Tuesday, October 09, 2007

One in Nine
While on vacation in Los Angeles I visited the Forever Hollywood cemetery. It's a great place. Everyone from Valentino to Jane Mansfield is buried there. While walking through the grounds I passed grave after grave and I wondered how many of these people came out to Hollywood searching after their dream to be a movie star. The road to stardom is littered with broken hearts.

In September of 1937 Life Magazine posed the same question. They featured nine starlets and said the chances of becoming a star are 100,000 to 1. Who will be the star and make $200,000 a year?

Olympe Bradna. A former Folies-Bergere dancer, there not a whole lot of information on Olympe except that it seems she's still alive. She burst on the screen made 14 movies and then disappeared into that land where hopeful starlets go when they reach a certain age. Her last movie was in 1941 at the age of 21.

This photo of her rubbing her eye is an odd choice to show off her "whole lotta umph" .

Barbara Read, started in 3 Smart Girls with Deanna Durbin. I love that film, but I don't really remember her in it; Deanna steals the show. Her last movie, a Randolph Scott horse drama, Coroner Creek, was in 1949. She died in 1963 at the age of 43.

Lynne Carver (left) began in ingenue roles and then like all actresses who hadn't gotten that big break started doing a string of westerns; Her last movie was in 1953. She died at age 46.

Fox's Darryl Zanuck was promoting June Lang (right) to be a star. However she had to give up her career when she married mobster John "Handsome Johnny" Roselli . The studio fired her over bad publicity. The last role she did was in 1961 in a episode of The Detectives. She died in 2005 at the age of 88. Imagine the stories she could tell.

Phyllis Brooks fared very well in life, if not in the movies. Her last role being an episode of Suspense in 1952. She married Congressman, Torbert H. Macdonald of Massachusetts and was well known as a political socialite. Her eldest son's godfather was John F. Kennedy. She died in 1995 at the age of 80.

Judy Garland. This photo is unglamourous compared to the other girls. Dear Judy. We all know her tragic story too well. She did make over the $200,000 that was predicted; In 1948, with The Pirate, Easter Parade and Words and Music she made a total of $400,000. She died in 1969 at the age of 47. In a way she wins this competition. She just didn't make it too far past the finish line.

Virginia Grey. The most prolific of all these actresses, with 143 film appearances. She worked steadily in every sort of genre from comedy (The Women) to westerns (Wyoming), continuing on television until her retirement in 1976. She had a noted and long affair with Clark Gable. According to gossip she never married because she continued to pine for Clark. She died in 2004 at the age of 87.

Gloria Dickson. A sad story. She died at the age of 27 in a house fire. The only movie that she played in I've ever seen was 'Lady of the Burlesque' starring Barbara Stanwyck. On occasion it pops up in the dollar bins at Walgreen's. Ironically one of the last roles she played was a pyromaniac.

Ann Miller, never a huge star on the screen, but of all the girls the one with the longest and most successful of careers. Starring in many of the MGM Musicals, and then have a success on the stage during the 70s and 80s. So many great moments come to mind when I think of Ann Miller. She lights up the screen in On the Town and Kiss Me Kate. She was also known for her Merv and Love Boat appearances. Her large, black cement helmet of hair being a trademark. Here is Ann in On the Town. Just look at those gams. She died at age 81 in 2004.

To quote the Kinks: "...Some that you recognize,
some that you hardly even heard of;
People who worked and suffered and struggled for fame,
Some who succeeded, and some who suffered in vain..." *


Charlene said...

Are you sure about Lynne Carter? IMDb seems to think she married William Talman (of Perry Mason fame) and had a long career on the stage.


Also, I love how Barbara Read comes from "Port Arthur, Canada". That should be Port Arthur, Ontario, since there were seven or eight Port Arthurs in Canada. (It's sort of like saying someone lives in Portland, USA.)

Her PA is now part of the city of Thunder Bay.

Johnny C said...

Charlene: This is why I guess newspapers have editors... I meant to write Lynne Carver (duly corrected and changed). There was a small burb about them, but it was awkwardly placed so it was difficult to add to the post. I know that's here because it says she is appearing in Maytime.

Thanks for posting. I put this up because I knew you'd appreciate it. My fellow "what happened to them" friend.

Charlene said...

Now that makes more sense.

Oh, now this is interesting: the IMDB and most other sources have her born in 1909, but her own tombstone has her born in 1916 and dying at only 38.

Amazing that four of them didn't make it to 50 but five made it past 80.

Charlene said...

By the way, Olympe Bradna retired in 1941 to marry a rich California industrialist. Her son is now the CEO of a small-town California chamber of commerce.

The Internet is powerful - sometimes scarily so.

Johnny C said...

Concerning Lynne... that makes sense because I thought that she looked younger than 28 years old in the photo. And glad that Olympe seemed to have/is having a happy life.

Aaron said...

I wonder how much of that $400,000 Judy Garland actually saw...?

Ricardo said...

Lynne Carver came to Hollywood after winning a beauty-contest.
She was a Goldwyn girl and a bit player in Movies for a few years.
In 1937,she married Nicholas Nayfack,who was the nephew of famous MGM studio chief Nicholas Schenck.
From then on,Lynne played big parts in A-MGM-movies.
After her 1942 divorce,her career quickly declined.
A come-back failed,because of poor health.
She died after along illness in 1955.

Johnny C said...

Richardo: Thanks for clearing that up about Lynne Carver...

Sports_nut said...

While viewing several 1940's TCM trailers, I saw Lynn Carver in supporting roles, found her very attractive and wondered about her career, learning later that her career faded later due to health problems, which led to an early death.

Death at a young age is always sad and I wonder if anyone knows what health problems led to her early demise.

Site is very interesting, by the way, because I really enjoy 1940's movie trivia.

Thanks for your time and have a good one.