Helen Burgess (1930s Starlet)


"I know death. I have spent many uncomfortable hours in the past few weeks thinking of death." ~ Helen

Helen Margarite Burgess was born on April 26, 1916 in Portland, Oregon. When she was a child her family moved to Seattle, Washington. In 1926 they relocated to Los Angeles, California where Helen attended Hollywood High School. Sadly her father passed away when she was eighteen. Helen wanted to become an actress so she enrolled in Clark's Los Angeles Dramatic School. She made her stage debut at age nineteen and was discovered by a talent agent. He helped Helen get an audition with producer Cecil B. DeMille. Helen was given a supporting role in the Western The Plainsman. Her performance got positive reviews and reporters predicted she would become a major star.


Cecil B. Demille said she was "the finest natural actress I have ever seen". Next Helen starred in the drama A Doctor's Diary and appeared in the low-budget film King Of Gamblers. On January 27, 1937 she eloped with Herbert Rutherford, a piano instructor. They separated soon after and the marriage was annulled. Helen claimed that he had only married her to "spite" another woman. While working on the film Night Of Mystery Helen became ill and was hospitalized with lobular pneumonia. She died on April 7, 1937 at the young age of twenty. Helen was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.