Carolyn Mitchell (Barbara Ann Thomson) 1937-1966 5th wife of Mickey Rooney
Carolyn Mitchell was born Barabara Ann Thomason on January 25, 1937 in Phoenix, Arizona, to Don and Helen Thomason. While attending Emerson Elementary School in Phoenix, she became known as the prettiest girl in Phoenix. Her family moved to Inglewood, California in 1951. While attending Inglewood's Morningside High School, she began entering beauty pageants, and in October 1953, her dreams came true when she won several beauty pageants. In 1954, she was crowned "Queen of the Championships of Southern California." Later that year, she won the "Miss Muscle Beach" and "Miss Surf Festival" titles. After graduating from school, she became a dance instructor for Arthur Murray. As "Tara Thomas," she became a model, appearing in "Modern Man" in December 1957.
Early in 1958, Fate intervened in the guise of car salesman Bill Gardner, who introduced her to Hollywood legend Mickey at a nightclub. The smitten Rooney bought her a $4,500 fur coat. On April 12th, 1958, she reportedly took an overdose of sleeping pills. The day after the incident, she told the press that the Mick tried to resuscitate her by pushing her into his swimming pool. The incident later was revealed to be a publicity stunt. By June, Mickey had separated from his fourth wife, actress Elaine Devry and bought a new house in Sherman Oaks which she moved into to play house with the diminutive movie star.
Thomason and Mickey were secretly married in Mexico on December 1, 1958. In March of 1959, the three-months-pregnant Thomason threatened to commit suicide if Rooney didn't get a divorce and marry her, though Mickey tried to convince here that they were already married. On September 13, 1959, Barbara Ann Thomason Rooney gave birth to a daughter, Kelly Ann, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. Rooney announced he had wed Thomason in a Mexican ceremony. Later that year, she appeared in the November 1959 issue of "Gala" magazine.
Due to the dubious nature of their Mexican marriage, Mickey remarried Thomason in 1960, with the Reverend Douglas Smith presiding at his Los Angeles church, making their marriage legal. Their second daughter, Kerry Yule, was born on December 30, 1960. They would have two more children, a son Michael Joseph, born on April 2, 1962, and a third daughter, Kimmy Sue, born four years to the day after their first, on September 13, 1963 by cesarean section.
In August 1963, the heavily pregnant Barbara accompanied Mickey to Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, for the filming of "The Secret Invasion." According to his second autobiography, Mickey had been cheating on her, and on July 4th, 1964, Mickey had met a stripper and movie extra in Atlantic City. In late August, his new girlfriend created a row when Barbara Ann accompanied Mickey to the set for the filming of his television series, "Mickey." After the incident, Barbara had a massive fight with Mickey, and in September '64, they both were in contact with divorce attorneys. However, they didn't divorce but decided to move out of Beverly Hills. They sold their Beverly Hills home and moved into a Brentwood house they bought relatively cheap for only $65,000 as both of the previous two occupants had died at the house in freak accidents. It would prove equally unlucky for Barbara.
Alain Delon, who was in Los Angeles in the fall of 1964 to try to make a go at Hollywood, it was Delon who introduced Mickey and Barbara to his stand-in Milos Milosevics, a 24-year-old Yugoslavian actor Delon has brought with him from Paris. Mickey had to go on location to the Philippines to film a picture, and he made the fatal mistake of asking his new friend Milosevics to look after his his wife. Milosevics agreed. With the cat away, the mice did play. Barbara reportedly took Milosevics as a lover to get back at Mickey for his philandering.
While Mickey was in the Philippines, Barbara Ann accompanied her new lover Milosevics to northern California, to the location shoot of "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming," in which he has a bit part. They were still having an affair when Mickey returned and moved out of the Brentwood house after finding out. The couple filed for an official separation on December 1965, after which Milosevics moved into the Brentwood house to live with Barbara and her four children by Mickey.
After learning she was planning to file a lawsuit for separate maintenance, Mickey filed for divorce on January 19, 1966, citing mental cruelty. In his suit, Mickey asked the court for a restraining order to keep Milosevics out of the Brentwood house. Barabra began to panic when she learned that she might lose her children in a custody battle due to her adultery. On his part, Milosevics became jealous when he realized she was considering returning to Mickey. He was even more incensed when he heard a tape recording of a conversation between Barbara and Mickey, discussing the divorce suit. On the tape, made by a private detective on January 20, 1966 with the help of Barbara and Milosevics, she tells Mickey that she will not see Milosevics again, even as a friend. Afterwards, Mickey checked in to the hospital for treatment of an exotic blood disease he has picked up on location.
That night, she went out with Milosevics and her friend Margie Lane for dinner at the Daisy on Rodeo Drive. They returned to Brentwood and bid her friend goodnight at 8:30 p.m. Three of the children were at home; three-year-old Kimmy Sue was visiting her grandparents in Inglewood. The following day, her friend Wilma Catania and the maid forced open the locked door of the master bedroom with a screwdriver. In the bathroom, they found the bodies of Barbara and Milosevics. She was laying on her back, shot through the jaw, Milosevics beside her, face down, a bullet hole in his temple. Milosevic had shot Barbara with Mickey's chrome-plated .38 caliber revolver, then turned the weapon on himself. When Mickey learned about the murder-suicide, he went into shock and was forced to stay another day in the hospital.
Reverend Douglas Smith, the minister who had married her and Mickey in 1960, presiding. Barbara's four children were put into the custody of their grandparents in Inglewood. In his autobiography, Mickey said of the murder-suicide,” I died when she did. I am furious at what happened to her." On the rebound, Mickey married Barbara's close friend Marge Lane. That marriage failed after 100 days.
Paul Johnston McCullough (27 March 1883 - 25 March 1936)
Born in Springfield, Ohio, McCullough met Clark at a local YMCA when they were boys. Their childhood friendship grew into an adult partnership, and the pair appeared in circuses and vaudeville revues before achieving mainstream stardom in the 1922 Irving Berlin Broadway show Their Broadway hit "The Ramblers" was filmed in 1930 as The Cuckoosa vehicle for Wheeler & Woolsey. Clark and McCullough went to Hollywood in 1928 and starred in 35 short films produced over a seven-year period.
In their act, Clark was the dominant, motor-mouthed comedian and McCullough was the quieter straight man. In many of their films, McCullough input was severely limited to a supporting role as Clark generated the bulk of the humor. In the Biography of Paul McCullough their occupations in the films usually dictated what Clark's character name was: when photographers, Clark was named "Flash"; when chefs, Clark was "Cook"; when lawyers, Clark was "Blackstone", etc. Paul McCullough was always named "Blodgett," regardless of the role. He was enthusiastic on film, punctuating scenes with a cackling laugh. His antics were much subtler than the bombastic Clark's; McCullough would fiddle with props or react quietly while the action was centered on Clark.
In 1935, having completed their last short for R.K.O., Clark and his partner Paul McCullough went on tour in a version of "George White's Scandals." The frenetic pace of touring emotionally discombobulated McCullough and, suffering from nervous exhaustion, he entered a sanitarium in Medford, Massachusetts. In March 1936, he was released. As he was driving home with a friend, he decided to have a shave. They stopped at a local barber shop where McCullough struck up a friendly conversation with the barber. Without warning, as the barber's back was turned, McCullough grabbed a straight razor and slashed his own throat and wrists. In critical condition, he was taken to a nearby hospital where he died several days later. Clark was emotionally devastated by the loss of his old friend.
Mabel Normand was the first great comedienne of American cinema and one the most important -- and popular -- American silent film actresses. By the time she first showed up at the Biograph studio in 1910, Normand was already a "Gibson Girl" (a model for illustrator Charles Dana Gibson) and a champion swimmer, and she was not yet 18. Biograph published a photo of Normand with the phony name "Muriel Fortescue," leading some sources to believe this her real name, but nevertheless it was Mabel Normand. She was from a French Canadian family and born on Staten Island on November 9, 1892. Normand worked for Biograph only a few months, then joined Vitagraph for about a year while the Biograph Company wintered out West. After they returned, so did she, working under the direction of D.W. Griffith. Griffith cast Normand as the "second girl" in melodramas and in tomboy roles; Griffith's protégé, Mack_Sennett, primarily made comedies and would exploit Normand's natural comic abilities and athleticism through casting her in the lead. A Dash Through the Clouds (1912) featured Normand escaping with her beau in a new gadget, a Wright Brothers-styled airplane. This, and other, short comedies made by Sennett helped establish Mabel Normand as a girl who could take care of herself -- willful, powerful, and seemingly without fear.
Sennett broke with Biograph to found Keystone Comedies, and Normand joined him in California; she starred in the first Keystone, The Water Nymph, released in September 1912. Apparently, a personal relationship between Sennett and Normand blossomed about this time as well, and though it was once the source of a popular musical, +Mack and Mabel, the true nature of their relationship remains unclear. Normand was the Sennett studio's most significant female star, and as Sennett also discovered and introduced Gloria_Swanson, Phyllis_Haver, Betty_Compson, and Carole_Lombard, that's saying a lot. Normand also began to direct in 1914, although more out of necessity than any artistic need. One reason Charlie_Chaplin was allowed to direct so early in his Keystone career was that he objected to taking direction from Normand, complaining about it to Sennett.
Normand entered into an immensely popular series of films co-starring Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle as sidekick, with titles such as Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916) and Fatty and Mabel at the San Diego Exposition (1915) being among the best remembered. It is said that the relationship, such as it was, between Sennett and Normand foundered in the summer of 1915, nevertheless, Sennett decided to produce a feature starring Normand and built the Mabel Normand Studio next door to Keystone; it was a necessary move, as the Keystone studio didn't have the right infrastructure to make such a film. Normand was 24 years old at the time; the studio with her name above the gate made only one film, Mickey (1918), a sentimental melodrama in the style of Griffith, spiced with comic touches. Mickey was tied up in post-production so long that by the time it was released, Normand had already left Sennett for the Goldwyn Studio and had been working there a year. Mickey, aided by a hit song and a successful merchandising campaign, proved Normand's most successful film, but Sennett had lost legal control of it, and neither shared in its profits.
Normand's sojourn to Goldwyn resulted in disappointing returns, and in 1920, Sam_Goldwyn was happy to sell Sennett back her contract. During this time, Normand had become dependant on cocaine and began to suffer months-long periods of illness where she could not work. Once back at Sennett, she made Molly_O' (1921), a property more or less modeled right after Mickey; it was enormously successful. However, on February 1, 1922, director William_Desmond_Tayl or was shot in the back and killed, and Normand was unfortunate enough to be the last person to see him alive. Although she had nothing to do with Taylor's murder, her name was added early on to a long list of suspects in the still unsolved case. Although her reputation was sullied, Normand made one more feature with Sennett, The_Extra_Girl (1923), which remains the most frequently seen of her films, and one of her best. Although it opened to enthusiastic crowds and good reviews, at a New Year's Eve party in 1923, Normand was witness to yet another shooting, this time of playboy Courtland S. Dines, by Normand's chauffeur, with her gun. Dines survived, but Normand's reputation was mortally wounded.
Although publicly Sennett declared that he planned to continue making films with Normand, in private they agreed to end their association. In 1926, Normand married actor Lew_Cody and made five films with Hal_Roach. These were her last, for in February 1927 Normand fell prey to her final bout with illness, which claimed her at the age of 37 after three years of slowly declining health. Though tuberculosis was given as cause, research in the late 20th century revealed that Normand may have died from a disease that was carried congenitally through her family line. Altogether Mabel Normand appeared in about 230 films and directed 16 of them; roughly 45 percent of her titles survive. It is not as generous a bequest as it sounds; a third of that total consists of 1914 films in which she co-starred with Chaplin, and the remainder includes only two of her Goldwyn features and one Vitagraph. At her peak, Normand was worshipped by scores of women who admired her for being wealthy, independent, fashionable, and flamboyant -- not to mention well read and eloquent in interviews. She remains one of the most captivating and unique figures among American silent-screen stars.
David Lewis, All Movie Guide
Florence Lawrence (January 2, 1886 (her birth date has also been reported as 1890) - December 28, 1938) was an inventor and actress, and was one of Hollywood's first movie stars.
Born Florence Annie Bridgwood in Hamilton, Ontario, she was the child of Charlotte Bridgwood, a vaudeville actress who went by the name Lotta Lawrence. Florence's surname was changed at age four to her mother's stage name. She was one of several Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood who made their way to Hollywood, attracted by the rapid growth of the fledgling motion picture business. In 1907, at twenty-one years of age, she made her first motion picture. The next year, she appeared in 38 movies for the Vitagraph film company.
During these formative years in Hollywood, silent screen actors were just faces because studio owners refused to list the names of the film's cast members, fearing that fame might lead to demands for higher wages. D.W. Griffith, the head of Biograph Studios, saw one of Vitagraph's films with a beautiful blonde-haired girl whose screen presence captured his interest. Because the film's actors received no mention, Griffith had to make discreet enquiries to learn she was Florence Lawrence and a meeting was arranged. With the Vitagraph Company, she had been earning $20 a week but over and above acting, she was required to work as a costume seamstress. Griffith offered her a job acting only and with a raise to $25 a week that Florence jumped at.
Ms. Lawrence quickly gained much popularity but because her name was never publicized, fans began writing the studio asking for her name. But, even when her "anonymous" face had gained wide recognition, particularly after starring in the highly successful Resurrection, Biograph Studios only labeled her as "The Biograph Girl."
In 1910, Carl Laemmle, who later founded Universal Pictures, started his own motion picture company. Needing a star, he lured Lawrence away from Biograph by promising to give her a marquee, making her the first performer to be identified by name on screen and in film advertising. First though, Carl Laemmle organized a publicity stunt by starting a rumor that Lawrence had been killed by a street car in New York City. Then, after gaining much media attention, he placed ads in the newspapers that included a photo of Ms. Lawrence, declaring she was alive and well and was making The Broken Oath, a new movie for his IMP Film Company to be directed by Harry Solter.
Laemmle then had Ms. Lawrence make a personal appearance in St. Louis, Missouri with her leading man to show her fans that she was very much alive. As a result of Laemmle's ingenuity, the "star system" was born and before long, Florence Lawrence became a household name. However, her fame was such that the studio executives who had concerns over wage demands soon had their fears proved correct. By late 1910, Lawrence left IMP to work for Lubin Studios, advising her fellow young Canadian, the 16-year-old Mary Pickford, to take her place as IMP's star.
During her lifetime, Lawrence appeared in more than 270 films for various motion picture companies. Nicknamed "The Girl of a Thousand Faces", at the height of her career, she was earning a great deal of money and could afford an automobile, something that at the time was still a luxury for most people. Born with a curious mind, she invented the first turn signal, a device attached to a motor vehicle's rear fender. Dubbed as the "auto signaling arm", when a driver pressed a button, an arm raised or lowered, with a sign attached indicating the direction of the intended turn. Following this, she developed a brake signal based on the same concept where an arm with a sign reading "STOP" was raised up whenever the driver stepped on the brake pedal. However, Ms. Lawrence's inventions were not patented, and others in the rapidly expanding auto industry developed their own versions.
In 1915, she was badly burned in a studio fire after an attempt to rescue someone from the flames. Although still only 29 years old, after her recovery, she never regained her stature as a leading film star. In 1908, she had married Harry Solter, the director of her first film at IMP Studios, but he died in 1920. The following year she married Charles Byrne Woodring, but he died in 1930, and in 1933 she married for the third time to Henry Bolton but this union lasted less than a year.
When Lawrence's mother died in 1929, she had an expensive bust sculpted for her mother's tomb. By then, in her mid-forties, demand for her in films had long since disappeared and the stock market crash and the ensuing Great Depression saw Ms. Lawrence's fortune decline. Alone, discouraged, and suffering with chronic pain from a rare bone marrow disease, she committed suicide in Beverly Hills, California.
Just nine years after she had paid for an expensive memorial for her mother, Florence Lawrence was interred in an unmarked grave not far from her mother in the Hollywood Forever Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood, California.
She remained forgotten until 1991, when an unnamed benefactor donated the funds for a proper memorial to be erected to her memory that reads: "The First Movie Star".
In 1999 a biography written by Kelly R. Brown was published under the title Florence Lawrence, the Biograph Girl: America's First Movie Star (ISBN 0786406275)
Mia Farrow was born Maria de Lourdes Villiers Farrow on February 9, 1945, in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of hard-living director John Farrow and the actress Maureen O'Sullivan, best known as "Jane" in the Tarzan films of the 1930's. Despite being one of the most notorious womanizers in Hollywood, John Farrow was a devout Catholic and the author of several critically acclaimed books on the Church.
Mia's childhood was interrupted by a bout with polio, from which she fully recovered. Her father died when she was a teenager, and she suddenly felt financially responsible for her large family. Her money problems were solved when she landed the role of heroine Alison MacKenzie on the primetime soap opera "Peyton Place," costarring with Ryan O'Neil. She moved on to film, and was cast by director Roman Polanski in "Rosemary's Baby," a horror film about a woman who gives birth to the child of Satan.
In the mid-Sixties, she met Frank Sinatra, who was thirty years her senior. Despite their age difference, they married in 1966, causing a scandal and becoming the butt of many jokes. Problems soon arose when Sinatra wanted Mia to give up her career and devote her life to travelling with him. Mia also had difficulty relating to his middle-aged, Las Vegas entourage. Like many people her age, she preferred marijuana to martinis. The marriage was over in a few years.
She met and fell in love with conductor Andre Previn while he was still married to his wife, Dory. Dory resisted divorce, and Mia gave birth to several of Previn's children before they were finally able to wed. They also adopted several children, most fatefully, a Korean orphan named Soon-Yi. The honeymoon didn't last long. Mia was bored living at Previn's country estate in England, and suspected him of infidelity when he traveled, which was almost constantly. They parted amicably in the late Seventies.
In 1982, Woody Allen cast Mia in his film, "A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy." The two fell in love, and began a very successful creative partnership. Allen tailored roles to fit Mia's ethereal beauty and quirky personality. She starred in "The Purple Rose of Cairo," the film many critics consider to be his masterpiece. Others, such as "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" were box office hits.
However, there were always problems in the Allen-Farrow relationship. Mia felt that Allen exploited her family for material, a charge that seems undeniable in the case of "Hannah and Her Sisters." Allen cast Mia's mother in the film, shot it in her apartment, and even used her children to play Hannah's children. The movie got raves from both critics and audiences, but the portrait was not flattering. O'Sullivan was caricatured as a washed-up show-biz floozy, and Mia was portrayed as an overbearing martyr.
In 1991, the situation exploded when Farrow found nude photographs of her teenage daughter, Soon-Yi, in Allen's apartment. She sent soon-Yi off to school, but, amazingly, continued to work with Allen on their latest film, "Husbands and Wives." Her hopes of a reconciliation were shattered when she found out that Allen and Soon-Yi were still in communication and planning a future together. In the huge scandal and legal battle that followed, Allen lost custody of two adopted children and the biological son he shared with Farrow. Allen and Soon-Yi married, and eventually adopted two daughters of their own.
Mia Farrow continues to work in film and television. She wrote a best-selling memoir, "What Falls Away." Mia devotes most of her time to her thirteen children, many of whom are physically handicapped. A fourteenth child, Tam, died at the age of 19 in 2000.
John Huston, Actor, Director 1906-1987
Was born John Marcellus Huston of Scottish and Irish heritage in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. The age-old story goes that the small town of his birth was won by John's grandfather in a poker game. John's father was the equally magnanimous character actor Walter Huston and his mother, Rhea Gore, was a newspaperwoman who traveled around the country looking for stories. The only child of the couple, John began performing on stage with his vaudevillian father at age 3. Upon his parents' divorce at age 7, the young boy would take turns traveling around the Vaudeville circuit with his father and the country with his mother on reporting excursions. A frail and sickly child, he was once placed in a sanitarium due to both an enlarged heart and kidney ailment. Making a miraculous recovery, he quit school at age 14 to become a full-fledged boxer and eventually won the Amateur Lightweight Boxing Championship of California, winning 22 of 25 bouts. His trademark broken nose was the result of that robust activity.
John married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Harvey, at age 18, and also took his He tried acting on and off Broadway plays. John soon grew restless with the confines of both his marriage and acting and abandoned both, taking a sojourn to Mexico where he became an officer in the cavalry and expert horseman while writing plays on the sly. Trying to control his wanderlust urges, he subsequently returned to America and attempted newspaper and magazine reporting work in New York by submitting short stories. He was even hired at one point by mogul Samuel Goldwyn as a screenwriter, but again he grew restless. During this time he also appeared unbilled in a few films. By 1932 John was on the move again and left for London and Paris where he studied painting and sketching. The promising artist became a homeless beggar during one harrowing point.
Returning again to America in 1933, he played the title role in a production of "Abraham Lincoln," only a few years after his father Walter portrayed the part on film for DW Griffin. John made a new resolve to hone in on his obvious writing skills and began collaborating on a few scripts for Warner Brothers. He also married again. Warner’s was so impressed with his talents that he was signed on as both screenwriter and director for the mystery yarn The Maltese Falcon. The movie classic made a superstar out of Humphrey Bogart and is considered by critics and audiences alike. During WWII John served as a Signal Corps lieutenant and went on to helm a number of film documentaries for the U.S. government. The end of WWII also saw the end of his second marriage. He married third wife Evelyn Keyes, of "Gone with the Wind" fame, in 1946 but it too lasted a relatively short time.
Hollywood glory came to him again in association with Bogart and Warner Brothers'. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) A classic tale of gold, greed and man's inhumanity to man set in Mexico, won John Oscars for both director and screenplay and his father nabbed the "Best Supporting Actor" trophy. With the momentum in his favor, John hung around in Hollywood this time to write and/or direct some of the finest American cinema made including Key Largo and The African Queen (both with Bogart),The Asphalt Jungle, The Red Badge of Courage and Moulin Rouge. Later films, including Moby Dick), The Unforgiven, The Misfits, Freud, The Night of the Iguana, and The Bible in the Beginning were, for the most part, well-regarded but certainly not close to the level of his earlier revered work. He also experimented behind-the-camera with color effects and approached topics that most others would not even broach, including homosexuality and psychoanalysis.
Disgusted by the Hollywood blacklisting that was killing the careers of many talented folk; he moved to St. Clerans in Ireland and became a citizen there along with his fourth wife, ballet dancer Enrica (Ricki) Soma. The couple had two children, including daughter Anjelica Huston. Huston and wife Ricki split after a son (director Danny Huston from his relationship with Zoe Sallis was born in 1962. They did not divorce, however, and remained estranged until her sudden death in 1969 in a car accident. John subsequently adopted his late wife's child from another union. The ever-impulsive Huston would move yet again to Mexico where he married (1972) and divorced (1977) his fifth and final wife, Celeste Shane.
Huston lived the macho outdoors life without restrictions, and is often compared in style or flamboyancy to an Ernest Hemmingway. He was, in fact, the source of inspiration for Clint Eastwood in the helming of the film White Hunter Black Heart which chronicled the making of "The African Queen." Illness robbed Huston of a good portion of his twilight years with chronic emphysema the main culprit. As always, however, he continued to work tirelessly while hooked up to an oxygen machine if need be. At the end, the living legend was shooting an acting cameo in the film Mr. North for his son Danny, making his directorial bow at the time. John became seriously ill with pneumonia and died while on location at the age of 81 in 1987.
A gorgeous, pneumatic blonde rival to pouty sex kitten Ann-Margret, singer/dancer/actress Joey Heatherton was a product of the swinging 60s and taunted the film and TV variety scenes with her own version of a purring young sexpot. Born in 1944 as Davenie Johanna Heatherton and the daughter of veteran song-and-dance man Ray Heatherton (1909-1997), Joey trained in ballet as a youngster and started her career off as a teen performer on the New York stage as one of the children in "The Sound of Music." She also began recording about that same time. She went on to gain national exposure as a regular on Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall portraying an innocent young coed who developed a crush on the star. The gimmick worked and Joey eventually parlayed this success into an acting career.
The payoff worked. She started to appear in such TV dramas as "The Virginian," "The Nurses" and "Route 66." For a time she showed extreme promise playing troubled, vulnerable, often neurotic young girls opposite cinema's established or up-and-coming talent of the day, including the films Twilight of Honor with Richard Chamberlain and Nick Adams, Where Love Has Gone starring Bette Davis and Susan Hayward, and My Blood Runs Cold opposite Troy Donahue. The promise was short-lived, however, but since music was deemed her forte anyway, Joey wisely refocused on her musical gifts and went on to project a mod, sulky Lolita image fully decked out in mini-skirts and go-go boots. A much better singer than Ann-Margret and an equally good dancer, she appealed to the male masses in droves with her high-octane dance moves and saucy glances as huge selling points. By the late 60s the talented, all-round entertainer had developed into a solid Vegas showroom and TV variety favorite. On the plus side as well, she had soldiers swooning on both land and sea as she toured with Bob Hope on his USO tours. She proved quite fetching in the TV movie The Ballad of Andy Crocker with Lee Majors, and was part of the eclectic casting in _Of Mice and Men (1970) (TV)_ that toplined George Segal and Nicol Williamson. On top of all this, she was seductively pitching RC Cola and Serta mattresses in TV ads on a regular basis.
Joey's problems began in 1971 stemming with a major tabloid-troubled marriage and divorce. The 70s also saw a radical change in audience taste as witnessed by her diminishing popularity. Despite showing extreme potential as a Billboard chart maker with a "Top 40" pop hit in the Ferlin Husky song "Gone" in 1972, Hollywood made it nearly impossible for her to escape the blast from the past image, finding herself more and more unemployable as the decade wore on. She did enjoy a fun, short-lived fling on a summer variety series that co-starred her beloved dad (Joey & Dad).
Unfortunately, Joey encountered other problems in the throes of her career decline with a life-threatening substance addiction and eating disorder which deeply hindered any game attempts to climb back into favor. She was crassly featured in the critically-panned Richard Burton starrer Bluebeard; portrayed Xaviera Hollander in the lurid The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington to little fanfare; and then pretty much disappeared, except as eccentric tabloid fodder or popping up unexpectedly in the cult John Waters film Cry-Baby or the April 1997 Playboy spread.
On her side, however, she is a survivor and Hollywood has always encouraged big comeback stories. If anybody has ever proven to be a certifiable talent deserving of such, it's Joey Heatherton. She remains, however, a prime example of how devastating and destructive a fickle entertainment business can be.
I am thoroughly enjoying this, but I guess we better chill with all of our gushing. We don't want to, um, offend anyone, now do we? LOL
You know I was waiting for someone to say the same thing. But, it's odd to me that it would offend anyone. I guess I say I am loving it because I really do enjoy research and posting all of these stories. I love it when people say that they enjoy reading our posts. I have spent so much time researching that I have let my work suffer, but, I digress.
Can't we all just get along. Now back to the regularly scheduled program.
Last edited by angelbaby; 04-22-2010 at 10:55 PM..
Helen Chandler was born in Charleston, South Carolina on February 1, 1906. By the late 1920s she had become a hugely popular actress on the New York stage. That Hollywood should beckon was inevitable, but unfortunately whatever quality made Chandler a success on the stage did not survive the transition to film. Chandler is probably best remembered by movie fans as the fragile Mina, pursued and nearly vampirized by Bela Lugosi in the original "Dracula" (1931). In 1937 Chandler left Hollywood to return to the stage, but a dependency on alcohol and sleeping pills haunted her subsequent career, and in 1940 she was committed to a sanitarium. Ten years later she was disfigured in a fire, apparenty caused by smoking in bed. Helen Chandler died (following surgery for a bleeding ulcer) on April 30, 1965. Her body was cremated, and as no relative ever came forward to claim the remains, her ashes now repose in the vaultage section (off limits to visitors) of the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Peter W. Many, Jr.
Bramwell Fletcher (14 February 1935 - 1940) (divorced)
Cyril Hume (3 February 1930 - 1934) (divorced)
Walter Piascik (? - 30 April 1965) (her death)
The amazing and dynamic person who was John Gilbert was born John Cecil Pringle in Logan, Utah, on July 10th, 1897, into a dysfunctional, itinerant show business family. His mother was a stage actress and his father a comic with the Pringle stock company. John's early life was hard; he was often separated from his mother and sent to live with relatives, but his personal trials made him strong and ambitious for success. Young John (or Jack as he was more often called) dreamed of becoming a movie star from an early age. By 1915 he was in Hollywood, playing bit parts for film producer Thomas Ince, and by 1917 he was becoming noticed by the industry and considered more often for lead roles, such as a romantic one opposite Mary Pickford in her film vehicle "Heart of The Hills" (1919). In addition to acting before the camera, John also enjoyed writing screenplays for films. By the early 1920's he was playing dashing young heroes in films such as "Monte Cristo" (1922), and by the time John won a contract with M-G-M he was an outright Star, playing a wide variety of roles.
Gilbert starred in the financially successful silent film hits "The Merry Widow" (1925), and King Vidor's World War One classic "The Big Parade." (1925). This last movie in particular made a fortune at the box office. Over the years John appeared in films with the top leading ladies of the silent screen era, including Renee Adoree, Billie Dove, Barbara La Marr, Mae Murray, Lillian Gish and Norma Shearer. His reputation as a ladies' man was established through the romantic films he made with Greta Garbo. Rumors of a romantic relationship between them sent the audience attendance and the profits of their films together skyrocketing.
John Gilbert was married and divorced four times, the last three times to actresses: Leatrice Joy, Ina Claire, and Virginia Bruce. He had a daughter with Leatrice Joy, also named Leatrice, and a daughter with Virginia Bruce named Susan.
Unfortunately for John Gilbert's long term career in pictures, he managed to inspire the animosity of M-G-M head Louis B. Mayer. When sound came in John was placed in films that were often not up to his talents. An exception was the pre-code drama "Downstairs" (1934), in which he played a manipulative scoundrel with flair and relish, impressing the critics.
Hollywood lore says that Jack's voice was the reason for his "fall from grace" upon the advent of sound films, but in reality his voice was distinctive and pleasant, perhaps slightly nasal, but certainly not feminine or high-pitched. It was more likely that the revenge of Louis B. Mayer, combined with the overall poor writing of the scripts he was offered during that transitional time in Hollywood, conspired to hurt John's career. John Gilbert died suddenly, at age 38, of a heart attack, on January 9th, 1936. He had been so full of energy that his candle simply was destined to flicker out far too soon.
Al Jolson (1886-1950)
Al Jolson was a master entertainer and his performing career spanned 50 years. Jolson made a break in his career by deciding one evening to perform in "black face" at a San Francisco club; this soon became his trademark in show business.
Al Jolson was a staunch Civil Rights activist and helped open opportunities for African-Americans on Broadway. For more interesting reading, see also: article on the history of Minstrel Shows and Old Time Radio.