Monday, December 15, 2014

Bathing Beauties X

Mary Akin was born on June 24, 1901 in Evansville, Indiana. She was the second child born to Ransom Lee Akin and his second wife, Carrie Josepha Hoxsey. The couple had another daughter Margery Maurine a few years earlier. Akin also had I believe three older sons from a previous marriage. He passed away in 1907.
Mary had a busy few years before she made her way to Hollywood. She moved with her mother and sister to Chicago and when she was a teenager she began working as an artist's model and also entered and won a local beauty contest. It was here too that she met her first husband, Thomas Armstrong, who she married in the late 1910's/early 1920's. 
The marriage did not last long at all and Mary (and most likely her mother) wanted out of it quick! So, mother and daughter moved to Mexico in order to establish residency so they could obtain a Mexican divorce. Mary had also met the man who would be her second husband, and another reason for a quick push for a divorce. Director Edwin Carewe was down in Mexico filming and he spotted the almost 20 years younger, Mary. When her divorce was final in 1925, the couple was married in a double wedding with friends Claire Windsor and Bert Lytell. They had a daughter, Sally Ann born later that year and son, William was born two years later. The couple ended up divorcing in 1928 when rumors began circulating that Carewe was having an affair with his newest discovery, actress Dolores Del Rio. There has never been any proof of an affair but all the time Carewe seemed to spending with his new protege was enough for Mary to end their marriage. HOWEVER, there must have still been love in the air because the couple eventually remarried in 1929 and had another daughter, Carol Lee in 1932. They remained married until Carewe's death in 1940. 
Mary's film career spanned from 1924 until 1942 with around 11 film credits. Seems like she was more well known for being Carewe's wife rather than a Bathing Beauty. Two years after retiring from films she married architect Gerard Rea Colcord and the two remained married until either he or she passed away (I don't know what year he died).
Mary passed away on November 12, 1954 in Los Angeles. She was buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale.
"Nothing seems important to me but to make a comfortable and cheerful home for my husband and baby and I know I could never do that if I had to come home in the evening all fagged out after a strenuous day at the studio." ~~ Mary Akin Carewe to Motion Picture Magazine, explaining her reasoning behind taking a break from acting to have a family. (February 1926)


Eugenia Gilbert was born Eugenia Knapp on November 18, 1902 in East Orange, New Jersey. 
She made her film debut in 1920 and appeared in over 60 films/shorts until retiring in 1929. She sometimes appeared under the name "Eugenie Gilbert." Besides being a Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty, she also played vamp roles and was an accomplished ballet dancer. In 1923, she won a "Bathing Girl Parade" contest and had the chance to meet Charlie Chaplin, who I am sure LOVED his job as a judge. After she retired from Hollywood, she worked as a model in various fashion shows throughout the 1930's.
Eugenia passed away on December 8, 1978 in Santa Monica, California. 
I know she was at least married once, to a man with the surname of "Endes," but I don't have any information other than that. 


Kathryn Stanley was born on November 12, 1897 in Illinois. 
She made her film debut in 1925 and appeared in 50 films/shorts until she retired in 1934. She also worked as a stand in for a number of actresses including Jane Wyatt and her close friend, Irene Dunne. 
Kathryn passed away on April 17, 1978 in Los Angeles. 

Beulah Sunshine was born Beulah Clara Harwell on March 15, 1894 in Ellis, Texas. She was the youngest child born to James Noah Harwell, an oil salesman, and his wife, Louisa Abernathy. Beulah had two older brothers, Merrett and Cole. 
I don't know much about her early life except that in 1910 she was living in a Los Angeles boarding house. She married tailor and Russian immigrant, Morris Sunshine in 1912 and gave birth to their son, Paul in 1920. The couple remained married until Morris's death in 1959.
The unfortunate thing about Beulah is that she is not listed on IMDb so I don't know what all her career consisted of. She was a Bathing Beauty because she is in a number of pictures, but I am not sure if she was just uncredited or working under a different name. It is a shame that we can't find a record of her career. 
Beulah passed away on December 22, 1970 in Sutter, Texas. She was buried next to her husband in Sutter Cemetery.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bathing Beauties IX

Betty Bird was born Hilde Elisabeth Ptack on June 18, 1901 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. Her father's name was Ludwig Ptack, but I am not sure of her mother's name. Her father worked for a film studio in Austria and it was through him that she got her break into the flickers. She made her film debut in 1924 and made around eight pictures for American studios, including Sennett. She later went back to Austria and appeared in at least 30 more films until she retired in 1935. Her Bathing Beauty image worked for her off screen as well because she was known as the "Venice Beauty Queen" (and I am thinking this is the Venice in Italy, not Venice in California). 
She was married twice. Her first husband was director Gustav Ucicky who she was married to from 1923 until 1936. Her second husband was an Italian dentist with the last name of "Hruska."
Betty passed away in 1998 in Italy. I do not know where she is buried, but I am assuming it is in Europe.


Nancy Cornelius was born Nancy Katherine Cornelius on February 21, 1911 in Westchester County, New York. She was the second child born to Alfred Cornelius, an importer, and his wife, Constance. Brother William was born four years before her. 
Nancy's film career began in 1927 and she appeared in around 10 films and shorts before retiring in 1933. It was during this time that she also won a Miss Hollywood contest. After she retired from screen acting, she began touring the vaudeville circuit with fellow silent film actors, Al St. John and Kenneth Harlan.
I read that she was married twice, but I can't find any information on her reported first husband, Lawrence Erie Smith. I know she did marry Jerome Safron, district manager for Columbia Pictures, in 1933. The couple would eventually have twin daughters, Nancy Katherine and Patricia Ann. I am not sure when they divorced, but I know they eventually did because Safron would go on to marry actress Joi Lansing in 1950. I am not sure whether or not Nancy ever married again. 
Nancy passed away on June 6, 1983 in Los Angeles. I don't know where she is buried.


Ruth King was born on September 10, 1898 in Iowa. There is a bit of confusion about her family history and even her career. I read that her great nephew was wondering if his great-aunt may be getting confused with another actress by that name because the above picture didn't seem to match the ones he had seem previously. So, I am not sure what all is true and what is just...whatever it is! Anyway, according to Ruth's nephew, "King" was actually the name of her step-father because her father was a minister and would not have approved of his daughter becoming an actress.
Her career lasted from 1917 until 1926, appearing in 23 films. Her most famous film appearance was with Lon Chaney in his 1924 film, He Who Gets Slapped. 
She was married at least once, to a man named Ward Roy Hamilton from 1917 until 1926. I do not know if she ever remarried.
Ruth passed away on February 27, 1946 in Los Angeles, California. I do not know where she is buried. 


Irene Tyner was born on March 4, 1898 in Pennsylvania. I unfortunately do not know anything about her family history or her early life.
Her film career lasted for only a year, from 1917 until 1918 and she appeared in roughly six shorts. She did have the distinction of appearing in a few of Harold Lloyd's early Lonesome Luke shorts. 
Irene passed away on March 10, 1950 in Los Angeles, California. I do not know where she is buried. 


Elsie Ware was born Elsie Wareham on March 16, 1900 in Thorne, England, UK. She may have been the only child born to Charles and Edith Wareham, but I can't find any information on their family.
Like a few other Bathing Beauties, Elsie was an accomplished swimmer and frequently won trophies in various aquatic events. Her Hollywood career was slim. In a span of ten years (1919-1929) she was only credited for appearing in six film shorts. She did double for Viola Dana in a few films though.
Her life after Hollywood is pretty much a mystery. I know that she was married to a man named Charles Woit in 1927, but I don't know how long the marriage lasted. I don't even know when she died. I mean, she was born in 1900...I find it hard to believe that she is still alive. 


Maude Wayne was born Maude Wehn on March 26, 1895 in Beatrice, Nebraska. She was the youngest child born to Lou Wehn and Maria Jane Maccathron. Her brother, Richard (born Earl Albert) was twelve years older and also worked as an actor in Hollywood. She also had three older sisters, F.J. (how it appears in the census), Hellen, and Lourie. 
Her career lasted from 1917 until 1927 with about 40 credited screen appearances in shorts and films. In 1928 she married silent screen leading man, Johnnie Walker, but they eventually divorced in 1936. I don't believe she married again because she was buried under her married name.
Maude passed away on October 10, 1983 in Los Angeles, California. She is buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale near her mother. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bathing Beauties VIII

Lillian Biron (or Byron) was born September 2, 1898 in Kansas. Not much is known about her, at least that I could dig up. I know her career began in 1917 and lasted until 1928 with 50 films and shorts. She passed away on December 23, 1957 in Los Angeles. 


Yvonne Howell was born Julia Rose Shevlin on July 31, 1905 in Chicago, Illinois. She was the only child born to vaudeville and silent comedy star, Alice Howell and her husband Richard Howell (Also used the name Richard Smith...gets a bit confusing). 
I have seen Yvonne listed as both a Sennett Bathing Beauty and as a Century Follies Girl, which...I don't think the latter really caught on. According to a 1924 magazine article, Yvonne deemed herself as the youngest and most beautiful of the Follies girls. Not self conscious at all, is she?
Yvonne first entered pictures in 1924 and appeared in roughly 11 films until she retired in 1931. After she retired, she worked as a nurse's aide during WWII and later as a tutor. 
She met her future husband, director George Stevens on the set of a film when Stevens rescued Yvonne and another actress from a runaway horse and carriage. How story book! The couple married in 1930 and she gave birth to their son, George Jr. in 1932. Unfortunately, the couple ended up divorcing in 1947.
Yvonne passed away on May 27, 2010 in Hollywood. She is buried between her mother and her ex husband at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills.


Muriel Montrose was born Muriel Virginia Montrose on May 27, 1906 in Denver, Colorado. She was the oldest child born to James Montrose, a grocer, and his wife, Alice Anders. Her brother, James Jr., was born four years after her. He also reportedly worked briefly in Hollywood in the sound department, but I can't find any record of that. He died in 1949 from MS.
The Montrose family moved to Hollywood in the 1920's and Muriel began attending Hollywood High School. It was while attending school that she also began working at Sennett Studios as a Bathing Beauty, a stand-in for Clara Bow, and as one of the studio's first stunt women. Her credited film career was not long at all, only four films between 1925 and 1927. 
She married John Stephens Dow in 1928. The couple had two sons, Dion in 1931 and Tony in 1945. Tony Dow would later become famous as Wally Cleaver in the television show, Leave it to Beaver. Muriel worked as her son's personal manager. She also worked creating ornamental wreaths and arrangements for Bloomingdale's. Muriel and Dow remained married until his death in 1987. After her husband's death, Muriel became a local celebrity in her neighborhood. She was nicknamed, "The Cookie Lady" because she handed out cookies to the local children every day (EVERY. DAY.) She also enjoyed reading, gardening, listening to music and reportedly always dressed in white. Sounds like she turned into a mixture of Emily Dickinson and Mrs. Claus. I approve.
Muriel passed away on April 30, 2001 in Canoga Park, California. I believe her ashes were scattered at sea near Catalina. 


Myrtle Reeves was born Myrtle Lee Reeves on January 15, 1897 in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the second child born to William and Maggie Reeves. Her sister, Mary was two years older. She lived with her sister for awhile in California during the 1920's according to census records. 
Myrtle made her film debut in 1915, appearing in around 16 films and shorts until she retired in 1920. What Myrtle is most remembered for, even now, is that she was married to comedian Oliver Hardy from 1921 until 1937. Reportedly, the marriage was rocky from almost the beginning. I have heard different reasons as to why their union was so unhappy, from Myrtle's reported alcoholism, to Hardy's infidelity. The reports of her alcoholism makes the fact that her nickname was "Happy" a little bit, well, sad. She never remarried after the divorce.
Myrtle passed away on January 18, 1983 in Garden Grove, California. I read that she could be buried in Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach, California.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bathing Beauties VII

Ruth Hiatt was born Ruth Redfern on January 6, 1906 in Cripple Creek, Colorado. I am not sure of her father's name, but I do know that her mother's name was Donna and that she had a brother named Don. I'm sensing a theme...
When she was still a child, her family moved to San Diego and it was here that the ball really got rolling for Ruth's future. She soon began acting on stage and made her film debut at age nine in 1915. She took a break from acting to return to school and graduate. She was soon snatched up by actor Lloyd Hamilton who became her frequent costar. 
In 1923 she won a Venice Beach bathing beauties contest and the following year she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star. She modeled fur for a Los Angeles furrier and once told a magazine that she maintained her figure by adhering to a rigorous exercise regimen and strict diet of lamp chops and pineapple. Busy and determined girl, eh?
 Besides being eye candy and a Bathing Beauty, she was also well known for appearing in the "Smith Family" serials from 1926-1928 with Raymond McKee and Mary Ann Jackson.
Her film career lasted until 1941 with 106 film credits. After she retired she opened up and ran her own make-up business. She would eventually marry three times but the only information I have on her husbands is that one was a rancher and one had the surname of French. 
Ruth passed away on April 21, 1994 in Montrose, California. She is buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale. 


Marion McDonald was born on May 14, 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri. Now, if I have all the census records aligned and correct, she was one of eight children born to Robert McDonald, a salesman, and his wife Lois Burger. Eventually her family moved to Boston and then from there they (or at least Marion) headed out to California. 
Her career lasted from 1920 until 1927, averaging about a film a year. She was married at least once, to Stephen Quinerly in 1925. The couple had two children, Sally in 1928 and Bobby in 1929. The couple remained married until his death in 1945.
Marion passed away from cancer on October 20, 1956 in Miami Beach, Florida. She was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Miami. 


Edith Roberts was born Edith Josephine Roberts on September 17, 1899 in New York City. 
Her family history is a wee bit confusing. I read that her sister was actress Leona Roberts (famous for playing Mrs. Meade in Gone with the Wind) but Leona's birth name is listed as being Leona Harneteaux on And Leona was quite a bit older than Edith, which isn't unusual, but still...However, I have also read that her father's name was Dr. John Armstrong, who was killed either in an African expedition or in a train crash. As far as her mother goes, all I know is that Edith once told a magazine that her mother had prayed for a talented daughter before Edith's birth. I'm sure the truth is in there somewhere!
Reportedly she grew up on the same street as King Baggot and remembered seeing him drive up and down the street in his nice car. During this same time she began acting and dancing on the vaudeville stage. She had been bitten by the acting bug!
Edith's film career lasted from 1915 until 1929 with over 150 film credits. She took a break from the screen to appear briefly with Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolic. 
Edith was married twice. Her first marriage was to M. Kenneth Snookes in 1923, but not sure until when. Her second husband was Harold Carter who she remained married to until her death. The couple had one son, Robert in 1935 and I can only hope that Edith at least had a chance to see and hold him...
Edith passed away on August 20, 1935 from septicimia after giving birth to her son. She was interred at Hollywood Forever. 
Her death was a classic example of the Hollywood tale that celebrities die in groups of three. Will Rogers had been killed in a plane crash five days before Edith's death, and actress Marjorie White died in a car accident the day after. Edith believed in the supernatural and the after life (she told a magazine that she frequently got messages from her father from beyond the grave) so I wonder what she would say about this group of deaths. 


Sybil Seely was born Sybil Travilla on January 2, 1900 in Los Angeles. She was the second youngest born to Harry Travilla and Lucie Ellen Boyker. In the 1900 census, her older siblings were listed as Edith, Guy, Elaine, John and Ford while Sybil was simply listed as "NOT NAMED YET." Younger sister Connie came along four years after Sybil.
Besides being a Bathing Beauty, Sybil is most well known for being a frequent leading lady of Buster Keaton's. She starred with him in five films: One Week (1920), Convict 13 (1920), The Scarecrow (1921), The Boat (1921), and her final feature, The Frozen North (1922). She really stood out among Keaton's other leading ladies because Sybil was not afraid to perform her own stunts. 
Sybil only married once, to writer Jules Furthman from 1920 until his death in 1966. They had one son, Jules Jr. in 1921. 
Sybil passed away on June 26, 1984 in Culver City, California. She was buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December Birthdays!

New month, new stars!

I will be back soon with another installment of the Bathing Beauties series. I am so glad everyone is enjoying them!

Lois Meredith ~ December 3, 1890

Lillian Russell ~ December 4, 1860

Vedah Bertram ~ December 4, 1891

Edna Payne ~ December 5, 1891

Grace Moore ~ December 5, 1898

Virginia Lee Corbin ~ December 5, 1910

William S. Hart ~ December 6, 1864

Kathryn McGuire ~ December 6, 1903

Marcella Albani ~ December 7, 1899

Neva Gerber ~ December 8, 1891

Clarine Seymour ~ December 9, 1898

Carol Dempster ~ December 9, 1901

Rhea Mitchell ~ December 10, 1890

Vivienne Osborne ~ December 10, 1896

Gilbert Roland ~ December 11, 1905

Sally Eilers ~ December 11, 1908

Owen Moore ~ December 12, 1884

Buck Jones ~ December 12, 1891

Madeline Hurlock ~ December 12, 1899

Edna Marion ~ December 12, 1906

Thelma Hill ~ December 12, 1906

Katherine MacDonald ~ December 14, 1881

Mary Kornman ~ December 15, 1915

Max Linder ~ December 16, 1883

Stacia Napierkowska ~ December 16, 1886

Barbara Kent ~ December 16, 1907

Gladys Cooper ~ December 18, 1888

Mary Nolan ~ December 18, 1905

Pauline Curley ~ December 19, 1903

Winifred Bryson ~ December 20, 1892

Lissy Arna ~ December 20, 1900

Edith Taliaferro ~ December 21, 1893

Elinor Fair ~ December 21, 1903

Edna Goodrich ~ December 22, 1883

Ann Pennington ~ December 23, 1893

Mildred June ~ December 23, 1905

Octavia Handworth ~ December 24, 1887

Eugenie Besserer ~ December 25, 1868

Evelyn Nesbit ~ December 25, 1884

John Bowers ~ December 25, 1885

Marlene Dietrich ~ December 27, 1901

Edna Flugrath ~ December 30, 1892

Virginia Davis ~ December 31, 1918