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|Born||Thelma Floy Hillerman
December 12, 1906
|Died||May 11, 1938
Culver City, California
|Forest Lawn Memorial Park|
Early life and career
Born Thelma Floy Hillerman in Emporia, Kansas, she was one of the few Sennett Bathing Beauties to make it into featured roles. Hill was widely known as the "mah jongg bathing girl" because of the mah jongg bathing suit she was photographed in.
As a youth, she lived not far from the motion picture studios and was noticed by both Sennett and Dick Jones. During her school years, she did atmosphere and bits on Saturdays and Sundays and during vacation time. As she became older, Hill began to double for Mabel Normand.
She was first featured with Ralph Graves in a series of two-reel comedies that were made for Sennett on Glendale Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.
Hill starred opposite Ben Turpin in A Prodigal Bridegroom (1926). From 1927 to 1929, she co-starred with Bud Duncan in Larry Darmour's series of silent comedy shorts Toots and Casper and was Laurel & Hardy's leading lady in Two Tars (1928). She completed her FBO contract in 1927 and was signed by MGM for a role in The Fair Co-Ed (1927).
She ended her career at the Hal Roach Studios (the "Lot of Fun") shortly after the changeover to sound, and by 1932 she had gotten on the dark side of depression and alcohol abuse. She died at the age of 31 from a cerebral hemorrhage. Her husband at the time was actor John Sinclair.
- Los Angeles Times, Additions To Cast, August 13, 1924, Page A9.
- Los Angeles Times, Bathing Girl Given Lead In New Comedy, August 17, 1924, Page B33.
- Los Angeles Times, Thelma Hill, Former Sennett Player, Dies, May 12, 1938, Page A20.
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