Sebastian in 1930s
Stella Dorothy Sabiston
April 26, 1903
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||April 8, 1957 (aged 53)|
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery|
(m. 1930; div. 1936)
Sebastian was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, the daughter of Lycurgus (Lawrence) Robert and Stella Armstrong Sabiston. An article on the website of the National Alumni Association of The University of Alabama noted, "Most accounts indicate that she was born Stella Dorothy Sabiston (she changed the spelling of her last name after leaving home) ..."
In her youth, she aspired to be a dancer and a film actress. Her family frowned on both ambitions, however, so she fled to New York at the age of 15. Upon her arrival in New York City, Sebastian's southern drawl was thick enough to "cut with a knife". She followed around theatrical agents before returning at night to a $12-a-month room, after being consistently rejected.
Before appearing in films, Sebastian was in George White's Scandals. Her first contact in Hollywood was Robert Kane, who gave her a film test at United Studios. She performed in George White's Scandals and later co-starred with Joan Crawford and Anita Page in a popular series of MGM romantic dramas including Our Dancing Daughters (1928) and Our Blushing Brides (1930). Sebastian also appeared in 1929's Spite Marriage, where she was cast opposite her then-lover Buster Keaton.
By the mid-1930s, Sebastian was semi-retired from acting after marrying Hopalong Cassidy star William Boyd. After their 1936 divorce, she returned to acting appearing in mostly bit parts. Her last onscreen appearance was in the 1948 film The Miracle of the Bells.
In 1947, Sebastian married Miami Beach businessman Harold Shapiro to whom she remained married until her death.
On November 7, 1938, Sebastian was found guilty of drunk driving in a Beverly Hills, California Justice Court. The night she was arrested, she had been dining at the home of Buster Keaton with her nephew. She was given a 30-day suspended jail sentence and paid a fine of $75.
In 1940, Sebastian was denied an award of $10,000 from a San Diego court. She had appeared at a Red Cross benefit in San Francisco in 1937, and failed to pay her hotel bill. She contended the promoter for the event should have paid the bill. An employee of the Plaza Hotel took out the suit, charging "defrauding an innkeeper." The State Supreme Court of California reversed the lower court's decision, which had awarded her the money on grounds of malicious prosecution.
Death and legacy
On April 8, 1957, Sebastian died of cancer at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. She is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
|1925||Sackcloth and Scarlet||Polly Freeman||Lost film|
|1925||Why Women Love||Pearl||Lost film|
|1926||You'd Be Surprised||Ruth Whitman|
|1927||On Ze Boulevard||Gaby de Sylva|
|1927||The Isle of Forgotten Women||Marua|
|1928||A Woman of Affairs||Constance|
|1928||The House of Scandal||Ann Rourke|
|1929||Spite Marriage||Trilby Drew|
|1929||The Unholy Night||Lady Efra Cavender||Alternative title: The Green Ghost|
|1930||Montana Moon||Elizabeth "Lizzie" Prescott|
|1930||Our Blushing Brides||Francine Daniels|
|1930||The Rounder||Ethel Dalton||MGM short, costarring Jack Benny.|
|1930||Ladies Must Die||Norma Blake|
|1931||The Deceiver||Ina Fontanne|
|1932||They Never Come Back||Adele Landon|
|1933||Ship of Wanted Men||Irene Reynolds|
|1934||The Life of Vergie Winters||Lulu|
|1937||The Mysterious Pilot||Jean McNain|
|1939||The Arizona Kid||Bess Warren|
|1941||Kansas Cyclone||Helen King|
|1942||True to the Army||Gloria||Uncredited|
|1948||The Miracle of the Bells||Miss Katie Orwin||Uncredited|
- The book Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory gives Sebastian's date of birth as April 26, 1907.
- Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 172. ISBN 9780786450190. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
- "Dorothy Sebastian, Former Actress, Dies". Reading Eagle. Associated Press. April 9, 1957. p. 22. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- Gwaltney, Caroline. "You Ought to Be in Pictures". National Alumni Association. The University of Alabama. Archived from the original on September 29, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
- "Dorothy Is Gate Crasher". The Los Angeles Times. October 4, 1926. p. C20.
- "A Rising Star of Films". Morning Register. Oregon, Eugene. September 6, 1925. p. 10. Retrieved September 28, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Merrick, Molly (December 30, 1930). "Hollywood In Person". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- "Divorces William Boyd". The New York Times. Associated Press. May 30, 1936.
- Brettell, Andrew; King, Noel; Kennedy, Damien; Imwold, Denise (2005). Cut!: Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies. Leonard, Warren Hsu; von Rohr, Heather. Barrons Educational Series. p. 179. ISBN 0-7641-5858-9.
- "Actress Found Guilty Of Driving While Intoxicated". Lewiston Morning Tribune. November 8, 1968. p. 3. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- "High Court Rules Against Actress". The Los Angeles Times. May 28, 1940. p. 9.
- "Dorothy Sebastian". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on September 29, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
- Los Angeles Times, "Alabama Steps To Top", August 10, 1930, Page B16.
- Oakland Tribune, "Kin of Actress Burns To Death", May 14, 1938, Page 1.
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