Thursday, May 18, 2017

Elsie Tarron (Bathing Beauty)


Elsie Tarron was born Elsie Maud Hamilton on September 30, 1903, in London, England. She was a beautiful teenager who loved to dance and dreamed of becoming an actress. Eventually she moved to Hollywood and started entering beauty contests. When she was nineteen Elsie was chosen to be one of Mack Sennett's bathing beauties. She posed for countless cheesecake photos along with other starlets including Thelma Hill and Cecille Evans. The girls became close friends and formed a club called "The Little Dippers". Elsie was chosen to be their President. In 1923 she began working as an extra in Mack Sennett's comedies. Over the next two years she appeared in more than a dozen short films. She even appeared on the cover of The National Police Gazette twice. Her parts gradually started getting bigger and she was given featured roles in The Lost Soul and High And Dizzy. She signed a contract with F.B.O. studios and starred in the 1927 western Cyclone On The Range. Unfortunately her success didn't last long and by 1929 she was back to playing bit parts.


 In her last movie, A Close Shave, she appeared briefly as a massage customer. She decided to retire and married actor Andy Clyde on September 23, 1932. They had worked together in many films including The Lion's Whiskers and A Taxi Scandal. The couple bought a large mansion nicknamed "Clyde Manor" where they grew their own strawberries. Elsie enjoyed being a housewife and spent a lot of time playing golf with her husband. In 1935 they had a son named John Allan Clyde. Tragically John died when he was just nine years old. Elsie and Andy remained together until his death on May 18, 1967. A few months later she married 73 year old actor George "Sloppy" Gray. She had worked with him at the Sennett studios and he had been one of her husbands closest friends. Sadly George passed away just four weeks after their wedding. Elsie continued to live quietly in Los Angeles where she shared an apartment with Ruth Hiatt, another Sennett bathing beauty. She passed away from natural causes on October 24, 1990 at the age of eighty-seven.


Elsie with Thelma Hill                                                                                          

Phyllis Haver (Silent Actress)


"In Hollywood we live like small-town folks. Early to bed early to rise and you make all the best pictures." ~ Phyllis

Phyllis Haver was born Phyllis O'Haver on January 6, 1899, in Douglas, Kansas. When she was a child her family moved to California. Young Phyllis got a job playing piano at a local movie theater. Producer Mack Sennett saw her and she was hired to be one of his bathing beauties. Between 1916 and 1920 Phyllis appeared in more than thirty-five short films. With her curvy figure and blonde hair she quickly became one of the most popular bathing beauties. Eventually she left Mack Sennett's compact and signed a contract with Cecil B. Demille. Phyllis costarred with Olive Borden in Fig Leaves and with Victor McLaglen in What Price Glory. She also won rave reviews for her performance as Roxie Hart in the 1927 film Chicago. In 1929 Phyllis married millionaire William Seeman.


Although she was at the peak of her career she decided to retire from acting. She and William moved into an eleven room penthouse in New York City. Phyllis said she loved being a wife and never wanted to return to Hollywood. Sadly after sixteen years of marriage she and William divorced. The couple had no children. As she grew older Phyllis became more reclusive. She lived in a large house in Connecticut and rarely had visitors. Her only companion was her longtime housekeeper. She reportedly made several suicide attempts and was devastated when her former boss Mack Sennett died. On November 19, 1960 sixty-one year old Phyllis took her own life with an overdose of barbiturates. She was found in her bed fully dressed and wearing make-up. Phyllis was buried at Grassy Hills cemetery in Falls Village, Connecticut.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Beth Darlington (1920s Starlet)


Beth Darlington was born Helen Hixson on March 19, 1904 in Kansas City, Missouri. After her parents separated Beth moved to Los Angeles with her mother. At the age of sixteen she started working at Mermaid Comedies. Beth made her film debut in The Lamplighters with Shirley Mason. In August of 1921 she won first prize in the annual Venice bathing suit parade. She was put under contract at Hal Roach's studio in 1923. Beth was Charley Chase's leading lady in many comedy shorts including Don't Forget and The Fraidy Cat. She was called one of the most beautiful girls in Hollywood. Beth was just over five feet tall, weighed 117 pounds, and had natural blonde hair.


Although she appeared in more than thirty films Beth never became a major star. Her last role was in the 1925 comedy Captain Suds. After she stopped making movies Beth stayed out of the spotlight. She eventually got married and started a new life as a housewife. Beth and her husband bought a home in Burbank. She stopped using her stage name and was now known as "Mrs. Helen Clarke". On January 6, 1951 she was traveling in Val Verde, Texas when she died suddenly from a coronary occlusion. She was only forty-six years old.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Thelma Parr (Bathing Beauty)


Thelma Parr was born Betty Selby on October 10, 1906 in Grant's Pass, Oregon. Her parents were Glenn Oswald Sill and Leonora L. Paine. Thelma claimed to be a descendant of Thomas Paine, one of the founding fathers of the United States. When she was fourteen Thelma moved to California with her parents. Soon after the pretty brunette was discovered by producer Mack Sennett and became one of his bathing beauties. Thelma married banjo player William E. Goman in 1925. That same year she made her film debut in the comedy short Her Marriage Vow. Over the next three years she appeared in more than thirty short films. She starred opposite Ralph Graves in several movies including Hooked At The Alter and The Funny Mooners. Thelma was gifted comedic actress and was considered one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood.


Thelma Parr was born Betty Selby on October 10, 1906 in Grant's Pass, Oregon. Her parents were Glenn Oswald Sill and Leonora L. Paine. Thelma claimed to be a descendant of Thomas Paine, one of the founding fathers of the United States. When she was fourteen Thelma moved to California with her parents. Soon after the pretty brunette was discovered by producer Mack Sennett and became one of his bathing beauties. Thelma married banjo player William E. Goman in 1925. That same year she made her film debut in the comedy short Her Marriage Vow. Over the next three years she appeared in more than thirty short films. She starred opposite Ralph Graves in several movies including Hooked At The Alter and The Funny Mooners. Thelma was gifted comedic actress and was considered one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood.


Myrna Loy


"Life, is not a having and getting, but a being and becoming." ~ Myrna

Myrna Loy was born Myrna Adele Williams on August 2, 1905, in Helena, Montana. Her father died when she was thirteen and her family moved to California. She began her career working as an extra in films like Ben-Hur and The Jazz Singer. Myrna was usually cast as a femme fatale due to her exotic looks. In 1930 she was offered a contract with MGM. When she teamed up with William Powell to make The Thin Man her image was changed to the ideal wife. Myrna and William became one of Hollywood's most popular screen teams and made more than a dozen movies together including Libeled Lady and The Great Ziegfeld. In 1936 she married producer Arthur Hornblow Jr. and was voted the "Queen Of Hollywood" in a nationwide poll. Myrna wanted to be a mother but a botched abortion left her unable to have children. She divorced Arthur and married John Hertz Jr. of the Hertz Rent A Car family in 1942. They divorced two years later.


Her success continued with starring roles The Best Years Of Our Lives, Cheaper By The Dozen, and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Myrna's third marriage, to screenwriter Gene Marky, lasted four years. She married Howland H. Sergeant, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, in 1951 but this marriage didn't last either. Myrna continued to appear in movies and starred on Broadway in the play The Women. At the age of seventy she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo a mastectomy. After retiring from acting she published her autobiography Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming. Although Myrna was never nominated for an Oscar in 1991 she was given an honorary Academy Award for her career achievement. She died on December 14, 1993 from complications during surgery. Myrna is buried at Forestvale Cemetery in Helena, Montana.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Regina Doyle (1920s Starlet)


Regina Alice Doyle was born on September 2, 1907 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, John Doyle, was a fireman. Regina was educated at the Grenshaw Conservatory. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she seventeen. Regina was discovered by Carl Laemmle president of Universal Pictures while attending a performance in the Gold Room of the Congress Hotel in Chicago. After the performance, Miss Doyle was presented to Mr Laemmle, the maker of screen stars was struck by the youthful beauty "Have you ever thought of going into movies, Well if you ever do let me know, I will see that you get your chance". On July 2, 1925 Regina married thirty-one year old Stewart Gilbert Cornelius. They had one child together and divorced in 1927.


By this time Regina was pursing an acting career. She appeared in several western shorts including The Lone Prairie and The Scrapping Ranger. In 1929 she was given the lead in opposite Edmund Cobb in Beyond The Smoke. They would make three more films together. Regina seemed destined for stardom, On September 29, 1931 Regina crashed her car into a freight train on Highland Avenue in Hollywood. She was thrown from the car and died almost instantly. Regina was only twenty-four years old. She is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles. Just a few days before Regina's death her mother had a premonition something terrible was going to happen. She warned her daughter to "Drive slowly".

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Betty Compson (Silent Actress)


"They say I love money. I do, though it was pretty cold comfort, a pretty poor substitute, for all I'd lost." ~ Betty

Betty Compson was born Eleanor Luicime Compson on March 19, 1897, in Beaver, Utah. After her father's death she dropped out of school to help her family. She began her show business career as a violinist and toured with her mother in vaudeville. Betty was offered a contract with Al Christie in 1915. Over the next five years she appeared in more than forty short films. Her career really took off when she costarred with Lon Chaney in the 1919 drama The Miracle Man. She was called "The Prettiest Girl in Pictures" and became one of highest paid actresses in Hollywood. Betty was also one of the first women to run her own production company. In 1921 she starred in and produced the movie Prisoners Of Love. She married actor James Cruz in 1925 but they had a rocky relationship and separated several times. Unlike some other silent stars Betty was able to make the transition to talkies.


She was nominated for an Academy award in 1928 for her performance in The Barker. Betty finally ended her marriage to James in 1930 and she was left nearly bankrupt by their divorce. She was forced to sell her home and many of her possessions. Betty continued to make several movies a year and even started her own cosmetics line. She auditioned for the role of Belle in Gone With The Wind but did not get the part. Her second marriage, to producer Irving Weinberg, lasted just four years. At their divorce trial she testified that he left her home alone while he went out with other women. In 1944 she married professional boxer Silvius John Gall and decided to retire from Hollywood. Her final film was the comedy Here Comes Trouble. Betty and her husband went into business together and were happily married until his death in 1962. Betty died from a heart attack on April 18, 1974. She is buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.