Sunday, December 15, 2013

Miss Dorothy Gulliver

Dorothy Gulliver is an actress that I knew very little about. Actually, make that I knew nothing about her. I had seen a picture of her somewhere and thought she was very interesting looking, and come to find out, she was a WAMPAS Baby Star! So, here is the lowdown on Dorothy.

Dorothy Gulliver was born Dorothy Kathleen Gulliver on September 6, 1908 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the third of six children born to Fred and Nellie Gulliver. I believe Fred made a living driving a truck and later had his own limousine service. Dorothy had two older brothers, Rodney and Alfred, and her younger siblings consisted of two sisters named Margaret, Olive, and Ethel, and a brother named Victor.

Like quite a few actresses out there, Dorothy got her break into the movie business after winning a beauty contest in her home state of Utah. The contest just happened to be sponsored by Universal Pictures who was offering a screen test to the lovely lady who won. Dorothy so impressed the men behind the camera that she was offered a movie contract.

She made her film debut in the 1926 short, The Winking Idol. Sounds like a great name for a Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn biography.

Dorothy never became a huge star, but she did become a familiar face in the background of the more than 100 films she appeared in. She was also well known for a few bathing suit cheesecake photos she posed for that appeared in movie magazines.

She was part of a film serial called The Collegians that ran for 45 episodes. Dorothy played a character named June Maxwell and the premise of the series was that the audience would follow the same group of friends and faculty through their four years in college. The other actors who appeared in every episode were George J. Lewis, Hayden Stevenson, Eddie Phillips, and Churchill Ross.

In 1928, she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star along with Lupe Velez, Sue Carol, and Lina Basquette.

Also, like another WAMPAS Baby Star, Marion Aye, Dorothy appeared in quite a few Westerns, usually with Jack Hoxie.

During her later years, Dorothy's film roles become so small that she was only credited as "snack stand clerk," "salesgirl," or "New York theatregoer." I did read somewhere that she was involved in some kind of accident in the 1930s that caused her to take a hiatus from her career, but I don't know anymore information than that.

The final film she appeared in was 1976's Won Ton Ton: the Dog who Saved Hollywood. Her role in the film was "Old woman on bus" and even though the part was tiny, Dorothy would later vehemently deny that she was ever in the film. Can't say I blame her.

Dorothy Gulliver passed away on May 23, 1997 in Valley Center, California. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered.

Dorothy was married twice, but I am not sure about the dates. Her first husband was assistant director Jack Proctor and her second husband was publicist William De Vite (or De Vito) around 1926.

In 1929, an article was published in the San Jose News announcing that Harold Lloyd had found a new leading lady in Dorothy Gulliver. "My leading lady in this film will get the best break a girl has ever had in one of my pictures. That is why I have been so particular about choosing a girl. I wanted to be sure I had one who would meet with all of the requirements. I believe I have found that in Miss Gulliver" said Harold. It appears though that the movie either was never released or was never made because I haven't found any information about the two having starred in a movie together. Sad, really.

"They were all such fine actors, but I admit I was amazed when this actress asked, 'What is my motivation for going to the phone?'" ~~ Dorothy Gulliver to the Los Angeles Times when asked about Method actors.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Miss Marion Aye

So, I am going to be unofficially-officially covering some of the young ladies that were Mack Sennett Bathing Beauties and also some of the ladies who were voted WAMPAS Baby Stars. There is a lot of overlap, so it works out great. I got inspired while doing research on Marvel Rea and looking at all of the pictures of the Bathing Beauties on the beach. I just adore them!

Let us begin with the letter 'A' with Miss Marion Aye! (No, this will not be done in alphabetical order, it just worked out that way. Don't you just love it when that happens?)

Marion Aye was born Maryon Eloise Aye on April 5, 1903 in Chicago Illinois. She was billed either as 'Marion' or 'Maryon' but I believe her birth name to be the latter because that is how it is spelled on her headstone.

Marion was the oldest child and only daughter born to James, a lawyer, and Eloise Aye. Her brother, James Jr. was born four years after her.

Apparently, Marion was discovered by Mack Sennett himself one day while hanging out on the beach. He liked the way she looked in a bathing suit...which, I am sure is the same line he fed to all his beauties. But, hey, if it ain't broke...

She made her film debut in the 1919 short, Hearts and Flowers which starred Louise Fazenda and Ford Sterling.

Marion, Bert Lytell, and Virginia Browne Faire

A few years later in 1922, she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star along with Lila Lee, Bessie Love, and Colleen Moore.

That same year she begin appearing with cowboy actor Bob Reeves in an 18 piece Western short series.

During her career, which lasted for seven years and had her in around 20 films, she acted alongside such big names as Larry Semon, Stan Laurel, Hobart Bosworth, Claire Windsor, Blanche Sweet, George O'Brien, and Billie Dove.

She made her last film, Irene, in 1926. She retired soon after and was pretty much forgotten by Hollywood.

Marion Aye passed away on July 10, 1951 in Culver City, California. Eleven days earlier, she had ingested some type of poison and was found semi-conscious in her hotel room and was taken to the hospital where she later died. Unfortunately, this was one of many suicide attempts that Marion tried. Her first known attempt was in 1935.

She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. She is buried next to her mother who died only five months before Marion.

After his daughter's death, James Aye spoke out saying that Marion had been upset after losing a role for a television show. I am sure her mother's death also was a contributing factor.

Marion was reportedly married three times, but the details are a little fuzzy. Her first husband was Sherman William Plaskett. She was only 15 years old at the time, but she lied and said she was 18 so that they could get married. Sadly, Plaskett died a year later.

Marion is second from right
Her second husband was press agent Harry Wilson. I am not sure when they married, but they did divorce in 1924. According to the September 1924 issue of Variety, Marion had requested $50 a week in alimony from Wilson and also a little extra so that she could hire a new press agent. The judge denied the motion, saying that she was working and making more than that in a week so it was unnecessary. He did however tell her that if her income ever fell below the requested amount that Wilson could have to cover the difference. Man oh man...

Her third and finally husband was a comedian named Ross Forrester. The two were married in 1936 and were still married when Marion passed away. Forrester would later tell reporters that he always thought she was joking when she talked about killing herself. 

One really interesting fact about Marion is that she was the first movie star to sign a studio contract with a 'morality clause.' It was reported in a bunch of different magazines at the time and went on to become kind of a joke during the golden years of Hollywood since most, if not all of stars were not cookie cutter angels.

"Give me a non-professional husband! Nothing is so wearing as too much of the same thing, and I believe an actor or director would give one no rest from shop talk. Besides, a man outside the studio is far more apt to remain the lover, for to him you can preserve the glamour of the screen. Nothing destroys his illusion of you, for he is unlike the man inside who knows all about illusions!" ~~ Marion Aye, Motion Picture Magazine, 1926