CONSTANCE TALMADGE : PRETTY BUT TROUBLED SILENT FILM STAR

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This vintage real photo postcard features pretty film actress, Constance Talmadge (1898-1973). She was a silent film star and the sister of actresses Norma and Natalie Talmadge. Constance was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were poor and her father was an alcoholic who abandoned the family in Constance’s early childhood. Her mother worked as a laundress. Mom’s friend suggested that she should try to get Norma a modelling job in flickers, which were shown in nickelodeons. Mom followed the suggestion and that led all three sisters into acting careers. It also led to mom becoming a stereotypical “stage mother”. Constance made her film debut in a Vitagraph comedy short entitled “In Bridal Attire” (1914). Her first substantive role was in D. W. Griffith’s “Intolerance” (1916). Talmadge became a popular star and appeared in more than 80 films during her career. Many of the films were romantic comedies. She also formed her own film production company. She was friends with Anita Loos, a very successful early screenwriter. Loos said she appreciated Talmadge’s “humor and her irresponsible way of life”. Constance left the film business with the introduction of “talkies”. In fact, all three sisters retired around the same time. Apparently, their squeaky Brooklyn accent was not compatible with sound films. Constance became a successful real estate and business investor. Unfortunately, only a few of her films survive. In some ways, Constance lived a tragic life. She became a reclusive alcohol and drug abuser. She also had many affairs and relationships end badly. She was married four times but never had any children. Her first marriage, to a Greek tobacco importer, lasted two years. Marriage number two was to a Scottish soldier and the couple’s union lasted one year. Her third marriage was only two years duration. The fourth time must have been the charm, as she and her stock broker husband were married about 25 years. The marriage only ended upon his death. In 1973, Constance Talmadge died from pneumonia. This vintage real photo postcard was published by Ross Verlag. It was part of a series (no.2033/1). The postcard has the logo of “Fanamet” in the lower right hand corner of the image. “Fanamet Films” was an Austrian film distribution company. The logo for “First National Pictures” is located on the bottom left hand corner of the image. First National Pictures was an American motion picture production and distribution company. The company was founded in 1917 as a theater chain. It then began distributing movies and in 1924 it began producing films. In 1929 the company was absorbed by Warner Brothers. The vintage portrait postcard has residue on the reverse stemming from it’s former residency in a postcard album. However, the postcard is in very good condition and has great clarity (see scans).

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Published in: on July 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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MISS MARGARET LEAHY : THE SAD STORY OF THE “DAILY SKETCH” GIRL

Margaret Leahy (1902-1967) was a British actress. She was born in London. At the age of eighteen, she set up a costume shop and designed women’s clothing. She also modeled her designs for her customers. The story of how she got her start in acting is an interesting one. After winning a beauty contest, she seemed destined for stardom. Unfortunately, despite her rapid launch into filmdom, her career quickly crashed.  She made only one film in her short-lived career. The beauty competition occurred in 1922. Actresses, Constance and Norma Talmadge, Joseph Schenck (film studio executive), and Edward Jose (film director) held a beauty contest in England. It’s purpose was to find a new leading lady. The “Daily Sketch”, an English newspaper, offered a starring role in a major Hollywood film to the winner of the contest. Eighty thousand women entered the contest and three girls were chosen to the final competition. The finals were held in Hollywood and Miss Leahy was the winner.  Norma Talmadge described Leahy as “the most ravishing girl in England”. Leahy’s start in films was a disaster. She was dismissed from “Within the Law” (1923). The film’s director found her acting talent was nearly non-existent. He threatened to quit unless Leahy was terminated. The year 1923 wasn’t all bad for Miss Leahy. She was named one of thirteen WAMPAS Baby Stars. Evelyn Brent, Eleanor Boardman, and Laura La Plante were among the thirteen. All but Leahy became successful film actresses. Between 1922 and 1934, WAMPAS association supported a promotional campaign that named thirteen young actresses thought to be destined to become stars. Margaret’s next stop was an appearance in a Buster Keaton comedy, “Three Ages” (1923). Leahy received little attention for her role in the movie and her career was stopped in it’s tracks. Leahy did not return to England. Instead she got married and remained in California. She became an interior decorator and was known to despise the movie industry. In fact, she burned all her movie related scrap books. Sadly, Leahy committed suicide at the age of sixty-four in California. This vintage postcard was published by Rotary Photo and printed in England. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5.76.2).  The postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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$22.00