Posts Tagged ‘douglas fairbanks jr.’

Douglas Fairbanks last will and testament

Friday, July 9th, 2010

CELEBRITY WILLS

Douglas Fairbanks wills million to his widow

 

 

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Douglas Fairbanks died at his Santa Monica beach house on December 12, 1939. When his will was probated less than a month later, it was learned that the actor made no mention of his former wife, Mary Pickford, bequeathing half his estate, up to $1,000,000, to his widow, the former Lady Sylvia Ashley of England. In his will, Fairbanks wrote:

 

“I respectfully request my beloved wife to devise and bequeath by her last will and testament whatever portion of said property that she receives by virtue of this instrument to such of my heirs and next of kin and for such charitable or education or patriotic purposes as she may decide in her discretion.”

 

Fairbanks added, however, he did not mean to place any restrictions upon her final disposition of the legacy.

 

The will was executed on November 2, 1936, shortly after Fairbanks married Lady Ashley. A considerable part of his property was in United Artists, film producing concern in which Mary Pickford was a partner.

 

There was some conjecture as to whether a reference to Pickford might have been made in a sealed envelope left with the will, addressed to the actors son, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Lawyers said it concerned a $50,000 bequest to his son.

 

Regarding the letter, Fairbanks had written by hand in the will a bequest of an additional 1/10 of property to his son requesting him to distribute the money “to the people and in the proportion as I advise him by the letter addressed to him to be found with this will.”

 

The will, which covered 13 typewritten pages, named as executors the Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, which filed the document, and the Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association of Los Angeles.

 

Among his bequests were $10,000 to the Motion Picture Actors’ Relief Fund of Los Angeles, to be known as the “Douglas Fairbanks Fund;” $10,000 to Charles L. Lewis; $37,500 in a trust fund to Kenneth Davenport of Hollywood and $37,500 to a cousin, Mrs. Adelaide Crombie of Los Angeles.

 

After these specific bequests, the will disposed of the actor’s property in part as follows:

 

Twenty-fortieths of the residue to his wife, not to exceed $1,000,000; 12/40 to his son, not to exceed $600,000; 2/40 to his brother, Robert Fairbanks, not to exceed $100,000. Another brother, Norris Wilcox of New York City, also received 1/40 or a sum not to exceed $50,000.

 

Four nieces – Flobelle Burden, Mary Margaret Chappellett, Letitia Fairbanks and Lucille Fairbanks – also shared in the estate. A trust fund of one-fortieth of the residue, not to exceed $50,000, was provided for each.

 

Fairbanks provided finally that after the bequests are made and the residue divided among his wife and the others who receive their shares in 40ths, all other property remaining be equally divided between his wife and son.

 

An affidavit by his lawyer said that Fairbanks owned all the outstanding stock of the Elton Corp., which in turn owned one-fifth of the outstanding capital stock of United Artists Corp. The shares of the United Artists Corp., representing this ownership, are in the possession of the Guaranty Trust Co. which is one of the largest assets of the estate, and is also trustee of a fund of more than $700,000 which, under the will, passes to the estate. The Bankers Trust Co. is also trustee of a fund of about $500,000 which likewise passes to the estate. There were other valuable properties within New York state, including tangible personal properties.

 

Once the will was probated, it was disclosed in a petition that Douglas Fairbanks left a net estate of $2,318,651.10 (gross valuation of $2,742,060.62) and the executor, Guaranty Trust Co., was granted to exempt the estate from taxes in New York on the grounds that the actor was a resident of California.

 

Total California assets were listed as $1,301,879.58, New York assets at $1,247,452.80, and Pennsylvania assets at $192,728.24. Fairbanks California property consisted of bank accounts and funds held by the Escondido Orange Association amounting to $63,475.44; stocks valued at $500,232.95; bonds, $76,221.37 and the balance in realty holdings in Hollywood, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Venice, Westwood and Glendale.

 

The will did not mention Fairbanks first wife, the former Beth Sully, the mother of his son, who at the time was married to musical comedy actor, Jack Whiting. Also not mentioned was his second wife, ‘America’s Sweetheart,’ Mary Pickford.

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The Stars Happiest Christmas

Friday, December 25th, 2009

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Classic stars recall their happiest yule

 

 

Claudette Colbert (above) poses on Vine Street next to her image emblazoned on a Christmas decoration in the heart of Hollywood. The two tall buildings on the right in the background are at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Just like anyone else, to film stars there is always just one Christmas that stands out above all others. In December 1932, several stars were asked about their most memorable Christmas.

 

The previous Christmas for Neil Hamilton competed with one when he was seven years old: “What with a new baby and a new house and the baby’s first Christmas tree, last year was hard to cap,” said Hamilton. “But for sheer unadulterated happiness I must remember the gorgeous Indian suit they gave me when I was seven years old. I strut when I remember it to this day. I was the reincarnation of Sitting Bull.”

 

James Dunn said a pool table presented to him when he was 14 still stood out as the most stylish event of his life. On that Christmas morning he invited all the boys in the neighborhood to play pool and they were still at it long past bedtime.

 

It was a Christmas bicycle that stood out for Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. He was eight years of age and had been demanding a bike from Santa since he was five. He’s almost given up hope when the family weakened. “It was a Rolls-Royce to me,” Fairbanks said.

 

Bette Davis claimed that no ecstasy since had surpassed the Christmas on which she acquired a huge Teddy Bear, handed to her from the very top of a big tree. “I have loved that Teddy all my life and still him,” she said.

 

It was a gorgeous box of paints, brushes, palettes all complete including a real artist’s smock, which made Claudette Colbert ecstatic when she was a small girl. She had always loved drawing and that Christmas saw the family’s recognition of her artistic yearnings.

 

Gary Cooper said the Christmas in which he and his family were snowed in on a cattle ranch in Montana stands our as his sweetest. No turkey, no shopping — a blizzard cut them off from everything. But the family decided to make their own fun and made presents by themselves out of any old odds and ends. “The least expensive and the jolliest Christmas I ever hope to enjoy,” he said.

 

A pair of rubber boots and a sled marked the most exciting Christmas for William Collier, Jr., who until that time, had to be content with a stocking encasing an orange, nuts and popcorn. He was nine years of age when the miracle occurred. And it was Marian Nixon’s very first watch, waiting on the breakfast table, which made one Christmas forever notable for her. In the same way a coaster-brake bike with a fancy headlight presented when he was 12 years old, marked one hilarious Christmas for John Boles.

 

Marie Dressler remembered a certain Christmas fifteen years earlier when, because her dearest friend was in the hospital, she took a tree, goodies and all the packages to the hospital between the matinee and the evening performance, and Christmassed at the there.

 

Joan Crawford, without hesitation, said, “Oh, Christmas 1925. I hadn’t seen my people in Kansas City for so long. I had just signed my contract with MGM and they paid my fare to the coast via Kansas City. So I went home in triumph — the biggest thrill of my life.”

 

It was 1919 that meant everything to Ramon Novarro. After a bus-boy job in New York, he was back in Los Angeles with his family and was celebrating his very first picture role. “We had an utterly perfect Mexican Christmas,” he remembered.

 

But to Maurice Chevalier, escaping from a German prison camp, rejoining  his mother in Paris and receiving medical attention for his wounds — and the glorious award of the Croix de Guerre made Christmas 1918, the most memorable one for him.

 

Katherine Hepburn recalled an ecstatic Christmas when her father built her a little theater of her own in the back yard when she was about 12.

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Douglas Fairbanks, Jr’s Boston Brown Bread

Friday, December 11th, 2009

CELEBRITY RECIPES

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

 

 Doug Fairbanks Jr.

  

DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS, JR’S

Boston Brown Bread

 

1 cup graham or whole wheat flour – 1 cup corn meal – 1 cup white flour – 1/2 cup sugar – 1 teaspoon salt – 1 teaspoon baking soda – 3/4 cup molasses – 2 cups sour milk

 

Mix and sift the dry ingredients, add the sour milk and molasses. Beat well and fill buttered molds with closely fitting covers, 2/3 full. Let stand 1/2 hour and then steam 3 hours, taking care that the water does not come over the rack on which the tins are placed. Boston brown bread is sometimes not steamed but baked in a moderate oven, but the result is not so satisfactory.

 

Doug says “beat well,” which means that the ingredients must be thoroughly mixed if you want a nice, even color and a firm texture.

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Douglas Fairbank’s 100th Birthday

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

100th BIRTHDAY

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

 

Douglas fairbanks Jr

 

AMERICAN ACTOR

 

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Thanksgiving in Hollywood, 1931

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

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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Douglas Fairbanks Memorial…

Friday, December 12th, 2008

The Douglas Fairbanks Memorial

 

DOUGLAS ELTON FAIRBANKS, SR.

May 23, 1883 — December 12, 1939

 

   

By Allan R. Ellenberger

  

When actor Douglas Fairbanks died of a heart attack at his Santa Monica home on December 12, 1939, the world mourned with all of Hollywood. Following funeral services in the Wee Kirk o’ the Heather at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Fairbanks’ casket was placed in a crypt next to Will Rogers, who, at the time, still awaited entombment in Claremore, Oklahoma.

  

 

The final resting place of Douglas Fairbanks at Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a stately marble sarcophagus estimated at the time to have cost $40,000. Add to that the cost of perpetual care and other expenses incidental to the building of the sarcophagus would bring the ultimate expenditure to about $50,000. At the time, it was one of the most costly of its kind in Southern California.

 

 

The crypt is set in front of four tall pillars of white Georgia marble, behind which is a panel that is inscribed: “Douglas Fairbanks, 1883-1939.” A bas relief bronze profile of the actor is positioned over the inscription.

 

 

In front of the sarcophagus is a long, narrow reflection pool, which, at the time, was lined with hedge trees.

 

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The dedication ceremonies at Hollywood Cemetery were scheduled for May 25, 1941 – two days after the actor’s 58th birthday. Fairbanks’ close friend, actor Charlie Chaplin was selected to deliver the eulogy. Doug, Jr., who was touring South America at the time, could not return in time for the service. The simple ceremony was attended by 1,500 persons, including many of Fairbanks’ friends.

 

Fairbanks’ widow, the former Lady Sylvia Ashley, adorned in a white dress and veil, arrived at the ceremony with Chaplin, Robert Fairbanks (Douglas’ brother), Mrs. Fred Astaire and her sister, Mrs. Basil Bleck. Mrs. Fairbanks sat with the group in the first row of seats nearest the sarcophagus. Behind her were Norma Shearer and Kay Francis.

 

After the opening prayers by the Rev. Neal  Dodd, pastor of St. Mary’s of the Angeles Episcopal Church, the widow placed her bouquet in the as yet unsealed end of the marble sarcophagus. Then, with trembling hands, she drew the cord unveiling the inscription and bas relief bust of her husband.

 

Chaplin’s eulogy was brief.

 

“We are gathered here to pay tribute to the one who might well be termed a great man. To name him thus would have brought incredulous laughter to his lips. That he was even a great artist he would have been the first to deny. Yet this modesty was but another facet of his greatness, and there were many facets.

 

His was a happy life. His rewards were great, his joys many. Now he pillows his head upon his arms, sighs deeply – and sleeps.

 

To the youth of a decade ago he was the epitome of knightly courage and romance… And as he worshiped heroes, so too did he worship those qualities a hero should possess.”

 

Relating Fairbanks’ versatility, Chaplin praised him most as the “eternal boy” – always fresh in viewpoint and interested in what each day would bring. Chaplin concluded with the inscription from Hamlet chiseled on the marble sarcophagus:

 

 

“Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

 

 

As he spoke, Fairbanks’ widow wept as she sat on the marble bench behind the sarcophagus.

 

Following Chaplin’s eulogy, Rev. Dodd read the memorial rites as Fairbanks copper casket was placed in the sarcophagus and the end was sealed.

 

In the section reserved for friends and family were the actors nieces: Shirley Burden, Mrs. Henri Chappellet, Mrs. Owen Crump and Leticia Fairbanks.

 

Other celebrities at the ceremony included Fred Astaire, Joseph Schenck, Randolph Scott, Bull Montana, Ruth Rennick, Richard Barthelmess, Daryl Zanuck and many more friends of Fairbanks.

 

Following the ceremony the crowd was permitted to file past the marble-columned memorial which faced a tree-lined reflection pool.

 

 

Fifty-nine years later, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was laid to rest along with his father in the sarcophagus.

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This photo was taken in the mid 1990s before the Cassity family bought the cemetery and it was in bankruptcy. El Nino ravaged Southern California that year, including the Fairbanks Memorial.

 

TRIVIA: For years there was a rectangular opening approximately one inch wide on the east side of the sarcophagus in which you could look in and see the top of Fairbanks copper casket. Over the years people tossed coins on top of the casket that remained there until Doug Jr. was interred with his father. Today that opening is still there.

 

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