Monday, April 6, 2015

Jeanne Eagels



Born: June 26, 1890

Died: October 3, 1929

Aged: 39 years-accidental overdose(maybe)

Real Name: Eugenia Amelia Eagles

Married: twice-2nd to college football star, Ted Coy

Affairs: Arthur Fiedler (he said she was the love of his life), John Gilbert, Prince of Wales

Famous Friend: Clifton Webb

She was the Meryl Streep of her day! Temperamental diva who was a major star on stage, wowed film audiences and is now almost totally forgotten. Came from a very poor family. She left and toured with an acting troupe in tent shows. Married one of the actors and had a child but gave the child up for adoption. She was noticed by the famous David Belasco who got her into Broadway and the Ziegfeld Follies. She rose to stardom playing Sadie Thompson in "Rain" on Broadway and was a huge hit! She played this role for a total of 1,500 performances and people, in the theatre, still talk about her great performance. Of course, Hollywood beckoned and, even though she made a couple of films in the teens, she did not take Hollywood by storm until the 1920's. Unfortunately, her temperament, anxieties, alcohol and drug use was getting in the way. Her great friend Clifton Webb almost married her, even though he was gay, but his mommy stopped him (they were very close). They remained the closest of friends until her untimely death. Due to her wild ways and diva style she was banned from the theatre for 15 months. Due to the harsh lights used in early cinema she developed  "Klieg Eyes" and needed minor surgery to correct it. Some time later she went back to the hospital and was in very poor shape. She died and her death was ruled accidental overdose due to either Chloral hydrate or cocaine or heroin. One can also find sources claiming she committed suicide. There are also sources stating she was given something to calm down and this reacted negatively to what was already in her system and this is what killed her. One will never know. She is the first person nominated for an Academy Award posthumously.

Oscar Nomination: "The Letter"

Films: "The Cross Bearers", "Man, Woman and Sin", "Jealousy"


Quote: "I'm the greatest actress in the world and the greatest failure and nobody gives a damn"

54 comments:

  1. Great post. I have never heard of her.

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  2. The only reason I know about her is from seeing the movie "Jeanne Eagels" with Kim Novak. I vaguely remember seeing "The Letter" many, many years ago.

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    1. I have heard that film is horrible and not much of it is true

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    2. The movie wasn't very good but I never knew it was based on a real person. Probably cause I had never heard of her.

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  3. I had never heard of Jeanne Eagels before this post - so thank you for the fascinating insight into her life.

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  4. First I've herd of her, Sounds like all the mixture of stuff she took an was given brought about her end.

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  5. Oh how interesting! I hadn't heard of her either, beautiful woman, sad she died so young no matter how it happened. Interesting too the child she put up for adoption.

    betty

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    1. It is sad and nobody knows whatever happened to the child

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  6. Sadly, it sounds like she was a mess. So young.

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  7. This is one I didn't know about! Why is it so many creative people make such bad decisions about life?

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  8. She looked beautiful. Makes you wonder what could have happened if she had lasted into the "talkie" era.

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    1. I think she would have hot her stride!

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  9. Not heard of this lady, thank you again... fro bringing her talent.to us all.

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  10. I'd never heard of this lady either. Her quote is kind of sad, especially considering that she has been all but forgotten.

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    1. Yup that is such a sad quote that I saw in one of my books-actually more than once-very sad

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  11. New to me, but she didn't live very long either. If not for the drugs, it seems her acting career would have continued. There are so many stories like this!

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    1. so many '20's stars hit the skids with drugs and alcohol

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  12. Hollywood, showbiz, its tough on young stars without the right support.

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    1. It is -very bloodthirsty actually

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  13. Well, those wishing fame should pay attention to its high price. Like many of the others I have not heard of this actress until here. Ah, you are educating us, dear Birgit, all to the good!

    The names of the films she was in seem to say a lot, as does her quote. I hope she's in a better place.

    Thanks for the introduction to Jeanne Eagels.

    Sent with smiles, Jenny, Pearson Report
    2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador
    @PearsonReport

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    1. You are welcome and she should be more well known

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  14. Almost totally forgotten seems right, reading the comments above. I don't need to feel so bad not having heard of her then. Poor woman, a sad life.

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    1. Such a sad life and she was on top of the world at one point

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  15. Just came back from looking at a clip of her on youtube. I see what you mean about her being the Meryl Streep of her day. In the few minutes, I could suspend belief that I wasn't watching a movie.

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  16. I'm curious what "klieg eyes" are! I've never heard of that. What a tumultuous life.

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    1. In the old days there were huge lights to light up the actors. It would hurt their eyes so they tried heavy eye make-up which didn't work. It would burn the retina of their eyes and they would go blind even. There would be burning and stinging so they tried various methods to calm the pain and the blindness. Finally they realized to place a glass in front of the lights which curbed the ultra violet light

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  17. We'll never know how she died - it seems so sad, somehow, so poignant, when she was so famous Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

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  18. What a cool list so far. I knew most of the actors except Jeanne Eagles. Now, I wonder are you doing the actress Edna purvance for P or someone else.

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    1. Oooh you know your old stars-Nope someone more famous that most people will know.

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    2. I grew up with the reluctant appreciation of black and whites that has turned into a real appreciation. Besides Miss Edna came from my hometown and i can see the graveyard she's buried in from my house.

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  19. Clifton Webb was gay? I had no idea. (Not that it matters.)

    I had never heard of her. Too bad. Drugs take so many performers.

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    1. Oh yes and he and his mom went everywhere together. One day I will find a great biography on him. Drugs so take so many and did in the 1920's

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  20. Hadn't heard of Jeanne. She was certainly pretty.

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  21. Nope, I had never heard of her. So sad to die so young.

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  22. She is brand new to me- so I am loving your theme and all that I am learning. :) Sorry her life ended too early- no matter what the reason behind her death. Thanks for sharing about her. :)

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  23. How sad, and I never heard of her. Which is what she said, basically. Makes me feel bad. It's strange to think that Hollywood used to ban people for being wild/rebellious. Now, you can't make it into the spotlight unless you're crazed.

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    1. They had a morality clause in their contracts! There were so many great stars back then and nobody even knows them today

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  24. That's fascinating. I can't believe I've never heard of her.
    R

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    1. Thanks-she is someone who was truly big and today-nobody knows

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  25. I've also never heard of this actress. As talented as she was, it's a shame she had such a short and sad life. You've summarized it perfectly with the end quote, Birgit.

    Julie

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    1. She was extremely talented and still known in the theatre. That quote is from her

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  26. My grandfather saw Her on Broadway in 'RAIN' and gave a clear account/memory recall of the night !

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  27. My grandfather saw Her on Broadway in 'RAIN' and gave a clear account/memory recall of the night !

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