Wednesday, October 01, 2014

"Va Va Voom" Star of the Day

Barbara La Marr 
Born as Reatha Dale Watson, this becoming silent film star got her start in vaudeville as a comedian named "Billy Devore."  She made headlines when she accused her half-sister of kidnapping her on a three-day car trip.  Charges were dropped, but the publicity was electric and her career soared.

La Marr found employment writing screenplays at Fox studios using the name "Folly Lytell". Mingling amongst filmakers and being on set led to her film debut in 1920. Her film career spanned only a brief 6 years, but during the time she made received an MGM contract and made over 30 films, as well as produced and wrote for others. She also endorsed celebrity perfume and designed hats.  The studio widely publicized her as "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World."

She was married a total of 5 times; her first marriage was when she was only 17.  Her second marriage was to a man whom was already married, unbeknownst to her. The day following the illegal nuptials, the groom was arrested and while in jail, he repeatedly banged his head on his cell wall while calling for La Marr and knocked himself unconscious.  Her third marriage ended in divorce when he was arrested for check fraud.

Despite being constantly married, La Marr knew how to party.  She was quoted as saying, "Life is too short to waste on sleep," as partying took up most of her time and she restricted her slumber to a mere two hours. She began abusing drugs and alcohol as well developed a cocaine and heroin habit.  But her innocent face kept her out of serious legal trouble.  She was picked up one night by police and brought in front of a juvenile court judge, but the judge promptly sent her home because he deemed her too beautiful and young to be on her own in the big city.  A Hearst newspaper writer picked up the story, calling her "The Girl Who Is Too Beautiful."
Her lifestyle eventually began to affect her career and she was dropped by MGM.  As her career declined, she developed health problems.  At only 29 years old, she died of tuberculosis.

La Marr has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution in motion pictures. It is located at 1621 Vine Street.

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