People, Places
and Events in the
Life of Audrey, Ruth
and Eddie

                               EVENTS IN AUDREY'S LIFE


THE 1936 KENTUCKY DERBY.......Audrey placed a losing bet on a Derby  

                                              that had a number of firsts.

THE DEATH OF KING GEORGE V.....Audrey listened to his funeral and cried

TELEVISION'S 1st BROADCAST.....First pictures are transmitted

SUMMER OF '36......The hottest summer on record

THE WAMPAS BABIES of 1932.....Audrey's friend Lillian could have been one



Bold Venture

Bold Venture (foaled in 1933), an American Thoroughbred racehorse, was sired by the multiple British stakes winner, St. Germans, who, after his importation to stand at Greentree Stud in Lexington, Ky., became the leading sire of 1931 when his son Twenty Grand won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. St. Germans own sire, Swynford, also a stakes winner, was a top British stallion whose other sons included English Derby winner Sansovino, English Derby second St. Germans, Challenger (also imported to the United States, where he sired American Horse of the Year Challedon), Lancegaye (imported to the U.S. and sire of Kentucky Derby winner Cavalcade), and Blandford, a leading sire in Europe and the sire of four English Derby winners. Bold Venture's dam, Possible, was by Ultimus, a son of the two-time American Horse of the Year Commando (1900/1901), by the "Black Whirlwind" Domino. 

Bold Venture, trained by the Hall of Fame conditioner, Max Hirsch, was entered in the 1936 Kentucky Derby without achieving a single stakes win and his rider was an 18 year old apprentice jockey named Ira "Babe" Hanford, who had been riding in races for less than a year. The boy's contract was owned by Hirsch's daughter, Mary, also a trainer. Just as Hanford's mount had never won a stakes race, no apprentice had ever won the Derby. They went out together as 20-1 shots. 

That year, Brevity, owned by Joseph E. Widener of Elmendorf Farm, was the favorite. Brevity had won the Florida Derby and had equaled the world record for 1 1/8 miles. Indian Broom (Audrey’s pick for the race), owned by Austin C. Taylor, was second favorite after lowering Brevity's record in the Marchbank Handicap.


As soon as the gates flew open, Brevity was knocked to his knees and the horse who would go on to win that year's American Horse of the Year award, Granville, threw his rider James Stout. Indian Broom (Note: Finished 3rd and paid $3.80) was trapped in a scrum of racing horses. Bold Venture was in no better position. On the way out of the gate, another horse slammed into him, which was like, as Hanford said: "...a bowling ball hitting the pins." This started a chain reaction that caused Granville to throw Stout. But the apprentice rider somehow found his horse running room and by the backstretch Bold Venture was leading. But Brevity had righted himself, broken free of the pack, and came charging after Bold Venture. Before he could catch him, assuming he could, he ran out of running room. The two "beginners" had won the Derby.


The win did little for Bold Venture's reputation, considering the terrible mess at the start of the race. Two weeks later Bold Venture, entered in the Preakness Stakes and ridden by the great jockey George Woolf, had a second bad start, but still won…this time a nose in front of Granville.



Even in the photo finish there appears to be only one horse.

Undefeated in his three-year-old season, and with two legs of the Triple Crown won, Bold Venture bowed a tendon and was retired.



                         Audrey writes in her diary about listening to

 his funeral on the radio and crying 

The Funeral of King George V


Tuesday, 28th January 1936 

George V was born on 3rd June 1865 at Marlborough House, London, son of the future Edward VII and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. He was christened George Frederick Ernest Albert on 7th July 1865 and known as 'Georgie'. He entered the Royal Navy in 1877, becoming a vice-admiral in 1903. He married Queen Mary of Teck on 6th July 1893 in the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace. He had 6 children, his eldest son becoming Edward VIII in 1936, although he was never crowned, having abdicated in December 1936. George V's second son, became George VI in his stead. George V's other children were Mary, the Princess Royal, Prince Henry William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester, George Edward Alexander, Duke of Kent and Prince John Charles Francis.

George V acceded to the throne upon the death of his father in 1910. It was George V who changed the official name of the monarchy to The House of Windsor in 1917, on July 17th. Their new name replaced the historic name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha with its German connections which was no longer acceptable as the UK was at war with Germany.
George V died on 20th January 1936 at Sandringham, Norfolk. His funeral took place on 28th January 1936 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle following the Lying-in-State in London. George V was succeeded by Edward VIII who subsequently abdicated in December 1936 in order to marry Mrs Wallace Simpson.


July 8,1936 United Press news release


Special greenish images seen at a secret television show staged by the Radio Corporation of America convinced engineers today of its commercial possibilities, though they are "a long way off".

The show, the first "planned" program ever transmitted in America by television, was seen yesterday by 25 licensees at Radio City. It was transmitted from an elaborate installation of apparatus in the tower of the Empire State building seventeen blocks away.

Perfect atmospheric conditions helped the successful showing of the five-by-seven-inch scenes reflected in a mirror from a funnel-shaped cathode ray tube in a 33 tube receiving instrument.

Major General J. C. Harbord, chairman of the RCA board, and David Sarnoff, president, appeared in the first ephemeral-appearing scene. They told of the progress in television.

The program then turned to entertainment. A dancing chorus of twenty girls, a moving picture of a streamlined train, comely models from a large department store and actors were shown.

A radio industrialist who saw the show praised the engineers for their developement but said "It is a long way off before it reaches the home".

America is already behind Germany in television broadcasting. It is already commercially available there. It will be 3 more years before televisions are being sold in America. 


As many as 5,000 heat related deaths were reported. Many people suffered from heat stroke, and heat exhaustion, particularly the elderly. Unlike today, Air Conditioning was in the early stages of development and was therefore absent from houses and commercial buildings alike. Many of the deaths occurred in built up city areas of Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Toronto and other urban areas. Farmers across the continent saw their worst harvest on record, causing corn and wheat prices to rise quickly. Droughts and heat waves were common in the 1930s. The 1930s are remembered as the driest and warmest decade for the US (the Dust Bowl years). 

This significant heat wave started in late June, when temperatures across the US exceeded 100 °F (38 °C). The Midwest experienced some of the highest June temperatures on record. Drought conditions worsened. In the Northeast, temperatures climbed to the mid 90s °F (around 35 °C). The South and West started to heat up also, and also experienced drought. The heat wave began to extend into Canada. Moderate to extreme drought covered the entire continent. The dry and exposed soil contributed directly to the heat as happens normally in desert areas as the extreme heat entered the air by radiation and direct contact. Reports at the time and explored in the definitive works on the Dust Bowl told of soil temperatures reaching in excess of 200 °F (93 °C) at the four inch/10 cm level in regions of the Dust Bowl -- such soil temperatures were sufficient to sterilise the soil by killing nitrogen-fixing bacteria and other microbes, delivering the final blow in the declining fertility of that soil which had not already blown away. 

July was the peak month, in which temperatures reached all-time record levels—many of which still stand as of 2008. In Steele, North Dakota, temperatures reached 121 °F (49 °C), which remains North Dakota's record. In Ohio, temperatures reached 110 °F (43 °C), which nearly tied the previous record set in 1934. The states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and New Jersey also experienced record highs temperatures. The provinces of Ontario and Manitoba set still-standing record highs above 110 °F (43 °C). The probable record for warmest daily minimum temperature outside Death Valley, California, and adjacent regions was set at Lincoln, Nebraska, on July 14,1936 when the overnight low was 91 °F (33 °C). Death Valley registers overnight minimum temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) with some regularity during the hottest months of the year. 

August was the warmest month on record for five states. Many experienced long stretches of 90 °F (32 °C) or warmer. Drought conditions worsened in some locations. Some states were only slightly above average. 

The heat wave and drought largely ended in September, though many states were still drier and warmer than average. Many farmers' summer harvests were destroyed. Grounds and lawns remained parched. Annual temperatures returned to normal in the fall.


The WAMPAS Baby Stars, a yearly selection of 13 promising starlets, was made by The Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers. The chosen lucky thirteen were formally introduced at a coming-out party, known as the Frolic, an event covered by the media much like today's Academy Award ceremonies. Among the list are some Hollywood big names including Joan Crawford, Fay Wray, Janet Gaynor, Loretta Young and Clara Bow. Sprinkled among the winners were also a number of actresses who did heroine duty in B westerns and serials --- included are Marion Shilling, Evalyn Knapp, Carmelita Geraghty and Jean Carmen (Julia Thayer).

1932: Because of ties, WAMPAS presented no less than 15 "Babies" in 1932. Lillian Miles, Audrey’s friend, failed to show up (she was apparently getting married) and faced disqualification. Toshia Mori, the only non-Caucasian to be honored, earned the nod instead.


(Back row) Toshia Mori, Boots Mallory, Ruth Hall, Gloria Stuart, Patricia Ellis, Ginger Rogers, Lilian Bond, Evalyn Knapp, Marian Shockley.  

(Front row) Dorothy Wilson, Mary Carlisle, Lona Andre, Eleanor Holm, Dorothy Layton.


Lona Andre

(Launa Anderson)

March 2, 1915 – September 18, 1992

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Andre attracted attention with her first films in Hollywood and after winning the Paramount Panther Woman Contest, she was signed to a movie contract by Paramount Pictures. When Paramount did not renew her option, Andre worked as a freelance artist. 

During the 1930s she appeared frequently in films, usually as the lead in "B" pictures, and by the end of the decade had starred in more than fifty films. 

In June 1935, Andre eloped to Santa Barbara, California to marry MGM actor Ed Norris. Andre filed for an annulment action four days after her marriage in Tijuana, Mexico.  

She was later married to salesman, James T. Bolling, and was divorced from him in March 1947. 

In 1938 Andre set a world's golfing record for women by shooting 156 holes of golf in 11 hours and 56 minutes on the Lake Norconian, California course. Her best round was 91 for 18 holes and her worst was 115. 

Her acting career was greatly diminished during the 1940s, and she made her last film appearance in 1949 in “Two Knights From Brooklyn”. After her film career ended she became a successful businesswoman and never returned to acting. 

She was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Lilian Bond

January 18, 1908 – January 25, 1991  

Born in London, England, and made her first public appearance at the age of fourteen when she was in the pantomime “Dick Whittington”. Later she joined the chorus of Piccadilly Revels and continued on the stage when she went to America. She began her film career in the 1929 film “No More Children”. Between 1929 and 1931 she starred in nine films, most notably the 1931 western “Rider of the Plains” opposite Tom Tyler. From 1932 to 1953 she would have roles in 39 films, some of which were uncredited, with others having her in the lead heroine role. Possibly her best-known film role was in the 1940 film “The Westerner”, in which she played legendary stage actress Lillie Langtry, and which starred Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, and Doris Davenport. By the 1950s her career had slowed, with her having mostly television series appearances. She retired from acting at the age of 50 in 1958. 

She married three times, her first marriage being at the height of her career, to Sidney Smith. She married Smith in 1935, and the two divorced in 1944. Lilian later married Michael Fessier, a successful screen writer and producer. The two remained married until his death in 1988. She died in 1991, aged 83, from a heart attack, in Reseda, California

Mary Carlisle

February 3, 1912

The archetypal blonde, Mary Carlisle was brought to Hollywood at the age of four by her recently widowed mother. While eating lunch with her mother at the Universal Pictures commissary, Mary was spotted by Carl Laemmle, Jr. and offered a screen test. Her first screen role was at the age of eight when she played Jackie Coogan's sweetheart in “If I Were King”. After that she decided to finish school before launching her film career. Carlisle finally stepped back in front of the cameras in 1930, appearing in a series of Collegian short subjects and “Madam Satan”, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. 

She subsequently freelanced in eighteen movies, alternating between supporting and leading roles. She co-starred in three films with Bing Crosby: “College Humor”, “Double or Nothing” and “Doctor Rhythm”. 

In 1934, Carlisle was featured opposite Ralph Bellamy and Fay Wray in “Once to Every Woman”, based on a story by A.J. Cronin. She also starred with Robert Armstrong and Richard Cromwell, for Producers Releasing Corporation, in “Baby Face Morgan” (1942). During Carlisle's first decade in Hollywood, her mother became the second wife of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Carlisle herself married New York socialite James Blakely, an erstwhile film actor who later became an executive producer at 20th Century-Fox. Blakely died on January 30, 2007. 

Mary Carlisle retired from films in 1942. Seven years later, she began a second career as the manager of the Elizabeth Arden Salon in Beverly Hills, California. Carlisle recently received a "star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

June Clyde

December 2, 1909 – October 1, 1987  


Clyde's career began at age seven on the vaudeville stage, billed as "Junior Tetrazini". She made her first screen appearance at age ten with Hobart Bosworth in “The Sea Wolf”. Later her voice changed and she joined a stock company. She progressed to a modest career in Hollywood films before marrying American film director Thornton Freeland. Clyde moved to England with her husband and appeared in several British films and stage productions starting in 1934, as well as returning to the United States periodically for both stage and film work.






Patricia Ellis

May 20, 1916 - March 26, 1970  


Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Ellis became interested in acting at a young age. In 1932 she had two small parts, both uncredited, in the films “Three on a Match” and “Central Park”. That same year she was one of fourteen girls chosen as WAMPAS Baby Stars. Ellis, at 16, was the youngest.


Ellis's first credited role was the following year, in the 1933 film, “The Kings Vacation”, starring George Arliss. With that film, her career took off, with her working steadily, starring mostly in lower budget B-movies, but still having her working steadily.


She would have roles in eight films in 1933, and another seven in 1934. She started 1935 off with “A Night at the Ritz”, in which she had the lead female role, opposite William Gargan. She would star in seven films that year, and another seven in 1936. 

Starring alongside some of Hollywood's biggest names, to include James Cagney, Ricardo Cortez, and Bela Lugosi, Ellis' career was at its peak by 1937. Most of her roles were in comedy films, with some also being mysteries or crime drama, and by 1936 almost all her roles had her playing the lead. She would star in five films that year, then only three in 1938, and two in 1939.  

She chose to retire by 1941, choosing to marry a successful businessman from Kansas City, Missouri, named George T. O'Malley. Ellis left Hollywood behind her, and settled into life raising a family in Kansas City. Patricia Ellis remained married to O'Malley for the remainder of her life. She died from cancer, aged 53, on March 26, 1970, in Kansas City

Ruth Hall

(Ruth Gloria Blasco Ibáñez)

December 29, 1910 – October 9, 2003


Ruth Hall was a Hollywood ingénue who appeared in countless 1930s movies alongside the Marx Brothers, Robert Young and John Wayne. The petite raven-haired beauty attracted attention when she first arrived in Hollywood as the niece of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, author of “The Four Men of the Apocalypse”, transferred to the screen as a vehicle for Rudolph Valentino in 1921. 

The film for which she was most remembered, she said, was the Marx Brothers' “Monkey Business” (1931), made when she was 20.  

"The Marx Brothers liked the girls," she recalled. “I'd been warned to watch out for Chico Marx by [the actress] Judith Allen, who'd been practically in a sex attack with him, but it was Zeppo on this occasion who chased me about the Paramount lot.”

Hall's father, Walter Ibánez, was Spanish; her mother and grandmother were both from Florida. Divorced when she was just seven months old, Hall's mother moved to Tampa, where she became the main breadwinner, working - in a pioneering role as a woman - in insurance.


Ruth made her screen début as an extra in Henry King's “Hell Harbor” (1930), which was being filmed in Tampa. Shortly afterwards Paramount called her mother, offering Ruth a two-year contract. Mother and daughter arrived at Central Station in downtown Los Angeles in 1931. Installed at the Christie Hotel, Ruth had barely sufficient time to unpack before being put to work in cameos a series of pictures.  

Hall made “Her Majesty, Love” (1931), with W.C. Fields, “Union Depot” (1932), with Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, and “Blessed Event” (1932), with Dick Powell and Mary Brian. 

She dated numerous co-stars, notably Mervyn LeRoy, her director on “The Heart of New York” (1932), who would go on to produce “The Wizard of Oz” (1939). She also dated the actors Robert Young, Joel McCrea and Lyle Talbot. 

Hall was frequently invited to Hollywood parties hosted by the big stars of the day. She dined at Pickfair and enjoyed weekends with Gary Cooper, Anita Page, Marlene Dietrich, William Powell and Jetta Goudal at the William Randolph Hearst estate San Simeon. "I used to go to beautiful parties before I met my husband," she remembered. “Mother always made sure I took enough money with me so when spirits changed after too much champagne I could escape and pay for a taxi home.” 

Her husband, whom she married in 1933, was Lee Garmes, a cinematographer who had won an Oscar the year before for “Shanghai Express” (he was to be nominated five times in all) and, in 1939, filmed the first hour of “Gone with the Wind”. After their marriage she began to lose interest in her career. The couple left Los Angeles for New York before moving to England, where Garmes worked on several projects with Alexander Korda at Denham; Ruth often assisted Lee on continuity. 

With the onset of war Hall and Garmes returned to California, settling down in Laguna with their two daughters and operating an avocado farm. After Garmes's death in 1978, Hall found herself in demand once more, this time as a guest at western film conventions. "It was a surprise to me that so many fans knew of me," she said. “When they made westerns they did not pay too much attention to "the girl", even though you were the co-star.” 

Eleanor Holm

December 6,1913 – January 31,  2004


She made her Olympic début in 1928, taking fifth place in the 100m backstroke final when aged just 15. At the 1932 Olympics, Holm broke the world record in her heat and then won the final by nearly two seconds. Those Games were staged in Los Angeles, and many of the champions, especially in the American team, were feted in Hollywood. Holm's gold medal propelled her to instant glamour, beginning with her high-profile marriage to Art Jarrett, the singer and bandleader at the Coconut Grove night-club, after a whirlwind, five-month romance.

The daughter of a Brooklyn fire captain, Holm was a natural for the life of a high-roller, even joining her husband on the stage wearing a white bathing suit and white cowboy hat with high heels, singing "I'm an Old Cowhand", and appearing in bit parts in several Warner Bros films. But she was also serious enough about her swimming to continue training into her twenties - most unusual for women in that era - accumulating a further five world records and a total of 29 US national titles, as well as being undefeated for seven years by the time she was selected to compete at the 1936 Berlin Games. 

By the time her ship docked at Hamburg, however, Holm was no longer a member of the US team. More worldly than many of her younger team-mates, Holm was in her element when invited to a reception organised by the ship's owner on the first-class deck. She stayed up drinking until 6am. Warned by officials to moderate her behaviour, Holm's response was, "I'm free, white and 22." 

Undeterred, she won hundreds of dollars playing dice with her journalist friends and partied again when the ship docked at Cherbourg. In an interview for “All That Glitters is Not Gold” (1972), by William O. Johnson, she remembered: “This chaperone came up to me and told me it was time to go to bed. God, it was about 9 o'clock, and who wanted to go down in that basement to sleep anyway? So I said to her "Oh, is it really bedtime? Did you make the Olympic team or did I?" I had had a few glasses of champagne. So she went to Brundage [Avery Brundage, the USOC President] and complained that I was setting a bad example for the team, and they got together and told me the next morning that I was fired. I was heartbroken. 

More than half the team petitioned Brundage to reverse the ban. He was unmoved. "I was everything that Avery Brundage hated," Holm said. But, in later years, she would thank him. "He made me famous. I would have been just another female backstroke swimmer without Brundage." 

Instead of competing in Berlin, Holm continued to enjoy the high life. By day, she watched the Games from the press box, where she filed ghostwritten columns to a New York agency, and by night she attended parties thrown by the Games's Nazi organizers, where she met Hitler, Goering (whom she found to be "fun") and Goebbels (who she said had "a good personality"). "Hitler asked me if I got drunk - he seemed very interested - and I said no!" she said: Goering gave me a sterling silver swastika. I had a mould made of it and put a diamond Star of David in the middle. 

Following her divorce from Jarrett in 1938, Holm starred in “Tarzan's Revenge” alongside the 1936 Olympic decathlon gold medallist, Glenn Morris, before marriage to Billy Rose (the impresario who had previously been married to the comedienne Fanny Brice). With two other former Olympic swimming stars-turned-actors, Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe, Holm did 39 shows a week at Rose's Aquacade at the New York World's Fair in 1939-40. "I thought I'd never be dry," she said. 

Holm and Rose were divorced in 1954. She later married Tom Whalen, a retired oil executive, who died in 1984. "I don't swim any more, I just play tennis," she told The New York Times that year. "And I don't drink champagne any more. Just a little dry white wine." 

Evalyn Knapp

(Evelyn Pauline Knapp)

June 17, 1906 – June 12, 1981


Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1906, Knapp started acting in silent films, her first role being in the 1929 film “At The Dentist's”. Knapp achieved success in cliffhanger serials, which were popular at the time. She played the title character in the 1933 serial “The Perils of Pauline”. One of her better known film roles was opposite Ken Maynard in the 1934 film “In Old Santa Fe”. Her career flourished through 1941, but slowed afterward. In 1943, she played her last role, which was uncredited, in “Two Weeks To Live”, starring Chester Lauck and Norris Goff in one of the Lum and Abner films.


She married a physician, Dr. George A. Snyder in 1934. Following her retirement, she concentrated on her family. She and Snyder remained married until his death in 1977.  

Dorothy Layton

(Dorothy Ann Wannenwetsch)

August 13, 1912 - June 4, 2009  


Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Layton had a promising acting career and starred in eight films in 1932 and 1933, notably appearing several times with Laurel and Hardy. She appeared in the film "Chickens Come Home" (1931), "The Chimp"(1932), "County Hospital" (1932), and "Pack Up Your Troubles" 1932).The only film she made of any prominence, however, was 1933's “Pick-up”, co-starring George Raft and Sylvia Sidney. Her career fizzled after that film, and never really took off again. By 1935 she retired altogether from acting. Layton eventually moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she met and married Howard W. Taylor, Jr., a Baltimore businessman. The marriage ended in divorce. The couple had two children. Dorothy Layton died on June 4, 2009, at a retirement home in Towson, Maryland, aged 96.


Patricia "Boots" Mallory

October 22, 1913 – December 1, 1958  


Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mallory grew up in Mobile, Alabama, attended Murphy High School, and was working in the Lyric Theater as an usherette when the Ziegfeld Follies came to Mobile. Ziegfeld offered her a spot in his show. She eventually travelled to New York City where she made a strong impression in the Broadway production of the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931. 

Moving to Hollywood, she found employment with Fox Films and was cast in the film version of Dawn Powell's play “Walking Down Broadway”. This was the first sound film by Erich von Stroheim. He shared both screenwriting and directing credits and regarded Mallory as his discovery.

The play told the story of a young unmarried woman involved in a love triangle who becomes pregnant. The finished film, however, strongly suggested a lesbian relationship between Mallory's character and the character played by ZaSu Pitts. Other sexual themes involving the character played by James Dunn were considered too daring. Fox executives brought in director Alfred L. Werker to drastically cut Von Stroheim's version and to shoot additional scenes. The film was finally released under the new title “Hello, Sister!” (1933) with little promotion and was not a success. Von Stroheim's original version was neither copyrighted nor released, and is considered lost. In 1932 her second completed film, “Handle with Care”, also co-starring James Dunn, was released and marked her debut.  

A tall blonde, Mallory was well regarded for her striking looks and was photographed by such photographers as George Hurrell. However, she also posed for risque lingerie photographs, and was painted nude by the pin-up artist Rolf Armstrong. 

Over the next few years, Mallory played the lead in several "B" pictures, including the Rin Tin Tin feature “The Wolf Dog” (1933), and received top-billing in “Carnival Lady” (1934) and “The Big Race” (1934). She worked with James Cagney in a radio production for Lux Radio Theatre, but she had difficulty breaking into more prestigious productions. She made her final film appearance in an uncredited role in the Laurel and Hardy film “Swiss Miss” (1938). 

Mallory was first married at the age of sixteen, and by 1932 had married her second husband, film producer William Cagney, brother of actor James Cagney. She was married to actor Herbert Marshall from 1947 until her death from chronic throat disease in Santa Monica, California in 1958. 

Toshia Mori

(Toshia Ichioka)

January 1, 1912 – November 26, 1995


Born in Kyoto, Japan, Mori moved to the United States when she was ten years old. 

She began her film career in the late 1920s in silent films as a teenager. In “Mr. Wu” (1927) she was credited as Toshia Ichioka. In “Streets of Shanghai” (1927), she was credited as Toshiye Ichioka. In “The Man Without a Face” she was also credited as Toshiye Ichioka. (The film is presumed lost.) Finally, she entered the sound era as Toshia Mori. 

She played Miss Ling, in “The Hatchet Man” (1932). In the same year, she played another Chinese character, "Butterfly", in the “Roar of the Dragon”. An action-melodrama produced by David O. Selznick.  

In 1932, Toshia became the only Asian actress to be selected as a WAMPAS Baby Star because of Lillian Miles dropping out. The whole WAMPAS jamboree may have actually led to the most significant film role of her career. For shortly afterwards, she was in Frank Capra's film “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” (1933), playing a role which was scheduled for Anna May Wong at first. The script also featured a vital character, "Mah-Li", a concubine whose scheming throws a wrench into the plots and plans of those around her. Capra and Columbia Pictures, both extremely happy with her work, awarded her third billing. The final icing on the cake may have come from Time magazine's review: "Stanwyck is satisfactory … but the most noteworthy female member of the cast is Toshia Mori, a sloe-eyed Japanese girl…"  

She returned to minor characters in her subsequent films, in “The Painted Veil” (1934), starring Greta Garbo, she materializes as the centerpiece of "The Moon Festival" sequence. In “Chinatown Squad” (1935) she played "Wanda" In the 1930s she married a Chinese-American from San Francisco, Allen Jung. In “Charlie Chan at the Circus” (1936), she was credited as Shia Jung. She was Su Toy, a sexy contortionist unsuccessfully pursued by Lee Chan (Keye Luke). In “Charlie Chan on Broadway” in 1937. Lee (Keye Luke) gets himself hooked up with Ling Tse (Toshia Mori), pert employee of the Hottentot Club. This time she was credited as Tashia Mori. In “Port of Hate” (1939), she played Bo Chang. Again, credited as Shia Jung, she earned the film's best reviews. 

After her film career ended, she worked as a researcher for Robert Ripley on his short films, “Ripley's Believe It or Not”. She died in The Bronx, New York, aged 83. 

Ginger Rogers

(Virginia Katherine McMath)

July 16, 1911 – April 25, 1995


During her long career, she made a total of 73 films, and is noted for her role as Fred Astaire's romantic interest and dancing partner in a series of ten Hollywood musical films that revolutionized the genre. She also achieved success in a variety of film roles, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Kitty Foyle” (1940). 

Rogers was born in Independence, Missouri, the daughter of William Eddins McMath and his wife Lela Emogene Owens (1891–1977).Ginger's parents separated soon after her birth, and she and her mother went to live with her grandparents, Walter and Saphrona (née Ball) Owens, in nearby Kansas City. Rogers' parents fought over her custody, with her father even kidnapping her twice.  

After the parents divorced, Rogers stayed with her grandparents while her mother wrote scripts for two years in Hollywood

One of Rogers' young cousins, Helen, had a hard time pronouncing her first name, shortening it to "Ginga"; the nickname stuck. 

When Rogers was nine years old, her mother married John Logan Rogers. Ginger took the name of Rogers, though she was never legally adopted. They lived in Fort Worth, Texas. Her mother became a theater critic for a local newspaper, the Fort Worth Record. Ginger attended but did not graduate from Fort Worth's Central High School

As a teenager, Rogers thought of becoming a schoolteacher, but with her mother's interest in Hollywood and the theater, her early exposure to the theater increased. Waiting for her mother in the wings of the Majestic Theatre, she began to sing and dance along to the performers on stage. 

Rogers was an only child, and maintained a close relationship with her mother throughout her life. Lela Rogers (1891–1977), was a newspaper reporter, scriptwriter, and movie producer. She was also one of the first women to enlist in the Marine Corps, founded the successful "Hollywood Playhouse", for aspiring actors and actresses on the RKO set, and was a founder of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. Mother and daughter had an extremely close professional relationship as well. Lela Rogers was credited with many pivotal contributions to her daughter's early successes in New York and in Hollywood, not to mention contract negotiations with R.K.O. 

In her classic 1930s musicals with Astaire, Ginger Rogers not only was paid less than Fred (who also received 10% of the profits), but also less than many of the supporting actors. Like many actresses of the time, Ginger Rogers fought hard for her contract and salary rights, and for better films and scripts. She also found it necessary to fight for respect and dignity as an actress, and against the type casting as just a "dancing girl" that came with the territory in the studio system of the era. She succeeded in all these endeavors. 

Rogers' first marriage was to her dancing partner Jack Pepper (real name Edward Jackson Culpepper) on March 29, 1929. They divorced in 1931, having separated soon after the wedding. She married again in 1934 to actor Lew Ayres (1908–1996). At a time when Rogers' career was skyrocketing and Ayres' career was faltering, they separated and were amicably divorced (to Rogers' ongoing regret) seven years later. To add to Roger's woes in 1934, Rogers sued Sylvia of Hollywood for a $100K defamation suit. Sylvia, Hollywood's fitness guru and radio personality, had claimed that Rogers was on Sylvia’s radio show when, in fact, she was not. 

In 1940, Rogers purchased a 1000-acre ranch in Jackson County, Oregon between the cities of Shady Cove and Eagle Point. The ranch, located along the Rogue River, supplied dairy products to nearby Camp White, a cantonment established for the duration of World War II. While not performing or working on other projects, she would live at the ranch with her mother. 

In 1943, Rogers married her third husband, Jack Briggs, a Marine. Upon his return from World War II, Briggs showed no interest in continuing his incipient Hollywood career. They divorced in 1949. She married once again in 1953, a Frenchman, Jacques Bergerac, 16 years her junior, whom she met on a trip to Paris. A lawyer in France, he came to Hollywood with her and became an actor. They divorced in 1957. Her fifth and final husband was director and producer William Marshall. They married in 1961, and divorced in 1971, after his bouts with alcohol, and the financial collapse of their joint film production company in Jamaica

As an early Hollywood feminist she held an interest in directing and producing. In fact, Ginger Rogers starred in one of the earliest films co-directed and co-scripted by a woman: “Wanda Tuchock's Finishing School” in 1934. In 1985, Rogers fulfilled a long-standing wish to direct by directing the musical “Babes in Arms” off-Broadway in Tarrytown, New York, when she was 74 years old.  

In 1977, Rogers' mother died. Rogers remained at the 4-Rs (Rogers's Rogue River Ranch) until 1990, when she sold the property and moved to nearby Medford, Oregon. Her last public appearance was on March 18, 1995 when she received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award.  

For many years, Rogers regularly supported, and held in-person presentations, at the Craterian Theater, in Medford, Oregon, where she had performed in 1926 as a vaudevillian. The theater was comprehensively restored in 1997, and posthumously renamed in her honor, as the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater

Rogers would spend winters in Rancho Mirage and summers in Medford. She died in Rancho Mirage on April 25, 1995 of congestive heart failure at the age of 83. She was cremated; her ashes are interred in the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California, with Lela's, and just a short distance from the grave of Fred Astaire. 

Marian Shockley

October 10, 1911 — December 14, 1981


Born in Kansas City, Missouri, and sometimes known as Marion Shockley. From 1930 to 1934 she starred in nineteen films, all B-movies, including the 1931 western “Near the Trails End” opposite Bob Steele, and “Heroes of the Flames” that same year, starring opposite Tim McCoy. 

She continued auditioning for parts, receiving only one between 1934 and 1943. She played a small role in “Stage Door Canteen” (1943). 

She would have a couple of television roles following that, and retired from acting in 1953. She was a sister in law to Stuart Erwin and actress June Collyer, and was married to actor Bud Collyer until his death in 1969, and with whom she had three children. She died on December 14, 1981, aged 70.


Gloria Stuart

(Gloria Francis Stewart)

July 4, 1910 - September 2010


Over a Hollywood career that has spanned more than 70 years, Stuart appeared on stage, in television and film, and is best known for her roles as Claude Rains' sweetheart in “The Invisible Man” and as Old Rose in her Academy Award nominated role in the film “Titanic”. 

On July 4th, 1910, Gloria Frances Stewart was born in Santa Monica, a third generation Californian. Her mother, Alice Vaughn Stewart, was born in Angel's Camp. Her father, Frank Stewart, was an attorney representing many of the Chinese Tongs in San Francisco. Gloria's brother, Frank, came 11 months later...a second brother, Thomas, died in infancy.


Frank Stewart had been appointed a judge and was about to take the bench when he was hit by a car and died. Alice got a job in the Ocean Park U.S. Post Office to support her children, then accepted a proposal of marriage from Fred J. Finch, a rough-and-tumble Kentuckian who loved the horses, owned a local funeral parlor and oil leases in Texas. Gloria's half-sister, Patsy--Patricia Marie Finch--came along in 1914. Young Frank took Finch's name and became a noted sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times, following the Dodgers until his retirement. Frank Stewart was descended from royal Scots (Alice was related to Jesse James), but Gloria changed the spelling when she began her career because 'Stuart' fit better on a marquee. 

Gloria attended Santa Monica High School, graduating in 1927, then immediately ran off to Berkeley and the university. At Cal, she majored in drama and philosophy but dropped out in her junior year to marry Gordon Newell, a San Francisco sculptor working under Ralph Stackpole on the facade of the San Francisco Stock Exchange. The Newells lived a bohemian life in Carmel, were part of a circle of artists including Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Robinson Jeffers. Gloria acted at the Carmel playhouse and worked on the Carmel newspaper. Returning to Los Angeles, she appeared at the Pasadena Playhouse and was immediately signed to a contract by Universal Studios. Elegant, intelligent, and extraordinarily beautiful, she became a favorite of the English director, James Whale, appearing in his “The Old Dark House”, “The Kiss Before The Mirror”, and “The Invisible Man”. 

Stuart was an activist and became a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild, but her career with Universal was disappointing. She moved to 20th Century Fox, and by the end of the decade had appeared in forty-two films, including Busby Berkeley's “Gold Diggers of 1935” and “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”. Among the stars she appeared with were Melvyn Douglas, Lionel Barrymore, Dick Powell, Raymond Massey, Boris Karloff, and Shirley Temple. Stuart was a versatile female lead but was never given the roles that would make her a major star, a source of great frustration. 

In 1934, Stuart and Newell divorced amicably and she married screenwriter Arthur Sheekman, one of the writers on “Roman Scandals”. Sheekman was Groucho Marx's best friend and was collaborating-sometimes without credit-on Marx Brothers movies. The Sheekmans' daughter, Sylvia, was born in 1935, and in 1939, both between commitments, Stuart convinced her husband they should travel around the world. When they reached France, they tried to volunteer for the French Resistance, but were turned down, so they caught the last ship sailing to New York. They decided to stay in New York and work in the theater, Stuart's first love. In the next few years, Sheekman wrote several plays (two with George S. Kaufman) and Stuart got roles mostly in summer stock, including Emily to Thornton Wilder's Stage Manager in “Our Town”. When Sheekman's third play flopped, they returned to Hollywood, and he was hired by Paramount Pictures. Stuart took singing lessons and toured the country entertaining the troops in hospitals and selling war bonds. In 1946, Stuart turned her talent to art. She had discovered decoupage and soon opened a small shop called Décor, Ltd, where she sold the lamps, tables, chests and other objects d'art of decoupage she created. Sheekman wrote seventeen screenplays in the next sixteen years. 

Then in 1954, with Sylvia away at Berkeley, the Sheekmans decided to join a number of friends who were living abroad. They settled in Rapallo on the Italian Riviera. Inspired by the success of the primitive paintings of Grandma Moses, Stuart took up oil painting. She loved it, worked as hard as she had at acting, and her first one-woman show at the Hammer Galleries in New York all but sold out. 

In 1975, after twenty-nine years away from acting, with her husband in a nursing home suffering from what was then called "pre-senile dementia," Gloria got herself an agent and hoped for work. Over the next few years she appeared in small parts in television but could not get a movie. Then in 1982 came an offer for a role as a gray-haired dowager taking a solitary turn around a dance floor with a gorgeous Peter O'Toole in “My Favorite Year”. Only a few minutes on the screen and no lines Gloria was still elegant and a beauty and O'Toole's eyes shimmer. 

During this period, Gloria took up the Japanese art of bonsai, became the first Anglo member of the California Bonsai Society. And she began to travel again, going with friends or on her own to Europe, India, Africa and the Balkans. Arthur died in 1978. Five years later, Gloria became reacquainted with the esteemed California printer, Ward Ritchie (The Ward Ritchie Press), whom she had known in her college years. Ward's wife had died and he looked Gloria up. They fell in love. She was fascinated by his antique hand press and asked him to teach her how to run it. Soon she put away her oil paints and bought her own hand press. She established "Imprenta Glorias," and began creating artists' books (books hand-made, labor intensive, usually with a very limited run). Gloria wrote the text, designed the book, set the type, printed the pages, and finished pages with water colors or silk screen or her old friend, decoupage. Books from Imprenta Glorias are in the Metropolitan Museum, Library of Congress, Huntington Library, J. Paul Getty Museum, Morgan Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, Bibliothèque nationale de France, and numerous private and university collections. No longer able to work with small type and a large heavy press, she gave her press and sets of rare type to Mills College. Stuart and Ritchie kept company (each in their own house) until his death from cancer in 1996. 

Not long after Ritchie's death, Stuart landed the character of Old Rose, at the heart of James Cameron's epic “Titanic”. Stuart was among those nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award, and she was the oldest nominee ever for an Oscar. 

Stuart published her autobiography, “I Just Kept Hoping”, in 1999, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000. Her last appearance on film was a role in Wim Wenders “Land of Plenty” in 2004, and she has since given numerous filmed and audio interviews. Stuart continued to work at her artist's books, finishing a miniature about a time when she was in Berkeley, called “I Dated J. Robert Oppenheimer”. 

Dorothy Wilson

November 14, 1909 - January 7, 1998  


Wilson was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, moving to Los Angeles, California after her high school graduation. Ironically, she had no interest in acting, and had moved to Los Angeles due to an urge to travel. In 1930 she began working as a secretary, and applied at several employment agencies. She received a job at RKO Pictures, and for two years she worked there as a secretary.


While often taking notes for director Gregory La Cava, he noticed her and had her do a screen test for his upcoming 1932 film “The Age of Consent”. She won one of the two lead coed roles, placing her opposite Richard Cromwell. Her performance in the film received good reviews. She would go on to star opposite some of Hollywood's biggest names, to include Harold Lloyd, Richard Dix, Tom Keene, Preston Foster and Will Rogers.  

She would star in twenty films between 1932 to 1937. 

In 1936 she had married scriptwriter Lewis R. Foster, whom she had met while filming the 1934 movie “Eight Girls in a Boat”. Foster would win an Oscar for his script “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, released in 1939 and starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur, and based on Foster's book “The Gentleman From Montana”. She would star in only two films after the marriage, her last being the 1937 film “Speed to Spare”, after which she retired from acting to devote time to her family. She returned to acting only once which was an uncredited role in the 1943 film “Whistling in Brooklyn”. However, she was asked to test for the part of "Melanie Hamilton" in the epic movie “Gone With the Wind”, which she did, but she did not win the role, with it being awarded to Olivia de Havilland.  

She and Foster remained together, and raised a family of two children. She died in 1974. She never remarried, and was residing in Lompoc, California at the time of her death on January 7, 1998.

Last Update

August 2, 2011