vaudeville performer

Happy Birthday Ida Cox! (February 26, 1896 – November 10, 1967)

 African-American singer and vaudeville performer, best known for her blues performances and recordings. She was billed as “The Uncrowned Queen of the Blues”. (Wikipedia)

Portrait of singer Ida Prather Cox. Brief biography printed on back. Printed on back: “Photo courtesy of Duncan Schiedt. Stride Card Company, 115 W. 16 St., N.Y. 10011.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
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Mad World - Vintage Vaudeville - Style Cover ft. Puddles Pity Party & Haley Reinhart

HOLY CRAP!!!

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Black history month day 24: dancer and entertainer Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson.

Bill Robinson was born Luther Robinson on May 25th, 1878. His parents died when he was eight and he was raised by his grandmother. From the age of five, Robinson begin dancing for spare change and was eventually chosen as a pickaninny for a local minstrel show (pickaninnies were cute black children who were basically extras and background characters in minstrel shows).

At age 13 Robinson ran off to Washington DC and did a series of odd jobs. Later he joined the Army as a rifleman during the Spanish American war. By 1900 Robinson became active full-time in a career of vaudeville performance, starring in dance troupes, comedy duos, and even blackface and minstrel performances.

At times Robinson came under some heavy criticism for his participation in and tacit acceptance of racial stereotypes of the era, with critics calling him an Uncle Tom figure. However, he did do many things to help improve the situation of blacks, including persuading the Dallas police department to hire its first African American policemen and lobbying President Roosevelt during World War II for more equitable treatment of African American soldiers.

Robinson was the best known and most highly paid African American entertainer in the first half of the twentieth century. He was especially well-known for his collaborations with child star Shirley Temple, and the two of them made the first interracial dance team in Hollywood film history. Robinson also starred with Lena Horne and Cab Calloway in “Stormy Weather”, a film loosely based on Robinson’s life.

American Horror Story Characters Based On Real People

Season 1: Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia - Mena Suvari guest-starred on the very first season of American Horror Story as Elizabeth Short, the woman who would become infamously known as The Black Dahlia. Though parts of her story were fabricated for the show, The Black Dahlia murder is very much real. Short was a 22-year-old aspiring actress who was brutally murdered in 1947. Her body was chopped in half, and her killer carved up the sides of her mouth, giving her what’s known as a “Glasgow smile.” Her murderer was never identified. 

Season 1: The Nurse Murders and the Richard Speck Case - One of the story lines from the first season revolves around a couple of nurses who are killed in the Murder House. Though the nurses on the show (played by guest stars Rosa Salazar and Celia Finkelstein) aren’t based on individuals, Ryan Murphy has said their murders are inspired by the Richard Speck massacre in 1966. Speck, a seaman from Texas, broke into a Chicago dorm filled with nurses and viciously tortured, raped, and killed eight of them in one night. The sequence in the show is light compared to what actually happened. 

Asylum: Kit and Alma Walker and Barney and Betty Hill - Remember Asylum’s Kit and Alma Walker? According to producers, they were inspired by a couple named Barney and Betty Hill, some of the first people to ever claim to have been abducted by aliens in 1961. Their experience was widely publicized and became a bestselling book called The Interrupted Journey and a 1975 TV movie The UFO Incident. Just like Kit and Alma, Barney and Betty were a mixed-race couple, an integral part of the story line on Asylum. 

Asylum: Anne Frank - Franka Potente starred on several episodes of Asylum as a mental patient who insists that she is Anne Frank, the 15-year-old girl who famously documented her horrific experience during the Holocaust before her death. It’s not conclusive whether or not Charlotte truly is Frank, but she does make a pretty compelling case. The American Horror Story character remains one of the most tragic and puzzling parts of the series to this day. 

Coven: Madame Delphine LaLaurie - A handful of main characters from Coven were based on real people, but none as chilling as Madame Delphine LaLaurie. Portrayed by Kathy Bates on the show, LaLarie was a prominent New Orleans socialite in the 1800s. She was discovered to have tortured and killed many of her slaves in her “Chamber of Horrors,” and her house is still said to be haunted. 

Coven: Papa Legba - Whether Papa Legba is “real” or not is up for interpretation, but the Coven character, played by guest star Lance Reddick, is based on a popular legend. In voodoo culture, he is the intermediary between the living and the dead. Papa Legba is both a good and bad figure, controlling who communicates between the worlds, and in American Horror Story’s case, sentencing some to live in their own personal hells. 

Coven: Marie Laveau - Angela Bassett came aboard Coven as Marie Laveau, the ancient voodoo queen of New Orleans. In reality, Laveau was a revered woman in the city between the 1820s and 1860s. She practiced black magic, and just as she is on the show, she was a hairdresser on the side. She was known for being a nurse and a healer, and people still visit her grave to see if she’ll grant them wishes. 

Coven: The Axeman of New Orleans - Danny Huston’s Coven character, The Axeman, was a real person - though we still don’t know his identity. Between 1818 and 1819, a series of murders were committed around the New Orleans area. The killer used axes or straight razors owned by the residents of the houses he broke into, and, as seen on the show, he even threatened to kill anyone not playing jazz music on one particular night. 

Freak Show: Pepper and Schlitze Surtees - One of the many Freak Show characters to have been inspired by a real person, Pepper (and her husband, Salty) was inspired by Schlitze Surtees. Known as Schlitzie the Pinhead, he was an early 1990s sideshow performer with microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes an unusually small brain and skull. He had the cognisance of a 3-year-old and could only speak in single-syllable words. He is mostly known now because of his part in the 1932 film Freaks. 

Freak Show: Edward Mordrake - Wes Bentley appears int he two-part Halloween episode of Freak Show as Edward Mordrake, a man with an evil face on the back of his head. Mordrake was a real person who lived in the 1800s. According to books, he had an unusual deformity: a small face on the back of his head. Mordrake committed suicide at 23, and unlike on the show, he probably doesn’t go around to freak shows on Halloween, killing its performers. 

Freak Show: Jimmy Darling and Grady Franklin Stiles, Jr - Though many performers with ectrodactyly, aka Lobster Claw Syndrome, were prevalent throughout freak-show history, Grady Franklin Stiles, Jr. is clearly a large influence for Jimmy Darling. Born in Pittsburgh in 1937, Stiles was part of a whole family of people who had the condition. He was forced to become a sideshow act at a young age and became an abusive alcoholic - which seems to be the direction Jimmy is headed. He murdered his daughter’s fiancé in 1978, and then Grady himself was gunned down by a neighbor in 1993. 

Freak Show: Twisty the Clown and John Wayne Gacy - There have been a lot of clown killers throughout history, but none as infamous as John Wayne Gacy. At heart, Twisty the Clown is just an extremely confused and misguided murderer, but Gacy was cold-blooded. His stage name was Pogo the Clown, and between 1972 and 1978, he raped and killed at least 33 young men. He died by lethal injection in 1994, leaving behind a series of haunting self portraits. 

Freak Show: Dot and Bette Tattler and Violet and Daisy Hilton - Though conjoined twins Dot and Bette are quite unique, they’re probably based on a pair of sisters by the name of Violet and Daisy Hilton. Born in England in 1908, the twins were fused at the pelvis. They came to San Francisco in 1915, and by the ‘20s, they were successfully performing in vaudeville shows alongside Charlie Chaplin. Following success on stage, their professional lives took a downturn, and they eventually ended up working at a grocery store. Their lives are the subject of a documentary called Bound by Flesh: The Story of Violet and Daisy Hilton. 

Hotel: Mr. March and H.H. Holmes - H.H. Holmes is often referred to as America’s first serial killer. He was profiled in the bestseller The Devil in the White City, which tells of Holmes’s technique of hiding his victims in the walls of the building he was constructing. While Mr. March isn’t a direct portrayal, he’s certainly inspired by the killer. 

Hotel: Aileen Wuornos - Series veteran Lily Rabe guest starred as Aileen Wuornos, the serial killer who was portrayed by Charlize Theron in the 2003 drama Monster. Wuornos killed seven men while working as a prostitute between 1989 and 1990. She was convicted and later executed by lethal injection in 2002. 

Hotel: Richard Ramirez - Also known as the Night Stalker, Ramirez (played by Anthony Ruivivar) went on a two-year rampage in California in the ‘80s. He killed at least 13 people and tortured many more. 

Hotel: Jeffrey Dahmer - Seth Gabel played the notorious Jeffrey Dahmer for the “Devil’s Night” episode of Hotel. Dahmer is one of the most well-known serial killers in American history, having murdered at least 17 boys and men. He was also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, as he raped, dismembered, and eventually ate his victims. 

Hotel: John Wayne Gacy - While Gacy inspired Twisty the Clown, John Carroll Lynch returned to American Horror Story to play the real deal on Hotel. 

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Significant Women in Film History: 1930s

Mae West (1893-1980)

Mae West was born in 1893 in Brooklyn. She began her career on the stage at the age of seven, winning prizes in talent contests and performing at church socials. By 14 she was part performing in vaudeville and in burlesque houses when work was slow. By 1911 she would be cast in her first role on broadway and although the show closed after eight performance, this would not be the last show to have Mae West among its cast. By the 1920s West had begun to write her own shows under the pen name Jane Mast. In 1926 her play which she wrote, directed, and coproduced, Sex, would premiere on Broadway and would be a box office hit although it received backlash from religious groups and conservatives for its risqué subject matter. The city would receive so many complaints from religious officials over the content of the show that police would raid it during a showing and arrest West along with the rest of the cast. She spent 10 days in jail. For most, this would be a publicity disaster, but West used it to her advantage telling reporters she wore silk panties while in jail. By the time she was released West was a bigger star than she had been when she entered. West would face further controversy with censors when she attempted to open the play The Drag which focused on homosexual characters. It would close in two weeks. West would continue to write for the stage.The controversy these plays brought her only made the public more interested in seeing them. These plays may not have done so well critically but almost all her plays did incredibly well commercially. In 1932 West was finally given a contract in Hollywood with Paramount. The fact that West was almost 40 is significant because, in an industry dominated by looks and youth, it was incredibly rare for any woman of that age to be offered a contract. Usually, the studios were dropping contracts with women that age not signing them. But Hollywood saw how popular West’s innuendo filled plays were and in a time before strict censorship, they knew this would draw in massive audiences to the theaters. She first appeared in the 1932 film Night After Night, which she rewrote the lines of when she didn’t like the character. This film and the witty dialogue her characters spoke made her one Hollywoods top comediennes. She would go on to write and star in a number of films such as She Done Him Wrong, which costarred a not yet famous Cary Grant, I’m no Angel and Belle of the Nineties. But by 1935 the Hays Code had come to Hollywood and had begun to be heavily forced. West found her films being edited by censors and because of this her film’s quality were often affected. Post-1935 films by West were surrounded by immense controversy and often boycotted by more conservative audiences. The censorship and controversy that surrounded her films cause West to eventually retire from the screen and move on to a successful career in Las Vegas, Nightclubs and on Broadway. By 1959 West had released a bestselling memoir, she had also worked successfully on Broadway, television, radio, and in music. She invested her money in land in LA and began to act in films again during the 1970s. In August 1980, Mae West would pass away from a stroke at the age of 87. Mae West contribution to not just film but to the stage, to comedy, and to music is huge. She was also an avid supported of both Women’s Rights and Gay Rights in time when these issues (particularly gay rights) were hardly on the mind of anyone in a public role. She had a fairly short career in the film industry but she left a huge mark.The comedies audiences watch today would not be the same without West’s influence. She was a woman of all trades.

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‘Bottoms Up’ This rare Prohibition Era cocktail recipe book, die-cut in the shape of a cocktail shaker, was published in the U.S. in 1928, at the height of the Prohibition Era, flaunting the ban on alcohol with cocktail recipes by famous silent film stars, vaudeville performers and musicians, including W. C. Fields, Fanny Brice, Florenz Ziegfield, Ted Lewis and George Gershwin.

Kicking off Aretha Franklin’s birthday with this gem from the VBG archives: a shot of Ms. Franklin rehearsing with the legendary dancer and choreographer Charles “Cholly” Atkins at a dance studio in 1961. Mr. Atkins (1913-2003) created the iconic dance moves of The Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips and The Supremes’s famous “Stop! In the Name of Love” hand movement (!!!) The Alabama-born Mr. Atkins began his career as a vaudeville performer and was one half of the legendary dance duo Coles and Atkins with Honi Coles. In 1988, he shared a Tony Awards for choreographing the Broadway show, “Black and Blue.” Photo: Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images.

French Vaudeville (1937). Everett Shinn (American, 1876-1953). Oil on canvas. New Britain Museum of American Art.

Typical of Shinn’s many paintings of city nightlife, which depict theater and vaudeville performances, French Vaudeville portrays a beautiful young chanteuse onstage. While singing, she seductively lifts one side of her gown to reveal a long stockinged leg, and directs her gaze to a member of the audience. Perhaps the singer is looking at the bass-viola player, who gazes up with rapt attention.

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ACTOR!HARRY FIC REC

Whirlwind by dolce_piccante 

Acclaimed actor, Hollywood heartthrob, and Oscar nominee, Harry Styles, seems to have the world at his feet, but seeks out an old friend when he needs a date for his big night.

The Brightest Lights by rearviewdreamer

After watching yet another actor walk away with his Oscar, Louis is on the lookout for the role of a lifetime that might finally get him the one thing he has always wanted. He didn’t think coming out of his self-proclaimed break to do another film would be all that difficult, but that was before he met his new co-star.

Friends With Benefits (It Wasn’t Supposed To Happen This Way) by narryohlarry 

Louis and Harry are famous actors and are staring in their first movie together. They are familiar with each others work, but have never actually met each other. Now that they have been cast in the new movie, Friend With Benefits, the were going to be seeing a lot of each other.

First Day of Spring by harrystylesandstuff 

Harry is Louis’ winter boyfriend who helps him get his name known in the US, but not without a few complications along the way.

I’ve Been Wandering Round (But I Still Come Back to You) by veronicahague

“Harry had always been beautiful, but lately he’d blossomed into this tall, sexy, man and Louis was having trouble dealing with it. And so, it seemed, were his hormones.” or the one where Louis and Harry are best friends and co-stars on a popular television series and Louis inconveniently discovers he’s in love with him in the middle of a press tour.

Eighth Wonder of the World by photo41

London in the 1930s is bleak for most, and that includes Vaudeville performers Gemma and Harry Styles. When their theatre gets closed down, Gemma is saved from doing something desperate by a stranger who offers her the role of a lifetime- going on an oceanic adventure to ultimately film in Singapore- using a script written by Harry’s favourite playwright- Louis Tomlinson.

Drain to the Stars by roguenauticals

Louis lived a very quiet life at his inherited book shop in Notting Hill, until Oscar-winner Harry Styles walked through the door.

And this old world is a new world by ifidoitsyou

Louis works in a little coffee shop although he hates coffee but what can you do when you’re pretty much living day by day trying to ignore that dream of yours you’re too scared to pursue. And then Harry enters the scene, or more precisely the coffee shop. He’s beautiful and kind and funny and also famous and not in town for very, very long. But that doesn’t keep Louis from maybe falling for him a bit and his friends from randomly inviting him along to go golfing.

Infinity by fancyachatup

Closeted Harry Styles flies home to Youtuber and boyfriend Louis Tomlinson.

25 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT FRED ASTAIRE

1. His favorite meal was chicken noodle soup, but the noodles had to be flat, not round.

2. He was obsessed with crime and criminals. He had friends in the police department who would call him up if there was a murder or a robbery and they’d let him ride along in the police car to the scene of the crime, and he’d hang around and observe as they did their work. 

3. He hated to wear top hat, white tie and tails. This image was born when he was a child performer in vaudeville with his sister Adele, who was older and taller than him, and because he was supposed to be the man, they decided to put a top hat on him to make him look taller.

4. He picked up skateboarding in his late seventies and was awarded a life membership in the National Skateboard Society. At 78 he broke his wrist while skateboarding in his driveway and was so embarrassed about it that he didn’t want anyone to take a picture of him for as long as he was bandaged up.

5. If he wouldn’t have become a dancer, he would have liked to be a professional golfer.

6. He was an amazing drummer and kept a drum set in his bathroom.

7. He was home-schooled by his mother and only visited public school for two years while living in New Jersey. After his first week there, he could skip a grade.

8. He was good friends with David Niven, Clark Gable, Randolph Scott and James Cagney.

9. He was really self-conscious about his disproportionately large hands and would always curl them while dancing.

10. When he saw himself on the screen for the first time, he said: “Gosh, I look like a knife!” 

11. Second Chorus (1940) was his least favorite of his movies.

12. Kim Novak, his co-star on The Notorious Landlady (1962) gave him a Siamese cat as a gift and he named it Caryle, after her character’s name.

13. Though generally mild-mannered he liked to destroy furniture and throw handy things when he lost his temper.

14. He loved to watch soap operas, his favorites being Guiding Light and As the World Turns and he would call his housekeeper if he couldn’t see the show to find out what had happened.

15. He hated mushy love scenes and rarely kissed on-screen. 

16. He really suffered the fact that he didn’t have a good head of hair.

17. His legs were insured for 75.000 dollars each, a huge amount of money at the time.

18. He had a reputation for being the worst celebrity to interview because he was extremely shy and reserved and refused to talk about himself or share anything about his personal life. In his earliest interviews, he stuttered.

19. He loathed social dancing. 

20. When starring on Broadway as a young man, he used to rollerskate up and down Park Avenue at night, trying to avoid the press who might have spotted him during the day.

21. His wife Phyllis died of cancer shortly before he was supposed to begin filming Daddy Long Legs in 1954, and he was so distressed that he offered to cover any financial losses out of his own pocket if they would shut down production. Eventually he was persuaded to do the movie, but in between takes he would often retrieve to a corner and weep, which is why in some of the scenes his eyes appear swollen and red.

22. He had restless legs syndrome, and even wiggled his toes when he slept.

23. He didn’t exercise.

24. Michael Jackson dedicated his autobiography Moonwalk to Fred.

25. Fred Astaire died of pneumonia on June 22, 1987, on the anniversary of his Easter Parade co-star Judy Garland’s death (June 22, 1969).

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Almost 70 years ago, when a teenage Ginger Rogers had just graduated from dancing the Charleston in Texas to performing in vaudeville in New York City, she was pleased to discover how effortlessly she was able to establish rapport with an audience. “I realized that there was a trick,” she said later, “and that was being warm with them.” A simple enough credo, but it carried Rogers through 73 movies, including the ten unforgettable musicals in which, paired with Fred Astaire, she whirled across elegant Art Deco sets trailing feathers and chiffon, setting an unmatchable standard for dancing on film. There were also her straight-shooting performances in 1937’s “Stage Door,” 1940’s “Kitty Foyle” and 1942’s “The Major and the Minor.” Robust yet glamorous, with a purposeful stride and a beauty mark on the left side of her chin, Rogers was, as TIME pronounced in 1941, “the flesh-and-blood symbol of the United States working girl.” - Tom Gliatto, People Weekly, May 8, 1995

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“Say Say Say” (1983)

“Paul was terribly insecure about appearing next to Michael, in terms of dance,” said “Say Say Say” director Bob Giraldi. “And who wouldn’t, if you’re going to go onstage and be choreographed next to Michael Jackson?” For the superstars’ first and only video together, Giraldi envisioned “Mac and Jack” as Old West scammers, selling cure-alls and performing vaudeville routines. Paul even danced. “In all my years of working in film and commercials, I’ve worked with some of the worst divas and superstars of all time,” said Giraldi. “Paul and Michael were not that.”

The Wanderer
Dion
The Wanderer

Song: The Wanderer / The Majestic

Artist: Dion

Record Label: Laurie Records 3115

Released: November 1961

Location: “The Wanderer“ Fallout 4 trailer

Here’s another great song from the upcoming game.

This song was actually meant to be a B-side with “The Majestic” intended to be the followup single to Dion’s previous No. 1 hit, “Runaround Sue”.

Songwriter Ernie Maresca had co-written “Runaround Sue” with Dion and intended “The Wanderer” to be sung by another group, Nino and the Ebbtides. When they passed on it in favor for another of his compositions “Happy Guy”. Maresca passed the song over to Dion.

This song peaked at No. 2 on Billboard.

However, That “newfangled” rock and roll was beginning to decline by the early 60s (much like the traditional pop it replaced) after the Payola scandal and the “day that music died” in 1959. Reverb guitar, surf rock, and four young guys from Liverpool would soon take over.

Some may remember this song from its appearance in Chicken Run in 2000.

Born Dion Francis DiMucci in New York, he grew up on country music with his vaudeville-performing father, Pasquale. He honed his singing on street corners and local clubs in the Bronx.

In 1957, he auditioned for the newly formed Mohawk Records, singing lead on a pre-recorded backing track. The song had minor regional success as “The Chosen Few” by Dion and the Timberlanes, though he had never met the group.

Dissatisfied, Dion returned to the Bronx to join with the The Belmonts: Carlo Mastrangelo (bass-baritone), Fred Milano (second tenor), and Angelo D’Aleo (first tenor). They were named after the avenue close to where they lived.

Dion and the Belmonts signed onto Laurie Records in 1958 and had their first hit “I Wonder Why”, peaking at No. 22. Though the group had big success in 1959 with “A Teenager in Love”, peaking at No. 5, and “Where or When”, No. 3, the group decided to split up after Dion had checked into a hospital for his heroin addiction and other musical and personal differences in 1960.

Free from the constraints of standards and harmony, Dion plunged into rock and roll with his guitar, recording “Runaround Sue”, “The Wanderer”, and “Ruby Baby”. Oddly, reissues of the records would erroneously attribute the songs as still being Dion and the Belmonts.

The Del-Satins are the uncredited background singers on this record, an all too common practice.

They were inspired by black groups, namely The Dells and The Five Satins, releasing their debut single “I’ll Pray for You” in 1960.

As Dion was part of the same label, they joined forces to give a more rock and roll sound than his previous backing group.

They received no credit even while singing on many of Dion’s later solo hits including “Drop Drop”, “Love Came to Me”, and “Ruby Baby”.

They continue to perform backing vocals for “Ernie Maresca’s “Shout! Shout!” and for Len Barry and for Dean and Jean.

They finally achieved solo success with “Teardrops Follow Me” in 1962 and found regular work on television and radio.

Glen Stuart appears to have gotten his start arranging and conducting for Dion and the Del-Satins for Laurie Records on “Love Came to Me” and “Teardrops Follow Me”. He wrote and performed songs such as “Make Me and Angel” and “Walking to Heaven”.

However, his greatest success came with the formation of the rock group Magna Carta, in 1969. With Chris Similar and Lyell Tranter. Their most well-known album is Lord of the Ages from 1973.

Listen to the flip side “The Majestic” here.

Garland, Judy
(1922 - 1969, B. Frances Gumm)

The two tragic actresses were friends. Garland said, “I knew Marilyn and loved her dearly. She asked me for help - ME! I didn’t know what to tell her. One night at a party at Clifton Webb’s house Marilyn followed me from room to room. ‘I don’t want to get too far away from you, I’m scared,’ she said. I told her, ‘We’re all scared. I’m scared too.’” This was very much a case of the blind leading the blind. It was Garland who once said, “If I’m such a legend, why am I so lonely?” The last time they met was probably at Madison Square Garden the night that Marilyn congratulated President John Kennedy on his birthday.

Marilyn was a big fan of Garland’s, attracted not just by her fine singing voice but by the tragedy and hurt that characterized her life. Garland had been born into a vaudeville family and began performing at the age of five. Her film debut came at fourteen, and by the time she was seventeen she had received a special Academy Award for “her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile” in The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Babes in Arms (1939). Other memorable performances followed in For Me and My Gal (1942), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Clock (1945), Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Easter Parade (1948), and A Star Is Born (1954), which earned her an Oscar nomination.

Marilyn liked to listen to Garland songs. “Who Cares?” was a particular favorite, and Garland’s classic song “Over the Rainbow” was played at Marilyn’s funeral. Garland had her own special insight into Marilyn’s death: “I don’t think Marilyn really meant to harm herself. It was partly because she had too many pills available, then was deserted by her friends. You shouldn’t be told you’re completely irresponsible and be left alone with too much medication.” In 1969 Garland herself died of a drug overdose.

- The Marilyn Encyclopedia by Adam Victor.

Mary Nolan (December 18, 1902 – October 31, 1948) was an American film actress. Nolan began her career as a Ziegfeld girl in the 1920s performing under the stage name Imogene “Bubbles” Wilson. She was fired from the Ziegfeld Follies in 1924 for her involvement in a tumultuous and highly publicized affair with comedian Frank Tinney. She left the United States shortly thereafter and began making films in Germany. She appeared in seventeen German films from 1925 to 1927 with a new stage name, “Imogene Robertson”.

She returned to the United States in 1927 and, in an attempt to distance herself from her old life, adopted yet another stage name, “Mary Nolan”. She was signed to Universal Pictures in 1928 where she found some success in films. By the 1930s, her acting career began to decline due to her drug abuse and reputation for being temperamental. After being bought out of contract with Universal, she was unable to secure film work with any major studios. Nolan spent the remainder of her acting career appearing in roles in low-budget films for independent studios. She made her final film appearance in 1933.

After her film career ended, Nolan appeared in vaudeville and performed in nightclubs and roadhouses around the United States. Her later years were plagued by drug problems and frequent hospitalizations. She returned to Hollywood in 1939 and spent her remaining years living in obscurity before dying of a barbiturate overdose in 1948.