Posts Tagged ‘Michael G. Ankerich’

The 86th Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service

Sunday, August 18th, 2013


 The Eighty-Sixth Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service




 Friday, August 23, 2013

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, California

Cathedral Mausoleum



This year’s Valentino Memorial Service will include new videos acknowledging the 100th anniversary of Rudolph Valentino’s arrival in America will be shown. There will also be a tribute video saluting his cinematic career.


In addition, a video saluting Valentino’s friend and costar, Mae Murray with be presented and the guest speaker will be Michael G. Ankerich, the author of the new biography “Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips.” Also speaking will be Christopher Riordan who will update the audience about Falcon Lair. Riordan lived in the guest home on the estate, as the property overseer.


This year the Memorial is themed to salute the 90th anniversary of the Mineralava Tour. There will be a special display of Mineralava artifacts including two of the trophies that Rudolph Valentino presented (one to a dancing couple, the other for the beauty contest). The trophies will be made available at the conclusion of the service for people to get their photo holding them. Live singing of Valentino music will be presented by the Evans & Rogers musical team.


Acknowledgements: Valentino Memorial Committee: Tracy Ryan Terhune, Stella Grace, Chanell O Farrill, Marvin Paige. Research on the Mineralava Tour—Rebecca Eash; Mineralava Tour video—Donna Hill; remaining videos—Frank Labrador.



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New Book: Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips by Michael G. Ankerich

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013


Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips by Michael G. Ankerich






Mae Murray (1885–1965), popularly known as “the girl with the bee-stung lips,” was a fiery presence in silent-era Hollywood. Renowned for her classic beauty and charismatic presence, she rocketed to stardom as a dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies, moving across the country to star in her first film, To Have and to Hold, in 1916. An instant hit with audiences, Murray soon became one of the most famous names in Tinseltown.


However, Murray’s moment in the spotlight was fleeting. The introduction of talkies, a string of failed marriages, a serious career blunder, and a number of bitter legal battles left the former star in a state of poverty and mental instability that she would never overcome.


In this intriguing biography, Michael G. Ankerich traces Murray’s career from the footlights of Broadway to the klieg lights of Hollywood, recounting her impressive body of work on the stage and screen and charting her rapid ascent to fame and decline into obscurity. Featuring exclusive interviews with Murray’s only son, Daniel, and with actor George Hamilton, whom the actress closely befriended at the end of her life, Ankerich restores this important figure in early film to the limelight.



“A most compelling, detailed chronicle of the meteoric rise and fall of stage/silent movie star Mae Murray, as to both her roller-coaster professional career and chaotic personal life. This book will certainly be the definitive biography of the legendary Mae Murray.” — James Robert Parish, author of Fiasco: A History of Hollywood’s Iconic Flops


“Astounding. Mae Murray works on many levels. For those who know of her, it’s a revelation. At last, a reliable narrative of her life.” — Mel Neuhaus, film writer for


“Her long life is a lesson about those heady days of early Hollywood and the transience of fame.”–Library Journal


Click here to purchase at Amazon


About the Author

Former news reporter Michael G. Ankerich is author of The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities Who Bridged the Gap between Silents and Talkies and coauthor of The Real Joyce Compton: Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image.



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“Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels”

Friday, November 12th, 2010


Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent Screen





“We were like dragonflies. We seemed to be suspended effortlessly in the air, but in reality, our wings were beating very, very fast.” – Mae Murray


“It is worse than folly for persons to imagine that this business is an easy road to money, to contentment, or to that strange quality called happiness.” – Bebe Daniels


 “A girl should realize that a career on the screen demands everything, promising nothing.” – Helen Ferguson


In Dangerous Curves Atop Hollywood Heels, author Michael G. Ankerich examines the lives, careers, and disappointments of 14 silent film actresses, who, despite the odds against them and warnings to stay in their hometowns, came to Hollywood to make names for themselves in the movies.


On the screen, these young hopefuls became Agnes Ayres, Olive Borden, Grace Darmond, Elinor Fair, Juanita Hansen, Wanda Hawley, Natalie Joyce, Barbara La Marr, Martha Mansfield, Mary Nolan, Marie Prevost, Lucille Ricksen, Eve Southern, and Alberta Vaughn.


Dangerous Curves follows the precarious routes these young ladies took in their quest for fame and uncovers how some of the top actresses of the silent screen were used, abused, and discarded.  Many, unable to let go of the spotlight after it had singed their very souls, came to a stop on that dead-end street, referred to by actress Anna Q. Nilsson as, Hollywood’s Heartbreak Lane.


Pieced together using contemporary interviews the actresses gave, conversations with friends, relatives, and co-workers, and exhaustive research through scrapbooks, archives, and public records, Dangerous Curves offers an honest, yet compassionate, look at some of the brightest luminaries of the silent screen. The book is illustrated with over 150 photographs.


Check out Michael G. Ankerich’s website at





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New Biography on Joyce Compton

Monday, August 3rd, 2009


The Real Joyce Compton:

Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image


Joyce Compton bookcover


“People who like films and stars of that era, from the 1920s on through the 1950s, I think, would like to have such a personally-written account of some of the highlights of an actress’s life.  Most picture us all as rich and famous and never hear of another side.  I’ve even thought of the title: The Real Joyce Compton: Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image.  Sound good?  It’s a thought.”


–Excerpt of a letter from Joyce Compton to

Michael G. Ankerich, 27 January 1988


The Real Joyce Compton: Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image is the story that Joyce Compton, one of the screen’s finest comediennes and most versatile actresses, wanted told.


Her career, which consisted of an estimated 200 films, stretched from 1925 to 1957.  Breaking into films during the silent era, she appeared in a string of ingénue roles, imagining herself as a new Mae Murray, but it was after the beginning of sound that Compton found her niche in comedy.


In her own words, she recounts her frustrations over studio politics and shares her experiences of working and socializing with such screen favorites as Clara Bow, Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich, Joel McCrea, George O’Brien, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Johnny Mack Brown, Janet Gaynor, and George Raft.


Compton opens up about her often overly protective parents, her off-screen romances, her one heartbreaking attempt at marriage, her deep religious faith, and her struggle to support her family after her film career ended.


With candor and insight that only someone who was there can share, Compton discusses the transition from silents to talkies; working with incompetent directors in those early sound movies; living on locations; the competition she experienced with the “star” actresses of the studio; freelancing versus working under a studio contact; and the day-to-day life of an actress working in early Hollywood.


The Real Joyce Compton begins with a biography of the actress, written by co-author Michael G. Ankerich, based on formal interviews, conversations, and correspondence over their 10-year friendship. The book also contains a detailed filmography of Compton’s film appearances and is lavishly illustrated with over 80 photographs, many of which are from Compton’s own personal collection.


Ankerich is the author of Broken Silence: Conversations With 23 Silent Film Stars and The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 23 Stage and Screen Personalities Who Made the Transition from Silents to Talkies.


He is currently working on Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 22 Hard Luck Girls of the Silent Screen. Dangerous Curves, based partly on interviews with family, friends, and relatives, will feature such actresses as Agnes Ayres, Belle Bennett, Olive Borden, Gladys Brockwell, Grace Darmond, Marguerite de la Motte, Elinor Fair, Margaret Gibson, Juanita Hansen, Wanda Hawley, Natalie Joyce, Kathleen Key, Barbara La Marr, Martha Mansfield, Mae Murray, Mary Nolan, Marie Prevost, Lucille Ricksen, Dorothy Sebastian, Eve Southern,  Alberta Vaughn, and Clara Kimball Young.


Click here to purchase The Real Joyce Compton: Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image at Amazon


Or from the publisher, BearManor Media



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