Barbara La Marr
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|Barbara La Marr|
Barbara La Marr, circa 1920
|Born||Reatha Dale Watson
July 28, 1896
Yakima, Washington, U.S.
|Died||January 30, 1926
Altadena, California, U.S.
|Other names||Barbara La Marr Deely|
|Occupation||Actress, cabaret artist, screenwriter|
|Spouse(s)||Jack Lytell (m. 1913–1914)
Lawrence Converse (m. 1914–1914)
Phil Ainsworth (m. 1916–1918)
Ben Deeley (m. 1918–1921)
Jack Dougherty (m. 1923–1926)
Barbara La Marr (July 28, 1896 – January 30, 1926) was an American stage and film actress, cabaret artist and screenwriter.
La Marr 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.
Early life 
Born in 1896 as Reatha Dale Watson to William Wallace and Rosana "Rose" Watson in Yakima, Washington. Her father was an editor for a newspaper, and her mother had a son, Henry, born in 1878, and a daughter, Violet, born in February 1881, from a previous marriage. The couple wed some time during 1884, and they had William Watson, Jr., born in June 1886 in Washington. He would later, in the 1920s, become a vaudeville comedian under the stage name of "Billy Devore". The Watsons lived in various locations during La Marr's formative years. By 1900, she was living with her parents in Portland, Oregon, with her brother William, her half-sister Violet Ross, and Violet's husband Arvel Ross. As a child, La Marr also performed in a few stage productions in Tacoma, Washington.
By 1910, La Marr was living in Fresno, California, with her parents. Some time after 1911, the family moved to Los Angeles. In January 1913, La Marr's half-sister, now going by the name of Violet Ake, took her then 16-year-old sister on a three-day automobile excursion with a man named C.C. Boxley. They drove up to Santa Barbara, but after a few days La Marr felt that they were not going to let her return home. Ake and Boxley finally let La Marr return to Los Angeles after they realized that there were warrants issued for their arrests accusing them of kidnapping. This episode was published in several newspapers, and La Marr even testified against her sister, but the case was eventually dropped.
La Marr's name appeared frequently in newspaper headlines during the next few years. In November 1914, she came back from Arizona and announced that she was the newly-widowed wife of a rancher named Jack Lytell, and that they were supposedly married in Mexico. As legend goes, Lytell became enamored of La Marr as he saw her one day riding in an automobile while he was out on horseback. He rode up to her car and swept her on his horse and rode off with her. They were married the next day. She also stated that she loathed the name Reatha and preferred to be called by the childhood nickname "Beth".
After marrying and moving with her second husband to New York City, La Marr found employment writing screenplays and her association with filmmakers led to her returning to Los Angeles and making her film debut 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.
Personal life 
La Marr married for the first time at the age of 17, and was ultimately married five times. At the time of her death she was married to actor Jack Dougherty. Some years after her death, it was revealed that she had mothered a 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.
Her former dance partner, Robert Hobday (stage name Robert Carville), was named as her alleged lover by her third husband Phil Ainsworth in his divorce suit. Hobday's sister, Virginia, had been La Marr's manager and friend, who later went on to marry Jules Roth, manager of the Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, and La Marr's former lover.
Later years and death 
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.
On January 30, 1926, La Marr died of tuberculosis and nephritis in Altadena, California at the age of 29. She was interred in a crypt at Hollywood Cathedral Mausoleum, in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, La Marr has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1621 Vine Street.
|1920||Harriet and the Piper||Tam O'Shanter Girl||Credited as Barbara Deely
Alternate title: Paying the Piper
|1920||Flame of Youth||Story|
|1920||The Mother of His Children||
Credited as Barbara La Marr Deely
|1920||Rose of Nome||
Credited as Barbara La Marr Deely
|1920||The Little Grey Mouse||
|1920||The Land of Jazz||
Credited as Barbara La Marr Deely
|1921||The Nut||Claudine Dupree|
|1921||Desperate Trails||Lady Lou|
|1921||The Three Musketeers||Milady de Winter|
|1921||Cinderella of the Hills||Kate Gradley||Credited as Barbara La Marr Deely|
|1922||Domestic Relations||Mrs. Martin|
|1922||The Prisoner of Zenda||Antoinette de Mauban|
|1922||Trifling Women||Jacqueline de Séverac/Zareda|
|1922||Quincy Adams Sawyer||Lindy Putnam|
|1923||The Hero||Hester Lane|
|1923||The Brass Bottle||The Queen|
|1923||Poor Men's Wives||Laura Bedford/Laura Maberne|
|1923||Souls for Sale||Leva Lemaire|
|1923||Strangers of the Night||Anna Valeska||Alternate title: Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure|
|1923||St. Elmo||Agnes Hunt|
|1923||The Eternal Struggle||Camille Lenoir||Alternate title: Masters of Women|
|1923||The Eternal City||Donna Roma|
|1924||Thy Name Is Woman||Guerita|
|1924||The Shooting of Dan McGrew||Lady Known as Lou|
|1924||The White Moth||Mona Reid/The White Moth||Writer, uncredited|
|1924||My Husband's Wives||
|1925||The Heart of a Siren||Isabella Echevaria||Alternate title: The Heart of a Temptress|
|1925||The White Monkey||Fleur Forsyte|
|1926||The Girl from Montmartre||Emilia Faneaux|
Further reading 
- Michael G. Ankerich (2010). Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent Screen. BearManor. ISBN 1-59393-605-2.
Popular culture 
- In the 1930s, Louis B. Mayer named the actress Hedy Lamarr after Barbara La Marr, who had been one of his favorite actresses.
- La Marr is referred to in the Flanagan and Allen song "Underneath the Arches" during the break when Ches Allen reads out the headlines from a 1926 newspaper.
- La Marr's former home in the Hollywood Hills was featured on "Secrets from a Stylist" on Home and Garden Television (HGTV) in 2011, in the episode "Hollywood Regency meets Country Club Chic."
- 1900 United States Federal Census, Portland Ward 7, Multnomah County, Oregon, June 1, 1900, Enumeration District 66, Sheet 1B.
- 1910 United States Federal Census, Fresno, Township 3, California, April 22, 1910.
- The Duluth News Tribune, "Stolen Twice, Is Now Widow", November 17, 1913.
- Oakland Tribune, "Two Are Accused Of Kidnapping Girl", January 5, 1913, Page 39.
- Los Angeles Times, "Serious Charge Against Couple. Child Stealing Complaint Issued", January 5, 1913, p. 11.
- Los Angeles Times, "Alleged Child Stealers Surrender Themselves.", January 7, 1913, p. 3.
- Los Angeles Times, "Girl Missing: Warrants Out. Absent Maid's Father Takes Drastic Action.", January 3, 1913, p. 13.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Barbara La Marr|
- Barbara La Marr at the Internet Movie Database
- Barbara La Marr at Find a Grave
- Barbara La Marr at Virtual History