BARBARA LaMarr (this is one of my favorite photographs)
After marrying and moving with her husband to New York City, La Marr found employment writing screenplays and her association with movie makers led to her returning to Los Angeles and making her film debut as an actress in 1920. Over the next few years she acted frequently in films, and was widely publicised as "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World". With this, she rapidly shot to stardom.
La Marr made the successful leap from writer to actress in Douglas Fairbanks' The Nut (1921), appeared in over 30 films, wrote seven successful screenplays for United Artists and Fox studios, and danced in musical comedies on Broadway. She is also said to have filmed dancing shorts in New York City, Chicago, and in Los Angeles, with such diverse partners as Rudolph Valentino and Clifton Webb.
Among La Marr's most important films are "The Prisoner of Zenda" and "Trifling Women," both 1922 releases directed by Rex Ingram. "Trifling Women" is of particular interest, perhaps, because of certain similarities -- an ape, a dark-haired, overpowdered vamp, chiaroscuro lighting (as seen in photos; "Trifling Women" is now lost) -- to Billy Wilder's 1950 Gothic film noir "Sunset Blvd." Additionally, cinematographer John F. Seitz shot both films.
Although her film career flourished, she also embraced the fast-paced Hollywood nightlife, 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 gruelling work commitments took their toll on her health. She died suddenly from tuberculosis and nephritis in Altadena, California and was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The newspapers of the day referred to her as "The Girl Too Beautiful To Live" and "The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful", a slight variation on the title that had been closely associated with her.
La Marr married for the first time at the age of seventeen, and during her short life was married five times. At the time of her death she was married to the 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 released. The child, Marvin Carville La Marr, was adopted after her death by the actress ZaSu 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 Vallarta, Mexico.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Barbara La Marr has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1621 Vine Street.
In the 1930s, Louis B. Mayer named the actress Hedy Lamarr after Barbara La Marr, who had been one of his favorite actresses.
She was known as "The Girl Who Is Too Beautiful", after a Hearst newspaper feature writer, Adela Rogers St. Johns, saw a judge sending her home during the police beat in Los Angeles because she was too beautiful and young to be on her own.
LaMarr said, and it was generally believed, that she had been adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Watson of Yakima, Washington. Depending on her mood, Barbara claimed to be of different exotic ancestries. Some film historians, however, believe that this was a tall tale to glamorize herself, when, in fact, she was the biological child of the Watsons.