1934. Expecting again! (Another son, Lindsay, was born in 1938. It has become pretty well known that Bing's boys had a rough childhood after one of the brothers wrote a book talking about how cold their father was to them. Only son, Phillip, claimed he was not a monster. Lindsay and Dennis both committed suicide by shotguns in 1989 and 1991, respectively. Gary died in 1995 from lung cancer, and Phillip in 2004 from a heart attack. )

DE HAVILLAND, OLIVIA- Love requires leisure. And Olivia is busy. (Her life seemed to 'slow down' in 1946 when she married author and screenwriter, Marcus Goodrich. They had a son, Benjamin in 1949. Olivia and Goodrich divorced in 1952. Her second and last marriage was to journalist Pierre Galante in 1955. They had a daughter, Gisele in 1956. The couple divorced in 1979. As you know, Olivia is still living! She outlived her son, who died in 1991 from cancer)

DRAKE, FRANCES - Popular with the boys, but elusive. (She managed to be 'caught' by Lt. Cecil Howard in 1939. They remained married until his death in 1985. Frances married again in 1992 in to David Brown, and they stayed married until she passed away in 2000)

ELLIS, PATRICIA - Of all the suitors rather favors Fred Keating. (The favor ran out it appears because they never married. Patricia only married once, in 1940 to businessman, George O'Malley. They remained married until her death in 1970.)

FAYE, ALICE - Honeymooning in Hollywood since September 4, 1937, when she finally said "Yes" to patient, persistent Tony Martin. (Someones patience didn't last very long because the two divorced in 1940.)

FAZENDA, LOUISE - Married ten years last Thanksgiving to producer Hal Wallis. Son born April, 1933. (Louise and Hal remained married until her death in 1965. Their son, Brent, later became a psychologist.)

FIELDS, W.C. - Unhappily married once, and only once. Under pressure, he has also admitted to having a grown son. (Oh Good Lord, Fields! His one and only wife was Harriet Hughes, with who he had a son, William Claude Jr,  with in 1904. He did in fact have another son named William, in 1917 with girlfriend, Bessie Poole. The latter son was later put into foster care. W.C. Jr. died in 1971 and was buried with his mother and father.)

Lili Damita and Errol Flynn

FLYNN, ERROL - Despite their battles - or, perhaps, because of them - Errol and Lili Damita still like matrimony, after two years. Gossipers have them calling it "quits" every other day. (Well, they did call it quits, in 1942. They had a son named Sean in 1941. Sean disappeared while working in Cambodia in 1970 and was later declared dead in 1984. His remains were never found, and is generally assumed that he was killed by communist guerrillas.)

FONTAINE, JOAN - At 20, intent on career, discouraging willing suitors. (Well, it seems that she quickly grew out of that state of mind because Joan married four times. Her second marriage produced a daughter, Deborah, in 1948.)

GEORGE, GLADYS - Ex-husbands: Ben Erway and Edward Fowler. Present husband: Leonard Penn, who has given up factory management for acting, to be with her. (He should have thought twice, because they divorced in 1944. Gladys married one more time in 1946 to Kenneth Bradley, but they too divorced, in 1950)

HOPKINS, MIRIAM - First married to Brandon Peters. Then to writer Austin Parker, whose divorce was one of Hollywood's friendliest. Adopted baby, Michael, May 4, 1932. Eloped to Yuma with director Anatole Litvak, September 4, 1937. They plan to live in separate houses on same estate. (Apparently Miriam and Anatole's alternative marriage didn't make things easier because they divorced in 1939. She married one more time, in 1945 to war correspondent, Raymond Brock. They remained married until 1951. Michael Hopkins passed away in 2010)

HOWARD, LESLIE - During World War leave married Ruth Evelyn Martin. They have a son, Ronald, a daughter Leslie. (Such a sad story. Leslie and Ruth remained married until 1943 when Leslie's plane was shot down over the Bay of Biscayne. There are a few conspiracies about what happened exactly, but I am not going to get into that here. Conspiracy theories are just...wow!)

HUDSON, ROCHELLE - Still collecting proposals. (She stopped collecting proposals at one point and started collecting husbands. She married four times, but never had children.)

Those Were the Days...

I found a great book at work a few weeks ago called Hollywood and the Great Fan Magazines by Martin Levin. I have a subscription to Star and InTouch magazines because I am a bit of a celebrity gossip nut (plus, I like the crosswords) so I really love reading the old Photoplay magazines from the classic film era. The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn has a newsstand with old magazines all along it and it is my favorite part of the museum to go to. They even have a few issues you can look through, even better!

After reading through this book, I wanted to share some of the tidbits I found. The one that really jumped out at me was that one article hinted at a romance between Myrna Loy and Ramon Novarro. I'm gonna have to go with "no" for that rumor. Myrna was Ramon's type, ya know?

"Yes, I suppose it is strange, and still I'm not surprised. When she was young you couldn't help but believe in her. You couldn't help but have confidence in her. I speak as her brother, of course, but there was something about her that made you have faith in her...She always wanted to act. Even when she was very young. It was just in her, I guess. Sometimes it does seem strange that she should be as popular as you say she is. You see, I can't help but think of her as my little sister. It's difficult for me to think of her as a famous person. She will always be, to me, my little sister, in whom I couldn't help but believe in." ~~ Greta's brother, Sven, when asked about his sister's fame.

"I positively will not cash in on the fame which my dad earned by his years of hard work and suffering in the grotesque roles he played. I know that I wouldn't have received a contract so soon if I hadn't been his son but that's as far I want to travel on that basis....I don't think Dad would have objected that I told him I wanted to be an actor. I knew he would rather see me in business, so while he lived, I did not reveal my desire to go on the screen. If he were here today, he would cuss a little, grin a bit, and then tell me to go to it." ~~ Creighton Chaney aka Lon Chaney Jr.

"Call me rough-neck! Call me taxi-dancer! Call me ham actor, if you wish. But, listen, friends: Don't call me gigolo!" ~~ George Raft

"The two hardest things I've had to learn in Hollywood are how to smile, and how to talk about myself. I used to think I had the homeliest smile - and for that reason all my early portraits were glum affairs. Eventually, I practiced cheering up before my mirror, and now I can grin without feeling like a darn fool!" ~~ Jean Harlow

"People knew how to live a century or two or three years ago, graciously, with artfulness and taste. When I play in costume pictures it seems I have returned to those days and feel in sympathy and tune with them." ~~ Olivia de Havilland

"I don't know what I would do without my studio romances. I have never made a picture that  did not fall in love with some man in the cast. None of these harmless affairs ever lasted beyond the length of the production, but I think all concerned enjoyed them thoroughly. Nothing really serious - just like the like sailors: I have a sweetheart in every part!" ~~ Betty Compson

"Having a baby means that you can no longer be self-centered. A screen star thinks too much of herself - or her hair, her complexion, her clothes. It is the most essential part of her life. Of necessity she must think of these things if she is successful - and wants to make progress. The ego must be developed - or she is buried under small criticisms, biting sarcasms, those frightful moments when she doubts her own abilities." ~~ Helen Twelvetrees [she had a son named Jack Woody Jr. in 1932]

"I do not like to talk about myself at any time and I particularly dislike to talk of intimate matters for publication. Once you have told your fans everything, they say, 'Well, we know all about her now. Let's find somebody else, somebody new.' Too often when this happens, actors blame the public, charge their fans without fickleness. It is not fickle to lose interest when no mystery remains. I do not care if I am misunderstood as you say I am. I do not care how many stories are written about me giving wrong ideas - that is, if they are interesting ideas. But I do not want to be so well-known as to be uninteresting." ~~ Marlene Dietrich

"You know, I loathe beads and jewelry in general. But I must always wear bracelet - I adore them. I like long drooping earrings with formal evening clothes. And I love pretty clothes. I never had so many until I went to Hollywood. In New York I always wore black and white - really my favorite. But in Hollywood everyone goes in for bright colors, and I've joined the ranks. Of course, being a a blonde my favorite color is blue." ~~ Bette Davis

"I don't believe in fairy tales any longer. That about covers everything. I don't believe that black is black or white white. Which makes everything confusing. I don't believe in people any longer, not as I did. I know, now, that I can count my real friends on the fingers of one hand - and have some fingers to spare. I used to have ideals and expect people to live up to them and be bitterly hurt and disappointed if they didn't. I haven't any ideals now and I can't be disappointed. I used to be critical and exacting. People had to fit, exactly, the pattern I'd cut for them or I'd have none of them. I know better now." ~~ Janet Gaynor

"I think my previous roles will prove that sophistication does not need smutty lines, lewd scenes or display that is vulgar. The sophistication lies rather in that they deal with the real emotions which sway men and women and complicate their lives. We should not be afraid of sex on the screen, so long as it avoids vulgarity. I would be the first to decry vulgarity in pictures, but it is the more daring and more sophisticated side of life which forms the most interest." ~~ Norma Shearer

"I hate to be interviewed about marriage. Articles about marriage are always being written. And writers write such mushy, oogly-woogly stuff about Joan and me." ~~ Douglas Fairbanks Jr. [on being asked about what makes a marriage happy]

"I was working in Speed Girl and one night I had an extraordinary dream. It was one of those vivid dreams where everything is intensely real so that when you wake up you're lost for an instant. It seemed as if I were going up a gravel walk toward an enormous white Colonial house that was surrounded by a wide-spreading lawn. The rooms were filled with actors I knew who were dead - John Bunny and Barbara La Marr among them. The only two there who were alive at the time were Valentino and Mabel Normand. They came to meet me and asked if I intended to join them. I told them I was sorry but I couldn't stay." ~~ Bebe Daniels

"Yes, Johnny and I are finished. He wants a Mexican divorce but I won't have it. We will get an honest-to-goodness California divorce though, just as soon as we can file the papers. Johnny is madly in love with Lupe Velez. I do not know whether or not she loves him or if they will get married but I've known about the affair for some time. I've tried to fight it out. It's no use, the gossips win. Marriage can't be victor in Hollywood." ~~ Bobbe Arnst

"Hollywood girls marry for love! That's shown by the failure of most of their marriages. They don't think carefully about husbands. They are not designing. They marry the men they love without thinking of the consequences. I know of no actress who has married primarily to advance herself. Most film actresses marry inferior men. Just as brilliant men usually choose inferior women. Why? I don't know. Maybe there is less strain with a common place mate." ~~ Sylvia Sidney

"Audiences are becoming more sophisticated all the time, and care less about whether the heroines are already spoken for off screen. But I think the fans have a subconscious hope that the stars will stay single. This enables one to dream that someday one may meet and win the beautiful creature or handsome hero." ~~ Anita Page

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Miss Lily Elsie

There are some faces that almost take your breath away when you look at them in pictures. Names that come to mind are Maude Fealy and Sharon Tate. Yes, they were from eras very far apart from one another, but they are those rare breeds that never seem to take a bad picture or have a bad angle. Another lady to add to that bunch is the lovely Edwardian stage actress, Lily Elsie. I mean, you look at her pictures and wonder how this woman was even real? She looks like a beautiful painting or statue. I can only imagine what a treat it was to see her perform on stage...or even on film!

Lily Elsie was born Elsie Hodder on April 8, 1886 in Armley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Her mother, Charlotte, worked as a dress maker and it isn't clear who Elsie's real father was. The most likely candidate is a former opera tenor named Arthur Borrows who died in 1928. In his death notice from the New York Times, it lists him as having three daughters, one of them being Lily. When she was still a child, her mother married a theatre worker named William Cotton who adopted Elsie as his own.

She began to act on the stage when she was still a child, working under the name "Little Elsie." It seems her act was to impersonate famous stars of the day which was a popular act at the time...and I guess it still is! When she was around 14 years old, she started using the stage name that would later appear all over the world in lights and in playbills, Lily Elsie.

During the course of six years, Lily appeared in around 14 shows. She was a hard worker, but remember, she was still a child. She was once fired from a show for laughing on stage, but was soon hired back.

Her biggest success was starring in The Merry Widow in 1908. She didn't think she was up for the role after seeing the original German version but with a little training and some new attire from the best designer at the time, Lucille Duff-Gordon, she was soon well on her way. One of the costume pieces Lucille designed for her was a huge hat with feathers and other adornments which soon became all the rage among society ladies. Soon Lucille was designed Lily's clothes in real life so she could be a fashion plate while out on the town.

Lily's face eventually was seen on postcards, advertisements, and men from all over wrote to her proclaiming their love for her.

The next year, in 1909, Lily left her famous production and went on to appear in 16 other shows before she took a break to concentrate on her personal life. She liked being out of the limelight and only appeared in stage productions that were for charitable causes. She returned to the stage full time in 1916 and appeared in around four more shows before taking an even longer break from acting. But, yet again, she would return for a few sporadic shows.

During her break from the stage, Lily made two silent films. The first one was the 1918 D.W. Griffith film, The Great Love, with Lillian Gish. The second was Comradeship in 1919 starring some people that I really don't know, but it was apparently a quite popular picture. From what I have read, the Griffith film is lost and the second one is in archive at an institute in England.

Lily Elsie passed away on December, 16, 1962 in Cricklewood, London, England. She was cremated and her ashes were either interred or scattered at Golders Green Crematorium in England.

Lily was married once, to Major John Ian Bullough in 1911. Of course, Lucille designed her wedding dress, which later on Lily called "hideous." She was happy for awhile, being able to live a quiet life away from the life of a stage actress, but her health had always been on shaky ground so eventually illness began to eat away at her tranquil life. It also didn't help that Bullough was rumored to be an on and off again alcoholic. They split up and got back together a few times before finally calling it quits for good in 1930. They never had children, which is probably for the best if you examine all the evidence.

What exactly was wrong with Lily? Well...a few things, so sit back! She always had "weak nature" from growing up in poverty and having to undergo several surgeries. The toll from this and working non-stop on shows exhausted not only her mind but her body as well. She was extremely fatigued, was anemic, and could even have begun menopause in her early twenties, which could explain why she never had children. After her divorce, she spent time in and out of hospitals and sanitariums but it was mostly for a vacation of sorts seeing as she became a bit of a hypochondriac. Doctors thought they would perform a radical new surgery on her to see if it would help. The surgery? A lobotomy. Did it help? No (did they ever?) It made her calmer but not 100% fit as a fiddle.

According to Cecil Beaton, Lily was a smoker.

According to sources at the time, Lily may have suffered from the same "don't show up-itis" as Marilyn Monroe. If Lily was billed as the star of the show, she wouldn't show up, and her understudy would have to step in.

Her family and friends always called her Elsie.

Major Bullough had been married previously to another actress/showgirl named Maude Darrell. They were married in 1909 but sadly, she passed away the next year. She was a beauty from the picture I saw too!

Her step-aunt , Ada Reeve, was a famous stage actress (she was one of the original Floradora Girls) and later had a film career.

"To see her merely walk across the stage was a poem." ~~ Cecil Beaton [on Lily Elsie]

** most of the info and the pictures were from this amazing website dedicated to Lily. Check it out!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Miss Leila Hyams

Guess I am on a pretty blonde kick! Nothing wrong with that says this pretty blonde :)

Leila Hyams had a relatively short career, but she was absolutely gorgeous! She was also the offspring of two actors, so she was born with some stardust in her veins.

Did I mention she was beautiful?

Leila Hyams was born on May 1, 1905 in New York City. Her parents were the vaudeville comedy duo, John and Leila McIntyre Hyams. It seems as soon as she could walk, she was sharing the stage with her parents.

Besides appearing on the vaudeville stage, Leila also worked as a model and became quite well known for her work. It was her modeling work that got her into the movies.

She made her acting debut in 1924 in the film, Sandra, with Barbara La Marr. Her next role was opposite Clara Bow and Alice Joyce in Dancing Mothers. Not bad, eh?

Leila didn't reach super stardom like her co-star, Clara Bow, but she was popular during her day. She appeared in a number of other silent films alongside such names as Madge Bellamy, Myrna Loy, and the man, er, dog himself, Rin Tin Tin.

What made her so likable to the film fans was her innocent sex appeal, her beautiful smile, and her charisma. But, even with all that she still seemed like the down to Earth girl next door. That helped to set her apart from her other female costars.

One of her first talking pictures was with my favorite guy, Buster Keaton in 1929's Spite Marriage. And although timewise her career didn't last long, she managed to fit a lot of films into that short period of time. A few of her more well known pictures include Tod Browning's highly controversial film, Freaks, and Red-Headed Woman alongside Jean Harlow.

Her last film appearance was in 1936 in the film, Yellow Dust. Instead of a film career, she wanted to concentrate on her personal life, although she was still seen out and about in Hollywood.

Leila Hyams passed away on December 4, 1977 in Bel Air, California. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered.

Leila was married once, to agent Phil Berg from 1927 until her death in 1977. They never had children.

She was once described as "The Golden Girl"  by an artist, because of her perfect pink, white, and blonde coloring. To help maintain her beautiful skin coloring, she would lay under the studio lamps, when she couldn't go lay outside in the sun that is.

Apparently, Leila was known to drive very fast, but she never got a speeding ticket. Her trick? She would drive around with her dog and whenever he saw a motorcycle, he would bark and jump around which would remind Leila to slow down.
She was quite shrewd when it came to protecting her assets. She put a picture of herself on all of her checks so that it would be impossible for anyone to take them and use them. Smart lady!

According to a 1928 Photoplay Magazine article, Leila carried a small satin case suspended from her garter that contained an extra pair of stockings in case the pair she had on got damaged.

One of her favorite hobbies was fishing. Maybe her outdoorsy side was one of the reasons she was the first actress offered the role of Jane in the first Tarzan picture. And as you know by now, she turned the role down.

She was the first person to model for Listerine advertisements. Look at those pearly whites!

Miss Virginia Lee Corbin

Virginia Lee Corbin, a child actress of the silent screen who died when she was only 31 years old in 1942. Such a short life for a beautiful young lady.

Virginia Lee Corbin was born Virginia LaVerne Corbin on December 5, 1914 in Prescott, Arizona. She was the daughter of Leon and Frances Corbin and the younger sister of Ruth, who also worked as an actress.

Frances Corbin was reportedly a stage actress which is probably how her daughters got in to the acting game. Frances once told a reporter that Virginia used to sleep on a bed of coats on a trunk behind the stage of the theater.

The family moved to California when Virginia was around three years old. Apparently they needed to move to a warmer climate because Virginia was sick. This very well could have been the beginnings of the tuberculosis that would kill her some twenty years later.

It isn't 100% known how she got her break into pictures. One story says she was discovered by someone working for Pathe Studios while she was performing in a hotel. Another story is that her parents took the family on a tour of the studios and she was discovered there. She could have possibly even gotten noticed while watching her older sister, Ruth, performing a scene. Either way, she got noticed.

One of her first roles was in the D.W. Griffith epic, Intolerance in 1916. She appeared as a child (which makes sense since she was a child) in the ending sequence of the film, but she wasn't credited. While working under the name "Baby Virginia Corbin," she appeared in early renditions of: Jack and the Beanstalk and Aladdin (both in 1917), and Treasure Island in 1918.

What made her so popular as a child star was that her emotional range was quite exceptional given her age. When she was around three years old, she was able to cry on command and also sing on key. She could dance well, had a great memory, and also had an excellent vocabulary, all of which helped make her a favorite of the studios and of movie fans around the country.

Virginia did eventually grow up, something that always seems to hurt a child star. Virginia seemed to make a nice transition from little girl to a teenage flapper in the 1920s. People really seemed to love her.

Her more mature films weren't huge successes but she was a popular star. Some of the films she appeared in during this time include: 1924's Wine of Youth with Eleanor Boardman, Zasu Pitts, and Billy Haines, and Broken Laws also in 1924. The latter film was produced by Dorothy Davenport, the widow of screen star, Wallace Reid. The film was another one of her "moral" pictures that she released after her husband's death from the effects of morphine addiction.

Unfortunately, she was not one of the stars of the silent screen that made the transition into talking pictures. So, she took a very early retirement and only came back to make a few pictures in the 1930s. Her last film role was in 1931 in X Marks the Spot. Interestingly enough, she once told reporters that she thought she would have a great career in talkies if she started speaking in an English accent. Hmmm...

It seemed she disappeared after her last film. She kept talking about making a comeback in films, but then she just seemed to fade away.

Colleen Moore and Virginia

Virginia Lee Corbin passed away on June 5, 1942 in Winfield, Illinois. She outlived her mother and her sister. Her father passed away in her teens.

She is buried at the Westlawn Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.

Virginia was one of those exceptional people that managed to cram a lot of life in only a short lifespan. She was first married to a stockbroker named Theodore Elwood Krol in 1929. They had a son, Phillip Harold in 1932, and a second son, Robert Lee in 1935. The next year, in 1936, it seemed that there was trouble in paradise for the couple. According to an article published back then, Theodore filed for divorce and for custody of the boys, saying that Virginia drank too much and was not a fit mother for their children. They tried to work things out, but within a few months, they were back in divorce court. When Virginia later admitted in court that she had hit and kicked Theodore, she gave up the fight and refused alimony from him and also gave him full custody of the kids.

She married soon after the divorce was final, to another broken named Charles Jacobson. I am not sure if they were still married, divorced, or separated at the time of her death. It seems that Theodore Krol's family was with Virginia when she died, so who knows what the situation was.

Another nickname of hers was "Dresden Doll of the Movies."

It seems that Frances Cobin was a bit of a stage mother. According to reports at the time, Virginia asked the courts to appoint another woman (a Helen Kyser) to be her guardian, claiming that her mother was unfit for the role. Apparently, Virginia would try and run away from home to get away from her mother but then her mother would file a police report and Virginia would be declared "MISSING" or "RUNAWAY." The added publicity did not help the situation as you can imagine. According to a Pittsburgh Press article from May 1929, Frances Corbin had previously attempted suicide and Virginia had filed a document to have her mother declared insane, but she did eventually withrew it.

"Death came unexpectedly in Chicago yesterday to Virginia Lee Corbin, who once won millions of hearts as a child star in silent films." ~~ obituary notice

** a lot of information about Virginia came from a page that hosts her biography written by a Ted Lussier Check it out