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Miriam Hopkins biography to be published by University Press of Kentucky

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Sep 25th, 2016
2016
Sep 25

 MIRIAM HOPKINS

Miriam Hopkins biography to be published by University Press of Kentucky

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Miriam Hopkins

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 By Allan R. Ellenberger

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After tens years of research, interviews and writing, on Friday, I was notified that my biography of actress Miriam Hopkins will be published by the University Press of Kentucky as part of their Screen Classics series. The people of UPK have been great and I look forward to working with them.

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Miriam Hopkins (1902-1972), a top star during Hollywood’s Golden Age, was a complex, independent-minded woman decades ahead of her time. A hard-working (and highly demanding) professional, Hopkins was also a sexually daring, self-educated intellectual, who happened to be a firm believer in liberal causes.

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She had a reputation as one of the screen’s most difficult and temperamental actresses. A close friend, Tennessee Williams, worked with Hopkins and after an initially difficult period, he accepted her extremes. He once described her extremes as “morning mail and morning coffee,” and at other times she was like “hat-pin jabbed in your stomach. The quintessence of the female, a really magnificent bitch.”

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Hopkins was exceptionally smart; one who never let anyone find out how smart she was until it was too late. After many years of research, I was amazed at her intellect and temperament, which would erupt unexpectedly and disappear as quickly. Sometimes her demanding mother would trigger it, but in most cases, she was fighting for her career—or so she thought.

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Throughout the 1930’s, the freewheeling Hopkins was a unique case, remaining a top Hollywood star at no less than four studios: Paramount, RKO, Goldwyn and Warner Bros. And no matter where she worked, in her quest for better opportunities, Hopkins fearlessly tackled the studios’ powers-that-be, from the venerated Samuel Goldwyn to the irascible Jack Warner.

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Hopkins’ biography offers numerous stories—some humorous, some ugly—about her countless battles with co-workers on the set of her plays and films. Whatever drove her—be it ambition, insecurity, or something altogether different, she created conflict with her fellow actors. She was either loved or hated; there was rarely anything in-between. And to say that Hopkins was “difficult and temperamental” would be an understatement. She was Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway and Jane Fonda rolled into one.

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Having said that, whenever she trusted the work of her director and co-stars, she was an ideal team player, but if she did not, life for them was not worth living. If rewriting screenplays, directing her fellow actors and her directors, fighting with producers and the studio’s front office was necessary, so be it.

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But in Hopkins’ mind, she was never temperamental. “Proof of that is that I made four pictures with Willie Wyler, who is a very demanding director,” she once said. “I made two with Rouben Mamoulian, who is the same. Three with Ernst Lubitsch, such a dear man. When you are asked to work again with such directors, you cannot be temperamental.”

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In 1940, she made theater history by starring in Tennessee Williams’ first produced play, Battle of Angels. In the beginning, there were problems, but they soon came to terms. “Difficult? I guess so,” Williams reasoned. “But not with me. She was every Southern divinity you could imagine. Smart and funny and elegant, and I kept looking for her in Joanne [Woodward], and Carrie Nye and Diane Ladd, but there was no one like her. No one. I will hear nothing bad of Miriam Hopkins.”

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Ironically, I started working on Miriam Hopkins’ life story because of Bette Davis, who was a favorite. I enjoyed watching Hopkins clash with the indomitable Warner Bros. star in their two films together: The Old Maid and Old Acquaintance. There are stories about their dynamic real-life feud, and years later, the image of a post-stroke Davis ranting on television on how demanding her former co-star could be. For her part, Hopkins denied the bad blood between them. That intrigued me. She would say, “Yes, I know the legend is that Bette Davis and I were supposed to have had a feud. Utter rubbish. Bette and I got along fine. I’d love to make another picture with her.” Even more rubbish!

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I began watching Hopkins’ other films: the ones in which she collaborated with directors, Ernst Lubitsch, Rouben Mamoulian, and William Wyler, in addition to her lesser-known Paramount fare. It was then that I discovered Miriam Hopkins in command of her sexuality. Whether as a dance-hall prostitute in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), a participant in a ménage a trois in Design for Living (1933), or a rape victim in the scandalous The Story of Temple Drake (1933), she proved that sex was more than a three-letter word: at times, it could be raw and terrifying; at others, it could be sensual, sophisticated fun.

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In 1932, columnist Cal York chose Miriam Hopkins as the “best bet for stardom,” ranking her above Joan Blondell, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Sylvia Sidney and Helen Hayes. York wasn’t off the mark. Still, Hopkins temperament would hinder her rise to “stardom.” My biography on the actress examines her career decline and her several attempts at a comeback.

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In 1935, she made motion picture history by starring in the title role of the first all-Technicolor feature film, Becky Sharp, based on Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. For her performance, she received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination (she lost to—who else?—her future archrival Bette Davis).

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Chronicled will be Hopkins’ remarkable film career along with the importance of her lasting legacy on the Broadway stage. Regrettably, her widely acclaimed live performances survive only in the recollections of those who witnessed them. Thus, what remain of Hopkins’ art are her films.

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Eventually, Hopkins appeared in 36 films, 40 stage plays, guest appearances in the early days of television, and on countless radio shows. In these media, she worked with Carole Lombard, Gary Cooper, Jane Fonda, Edgar Bergen, Bing Crosby, William Powell, Sally Field, Henry Fonda, Loretta Young, Orson Welles, Olivia de Havilland, Peter Lorre, Merle Oberon, Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland, Elizabeth Montgomery, Coleen Dewhurst, Robert Redford and dozens more.

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Her friendships were as celebrated as well, but instead of actors, Hopkins hung around with writers and intellectuals such as writers Theodore Dreiser, Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein, and, of course, Tennessee Williams.

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In her love life, she was independent-minded and just as discriminating. She would have four husbands and dozens of lovers; most were writers including Bennett Cerf, William Saroyan, and John Gunther. Hopkins, once again ahead of her time, was a single mother. In 1932, she adopted a baby boy, being one of the first Hollywood stars to do so and starting a trend for such adoptions.

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She was an avid reader, sometimes a writer herself, a lover of poetry, and a patron of the arts. Over the years, her political beliefs vacillated from the far right to the far left. She held positions in political organizations that had the FBI tracking her actions for almost four decades, marking her as a perceived “communist sympathizer.”

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She was one of Hollywood’s brainiest women—yet, she was absurdly superstitious. A believer in the occult, she would not accept film or stage roles, move to a new home, or take long trips without consulting a psychic.

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Despite all her eccentricities, Hopkins proved that she was an accomplished performer who happened to have her own set of rules and her own personal demons. Although she was aware of being a part of film history—how could Margaret Mitchell’s personal choice to play Scarlet O’Hara not have been—she was not sentimental about her existence or her career. She kept no scrapbooks, clippings, or photographs. It was irrelevant to document or discuss her past.

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But no matter. This first-ever Hopkins biography will provide the real, complex, and at times a contradictory portrait of a woman who had her faults, and idiosyncrasies, but who was a major (and fearless) professional achiever—one who could be generous, gracious, and selfless.

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Once you read about the ambiguous, fascinatingly larger than life character that was Miriam Hopkins, you may agree with Tennessee Williams that she truly was a “magnificent bitch.”

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75 years ago today in Hollywood

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 1st, 2011
2011
Apr 1

HOLLYWOOD 75 YEARS AGO TODAY

Around and About in Hollywood

 

 

 

By Read Kendall
Los Angeles Times
April 1, 1936

 

That Frances Drake-Howard Hughes romance seems to be getting to the serious stage.

 

The Texas millionaire appears to be smitten by the little brunette screen actress. Hughes is now in New York waiting for favorable weather to try for another transcontinental air record and even though they are separated by some 3,000 miles, Miss Drake isn’t forgotten.

 

Hughes calls her every night on the telephone and talks for half an hour. In addition he sends plenty of telegrams.

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Hollywood is going to have another set of twins if a predicition made yesterday by a doctor proves correct.

 

Within a short time the stork is scheduled to pay a visit to Alan Dinehart and Mozelle Brittone and her physician says it will be twins. Twins were born to the Bing Crosbys and the Richard Dixes.

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It begins to look like the Lyle Talbot-Thelma White romance will result in an engagement.

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A hobby started twenty years ago proved to be worth lots of money to Douglass Dumbrille. Yesterday he was rummaging through some things at his home when he came across a collection of Canadian and British Dominion stamps which he started as a child.

 

A prominent philatelist appraised the collection and said it was worth $4,000.

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Now that she has completed her last R-K-O picture, The Witness Chair, Ann Harding is closing her business affairs to go to England to make a picture. She will take her daughter Jane with her. The will be absent for several months.

 

WRITERS KEEP HUGE FAMILY

Seventeen orphan kiddies whose ages range from three months to seventeen years, have been “adopted” by a group of writers from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The children live in the San Fernando Valley and recently lost their mother and father.

 

The writers who are watching out for the welfare of the brood are, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allen Woolf, Albert Hackett, Gladys Hurlburt and Maxine Watkins.

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Something of Warren William’s past bobbed up yesterday when Miss A. M. McMullin, his high school teacher from Minnesota, visited him at the Warner studio. Miss McMullin said that William was a brilliant scholar and always took a leading part in the school plays.

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Jean Harlow isn’t sorry that she changed her hair from platinum blond to light brown. This summer she will be able to wear colors and her wardrobe will contain a number of gowns of red, her favorite hue.

 

Yesterday Miss Harlow started out on a shopping tour for her summer garments, favoring pastel shades. Heretofore she has always worn white on account of her platinum tresses.

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Ross Alexander is the latest member of the film colony to join the back-to-the-soil movement. He is moving from his Hollywood home to a ten-acre ranch in the San Fernando Valley near Encino, taking with him his goats, dogs, ducks, chickens and other pets.

 

In Encino he will have such celebrated neighbors as Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler, Leslie Fenton and Ann Dvorak, Edward Everett Horton, Barbara MacLane, Louise Fazenda and others.

 

ODD AND INTERESTING HOLLYWOOD GOSSIP

Heather Angel’s mother is visiting from England… Virginia Bruce is learning to play the organ… Walter Abel lost his good luck penny on the set at M-G-M and a few minutes later he stumbled over a light cable and sprained an ankle… Errol Flynn and Lily Damita dining at Sardi’sMadge Evans left with her mother to see the New York shows… Carole Lombard dining alone at the Brown DerbyBruce Cabot is taking a group of friends on a deep sea fishing expedition… William Boyd and Dorothy Sebastian are moving into their beach home at Malibu for the summer… Marlene Dietrich and Willis Goldbeck at the Troc… Ben Bard is opening his new playhouse on April 21… Cy Bartlett and Nancy Carroll dined at Levy’s Tavern and then went out to the CasanovaGuinn (Big Boy) Williams received a scrapbook from a fan containing clipping dating back to his first appearance on the screen with Will Rogers in 1921… Claire Trevor is visiting Hoover DamRandy Scott, Roscoe Karns, Frank Forest and Benny Baker take daily workouts in the Paramount gymnasium, a barn-like building in which Cecil B. De Mille made his first picture, The Squaw Man.

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Courthouse Wall of Fame

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jan 10th, 2011
2011
Jan 10

FILM HISTORY

Wall of Fame recalled Star’s visits to courthouse press room

 

 

Above is the County Courthouse that was located at Temple and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles where the Wall of Fame resided in the press room. Notice the low granite wall at the bottom of the photo. Remarkably, portions of this wall still remain. (lapl)

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

The Civic Center in downtown Los Angeles is where several courthouses mete out their justice, sometimes to Hollywood celebrities. Before many of the building that now stands there were erected, there stood an old brownstone Courthouse located at Temple Street and Broadway. It stood for forty-five years until it was razed after being damaged in the Long Beach earthquake of March 1933.

 

When it was finally demolished in 1934, it took with it the old press room and its unique Wall of Fame and the signatures of stars, who for this or that reason had been in court, or the marriage license bureau. Scrawled in either pencil or crayon, one could find the names of Charlie Chaplin, Tom Mix, George Bancroft, Harry Langdon, Eugene O’Brien, Doris Kenyon, Ethel Clayton, Constance and Natalie Talmadge, Pauline Starke, Jean Harlow and Bebe Daniels. There were a lot more and each one had its own story.

 

Of course, not all the screen stars who appeared in court, inscribed their names on the Wall of Fame. Some, the reporters failed to corral; others could not be lured to the press room. There were some who flatly refused. Among the latter was William Powell, who had come with Carole Lombard, for a marriage license. Powell, when confronted by the wall, glared reproachfully at the reporters and demanded: “Gentlemen, isn’t anything sacred?” The reporters thought he was kidding until he turned and stalked out of the press room fairly oozing indignation.

 

 

 

 

Jack Hoxie was first to sign the wall and his signature was the largest. Oddly enough, Tom Mix’s name was one of the smallest and Charlie Chaplin’s was the hardest to read.  

 

And what did they appear for? Harry Langdon, asserting he had but $40 with which to pay $60,000 his divorced wife sought as property settlement. The case was dismissed and Harry was smiling when he signed the wall. Divorce also steered the Talmadge sisters into the press room. Natalie Talmadge was fighting Buster Keaton over custody of their children. Constance was a witness. The prolonged contests between Charlie Chaplin and Lita Grey Chaplin, also concerning the care of their children is well known. When the reporters tried to lure Lita to the press room she balked, saying she always wanted to know what she was expected to do before she went places with strangers.

 

Besides the signature of James Quirk of Photoplay magazine, was pasted the headline announcing his death. His wife, May Allison, also signed. Reporters tried to get Paul Bern to sign the wall when he and Jean Harlow applied for their marriage license, but both refused to visit the press room because they were “radiantly happy and in a terrible hurry.” A few months later, dressed in widow’s attire, Jean returned to probate Paul Bern’s will. This time she signed the wall.

 

Doris Kenyon, widow of Milton Sills, was considered by a majority of the court reporters, as the grandest girl to affix her signature to the Wall of Fame. They designated Polly Moran as “the hard egg with the soft heart.” Polly crashed the press room the day she appeared to legally adopt a 16-year-old boy she had taken from an orphanage when he was only a few months old.

 

One of the funniest incidents connected with signing the wall centered on Richard Barthelmess who was suing to recover securities alleged to have been misappropriated. His wife was with him and they consented to have a picture taken together. She sat in a chair and Barthelmess stood beside her. The photographer snapped his picture and after the couple had gone, remarked to the reporters: “I think I got a good picture of that dame but I had an awful job keeping that rube out of it, he was standing so close.” The reporters, on informing him that the “rube” was Richard Barthelmess, used language which allegedly made even the signatures on the wall blush.

 

 

Richard Barthelmess, his wife and family

 

 

The names of Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels graced the wall as the result of the trial of Bebe’s lunatic lover.” Edna Murphy signed when she got her divorce from director Mervyn LeRoy. Gertrude Olmstead was a witness at the trial and also signed. The reporters recalled, however, that Gertrude was rather embarrassed by the ordeal of clambering on the table in order to write her name.

 

George Bancroft divided honors with Jack Hoxie as the most massive man to have perpetuated his signature. He appeared in court to contest an agent’s claim for $30,000 of commissions. Hoxie had been up on alimony charges.

 

Several of the signatures recalled the tragic death of Alma Rubens. They were obtained during the libel suit brought against Photoplay and James Quirk by Ruben’s mother, and included Eileen Percy’s and Claire Windsor’s. ZaSu Pitts was another witness, but would not sign. The reporters declared her to be the most “publicity shy” screen star they encountered. She also eluded the news-hounds when she divorced her husband, Tom Gallery. The Courthouse scribes were not certain which cases brought Tom Mix, Edwin Carewe and Mae Murray to the Wall of Fame, as their court appearances was so numerous. Legal battles over the Mix children and property disputes made Mix a familiar figure and both Mae Murray and Carewe were central figures in countless suits over property, contracts and other things. Pauline Starke’s court appearance was mainly due to the protracted battle with her former husband, Jack White.

 

The reporters captured director Robert Vignola and Eugene O’Brien when they appeared in court as character witnesses for a young man who had gotten into trouble and Stanley Fields immortalized himself by apprehending a burglar in his apartment.

 

 

Above a rare image of the Wall of Fame located in the County Courthouse press room 

 

 

Most of the females who signed the wall were space conservers. That is except Constance Cummings and Vivian Duncan, whose names stand out like sore thumbs. Cummings had just won a contract suit, while the half of the famous Duncan sisters won a divorce from Nils Asther on the ground of too much mother-in-law. Another signer brought to the wall by the divorce route was Lola Lane when she parted company with Lew Ayres.

 

Duncan Renaldo was the only signer of the Wall of Fame who had gone to jail, though this happened later than when he actually signed the wall. His name was obtained when he was the central figure in the alienation case against Edwina Booth, which came as the aftermath to a “location” trip to Africa.

 

Snub Pollard also appeared on the wall as did that of Lowell Sherman, whose matrimonial adventures with Pauline Garon and later with Helene Costello brought him into the press room.

 

When the fate of the old courthouse was sealed, the reporters lost interest in their famous wall, knowing it soon would be destroyed. The visitors of the last few months were not asked to sign. During the last two or three months there were many noteworthy eligible’s including Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Estelle Taylor, Colleen Moore and Marian Nixon. Crawford was one of the last asked to sign, the occasion being her divorce from Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. She refused. The reporters asserted she was so nervous and shaky it was doubtful if she could have written her name of the floor, much less on the wall.

 

Signing the Wall of Fame grew to be quite a ceremonial and somewhat of an athletic function. It was necessary to step onto a chair and then mount onto a table in order to reach the designated spot and in addition to the gentlemen of the press, court attachés and sometimes the judges themselves would assemble to witness the event. In fact, gazing up at a movie star was really something to talk about afterward.

 

It’s too bad that the Wall of Fame could not have been saved or moved to another location. When the new courthouse was built, there was another press room, but it was never the same.

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Thanksgiving in Hollywood, 1931

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Nov 26th, 2009
2009
Nov 26

HOLLYWOOD HISTORY

How Hollywood stars celebrated Thanksgiving in 1931

 

thanksgiving

 

Hollywood’s basis for Thanksgiving sometimes ranged from gratitude to an indulgent fate for the renewal of an option to thanks for a new divorce. But whatever the individual cause for thanks. the favored of filmdom in 1931 joined the rest of the country in celebrating the Thanksgiving season.

 

Marlene Dietrich observed the holiday entertaining a few guests and, for the occasion, allowed little Maria to dine with the grown-ups. Others who celebrated quietly at home were Dolores Costello and John Barrymore who entertained Lionel Barrymore and Helene Costello; Kay Francis and her husband, Kenneth McKenna; Buster and Natalie Talmadge Keaton, their two sons, and Norma and Constance Talmadge; Vivian Duncan and Nils Asther and their new daughter, Evelyn. The Robert Montgomery’s, also assisted their young daughter (five-week old Martha who died at 14 months of spinal meningitis) in her first Thanksgiving, while the Reginald Denny’s also had their young son to initiate.

 

Ruth Chatterton and Ralph Forbes travelled to Arrowhead for the occasion. Marie Dressler, accompanied by her house guest, Lady Ravensdale, and Claire du Brey, drove to the desert and dined at the La Quinta Hotel. Wallace Beery spent Thanksgiving in New York, as did Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

 

Clark Gable spent the holiday in the mountains. Jimmy Durante cooked his own turkey, decorating it with  an original dressing, but declining to reveal the recipe.

 

Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels celebrated the day in San Francisco with the opening of Bebe’s play, The Last of Mrs. Cheney. Janet Gaynor was Europe-bound, accompanied by her husband, Lydell Peck and mother. Maurice Chevalier  was joined by his wife, actress Yvonne Vallee,  for his first Thanksgiving. Tallulah Bankhead arrived in town for formal dinner plans. Two new sets of newlyweds — June Collyer and Stuart Erwin and Carole Lombard and William Powell — observed the day at home.

 

Victor MacLaglen presided over a huge dining table which was a part of the Tuder furniture imported from England for his Flintridge home.

 

From several places across the country, the Will Rogers clan collected in time for turkey. Will, Jr. was home from Stanford, and Jimmy arrived from Roswell, New Mexico.

 

Wherever you are and whatever your plans, I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving. 

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Carole Lombard in the 1930 Census…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 9th, 2008
2008
Oct 9

THE 1930 CENSUS

Carole Lombard

 (1908-1942)

née Jane Alice Peters

Film actress

Irene Bullock in My Man Godfrey (1936)

 

 

 

 

138 North Wilton Place

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California

 

 

Rent, $100

Radio

Census taken on April 9, 1930

 

 

HOUSEHOLD RESIDENTS*

 

  1. Elizabeth K. Peters (head), 53 / divorced / Indiana / None.
  2. Frederick C. Peters, Jr. (son), 26 / Indiana / Retail dry goods.
  3. J. Stuart Peters (son), 24 / Indiana / Clerk / Stock exchange.
  4. Carole Peters (daughter), 21 / Indiana / Actress / Motion pictures.

 

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* Information includes relationship to head of household, age / place of birth (year of arrival in this country, if applicable) / occupation / industry.

  

The preceeding text is taken from my recent book, Celebrities in the 1930 Census (McFarland & Co., Inc., 2008). This directory provides an extensive listing of household information collected for over 2,265 famous or notorious individuals who were alive during the 1930 United States Census. Please note: The above photographs do not appear in the book.

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Celebrity Recipes…Carole Lombard

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 7th, 2008
2008
Oct 7

CELEBRITY RECIPES

Carole Lombard

 

 

 

 

SALISBURY MEAT BALLS

 

 

Heat ½ cup olive oil in skillet and add the following:

 

2 small onions chopped fine

1 clove garlic

1 bell pepper chopped fine

Round steak rolled into little balls

 

 

Braise meat slowly and then add seasonings, 1 can of tomato soup and ½ cup of chili sauce. Let simmer for 2 hours, adding a little water.

 

— Carole Lombard

 

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Carole Lombard’s Birthday…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 6th, 2008
2008
Oct 6

Happy 100th Birthday

Carole Lombard!

 

 

 

AMERICAN ACTRESS

née Jane Alice Peters

  

Carole Lombard’s birthplace – 704 Rockhill Place, Fort Wayne, Indiana

 

  • BORN:  October 6, 1908, Fort Wayne Indiana
  • DIED: January 16, 1942, Table Rock Mountain, Nevada
  • CAUSE OF DEATH: Airplane crash
  • BURIAL: Forest Lawn-Glendale, Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Trust

 

 

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Stars Paid to Smoke…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Sep 25th, 2008
2008
Sep 25

FILM HISTORY

Hollywood ‘paid fortune to smoke’

 

 

Tobacco firms paid huge amounts for endorsements from the stars of Hollywood’s “Golden Age”.

 

BBC News
September 25, 2008

 

Industry documents released following anti-smoking lawsuits reveal the extent of the relationship between tobacco and movie studios.

 

One firm paid more than $3m in today’s money in one year to stars.

 

Researchers writing in the Tobacco Control journal said “classic” films of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s still helped promote smoking today.

  

Virtually all of the biggest names of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s were involved in paid cigarette promotion, according to the University of California at San Francisco researchers.

 

They obtained endorsement contracts signed at the times to help them calculate just how much money was involved.

 

According to the research, stars prepared to endorse tobacco included Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Joan Crawford, John Wayne, Bette Davis and Betty Grable.   (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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Continue Reading »

Memorial Day Observance…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on May 26th, 2008
2008
May 26

Memorial Day

 

 

 

Memorial Day or Decoration Day, began in 1868 when members of the Grand Army of the Republic heeded the request of their commander, General John A. Logan, to decorate the graves of their fallen compatriots. It has since become the day on which the United States honors the dead of all its wars and is observed as a legal holiday in most states. National services are held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia.

 

Following are four entertainment casualties during World War II.

 

  

 

CAROLE LOMBARD (1908-1942) -Popular comedienne of films during the 1930s, most notably in Twentieth Century (1934), My Man Godfrey (1936) and Nothing Sacred (1937). In January 1942, Lombard had sold over two-million dollars worth of war bonds in her home state of Indiana. Anxious to return to her husband, Clark Gable, she chose to take a plane. The plane crashed into a mountain outside Las Vegas. Everyone on board was killed, including Lombard’s mother, Bessie Peters and MGM publicity man, Otto Winkler.

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TAMARA (1910-1943) – The Russian-born radio singer and Broadway actress who made popular such songs as “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” “Love for Sale” and “Get Out of Town.” She was one of twenty-four entertainers, foreign correspondents and business men who were killed when a USO Yankee Clipper crashed in the Tagus River near Lisbon on February 22, 1943. Also on board was actress and singer, Jane Froman, who was severely injured in the crash. She was rescued by the clipper’s co-pilot, John Curtis Burn, whom she married five years later.

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LESLIE HOWARD (1893-1943) – British-born actor best known for his role as Ashley Wilkes in the popular film classic, Gone with the Wind (1939). Howard died when he was returning from Lisbon and his plane was shot down by a German Junkers Ju 88 over the Bay of Biscay. His body was never found.

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CHARLES KING (1889-1944) – Vaudeville entertainer who appeared in a number of Hollywood films, most notably the Academy Award winning, Broadway Melody (1929). King died of pneumonia in London while entertaining the troops.

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