Marvel Rea ~ The Tragic Bathing Beauty

Marvel Rea

Marvel Rea was born Marvel Luciel Rea on November 9, 1901, in Ainsworth, Nebraska. When she was a child her family lived in Seattle and eventually moved in California. She grew into a beautiful teenager with a petite figure and champagne blonde hair. Marvel was very athletic and loved to swim and surf. In 1918 she married a banker named Henry Page Wells. Unfortunately he was a drug addict and she left him a month later. When she filed for divorce she claimed he "stood on her head". Movie producer Mack Sennett discovered Marvel and she became one of his bathing beauties. Before long she was given small roles in movies like Her Screen Idol and The Summer Girls. She became known as "the girl with the most beautiful figure on the Motion Picture stage".

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Although she would appear in more than thirty films Marvel never became a major star. She decided to stop acting in 1921. Her final role was in the short film For Land's Sake. Marvel married her second husband Edwin J. Wilkinson in 1936 but her happiness was short-lived. On September 2, 1936 she was kidnapped and sexially assaulted by three men. She was choked, cut, and left semi-conscious in the street. The men were caught and Marvel had to testify at the headline-making trial. Sadly she never fully recovered from the attack and fell into a deep depression. She committed suicide on June 17, 1937 by ingesting ant poison. Marvel was only thirty-five years old. She is buried at Pacific Crest Cemetery in Redondo Beach, California.

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Marvel Rea