Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Favorite Classic Movie Stars - BARBARA LAMARR

Barbara LaMarr was born with the name Reathea Dale Eatson on July 28th, 1896 in Yakima, Washington. She is most known for being an American stage and motion picture actress, cabaret artist and screenwriter.

LaMarr was born to William Wallace and Rosana "Rose" Watson. Her father was an editor of a newspaper and her mother was previously married. Rose had a son Henry and a daughter Violet from her first marriage. Her and William were married in 1884 and they had William Watson Jr. in June of 1886, in Washington. He would later , in the 1920's became a semi-famous vaudeville comedian under the stage name of "Bill Devore".

The Watsons lived in various locations during LaMarr's formative years. By 1900, three year old Reathea was living with her parents in Portland, Oregon with her brother William, her half sister Violet and Violet's husband Arvel Ross.

By 1910, Lamarr was living in Fresno, California with her parents. Sometime after 1911, the family moved to the Los Angeles area and settled in Burbank, California. In January of 1913, LaMarr's half sister Violet (now going by the name of Violet Ake), took her then sixteen year old sister on a three day automobile excursion with a man named C.C. Boxley. They drove up to Santa Barbara, California from Los Angeles, but after a few days LaMarr felt that they were not going to let her return home to Los Angeles. Ake and Boxley finally let LaMarr return home after they realized that there was a warrant out for their arrest, accusing them of abduction. This episode was published in several newspapers and LaMarr even testified against her sister, but nothing came of the case. The District Attorney could not prove that LaMarr was taken against her will.

Having the flair for drama, her name would be kept constantly in newspaper headlines during the next few years. Therefore, at the tender age of sixteen, she had already earned herself a scandalous reputation. In November of 1913, she came back from Arizona and announced that she was the newly widowed wife of a rancher named Jack Lytell, and that they were supposedly married in Mexico. As legend goes Lytell became enamored of LaMarr's devastating beauty as he saw her one day riding in an automobile while he was out on horseback. He rode up to her car and swept her up onto his horse and rode off with her. They were married the next day.

After marrying and moving with her husband to New York City, she found employment writing screenplays and her association with movie makers led her back to Los Angeles and making her film debut as an actress in 1920. Over the next few years she acted frequently in film and was widely publicized as 'The Most Beautiful Girl in the World". With this, she rapidly shot to stardom.

LaMarr's made the successful leap from screenwriting to actress in Douglas Fairbanks "The Nut" in 1921, and appeared in over thirty films, wrote seven successful screenplays for United Artists and Fox Studios and danced in musical comedies on Broadway.

Although her film career flourished, she also embraced the fast paced Hollywood night life, remarking in an interview that she slept no more than two hours a night as life was too short to waste on sleep.

During this time, she became addicted to heroin and her addiction combined with her busy social life and grueling work commitments took a toll on her health. She died suddenly on January 30th, 1926 at the age of 29 from tuberculosis and nephritis in Altadena, California, and was interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The newspapers of the day referred to her as "The Girl too Beautiful to Live".

LaMarr married for the first time at age seventeen and was ultimately married five times. At the time of her death she was married to actor Jack Dougherty.

Some years after her death it was revealed that she had mothered an illegitimate son by a man whose name has never been revealed. The child; Marvin Carville LaMarr was adopted after her death by the actress ZuSu Pitts and her husband, film executive, Tom Gallery. The child was renamed Don Gallery and grew up to become an actor and a sometime boyfriend of Elizabeth Taylor. He now lives in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico.

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