Jewel Carmen

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Jewel Carmen
Jewel Carmen 1918.jpg
Born Florence Lavina Quick
(1897-07-13)July 13, 1897
Danville, Kentucky, U.S.
Died March 4, 1984(1984-03-04) (aged 86)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Other names Evelyn Quick
Florence La Vinci
Jewell Carman
Occupation Actress
Years active 1912–1926
Spouse(s) Roland West (m. 1918–35)

Jewel Carmen (July 13, 1897 – March 4, 1984) was an American silent film actress.

Early life and career[edit]

Born Florence Lavina Quick in Danville, Kentucky, Carmen made her film debut in the 1912 film The Will of Destiny. She went on to appear in Daphne and the Pirate (1916), opposite Lillian Gish and D. W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916).

Lawsuits against Fox[edit]

In 1917, Carmen contracted with Fox Film Corporation, but finding the deal unsatisfactory opened a new contract with the Keeney Corporation in 1918 while her first contract remained in effect.[1][2] Fox sent Keeney notice of their prior contract, warning that they would hold Keeney responsible for assisting her in breaking it,[1] promising to indemnify Keeney against legal retaliation.[3] Carmen launched two lawsuits against Fox, one to attempt to free herself of the obligation of living up to her contract and another to seek redress for their interference with her contract with Keeney.[3]

Key to the issues was the question of where the contracts had been made: New York or California. Fox's offices were located in New York; Carmen was a resident of California. By California law, Carmen was an adult at the time of signing the contract; by New York law, which granted majority at 21, she was not. If not an adult, she could not be legally held to the document she had signed.[4] Though Carmen initially won the first lawsuit, having the contracts set aside and receiving damages of $43,500 from Fox, the decision was overturned on appeal because she had "unclean" hands, having herself treated Fox unfairly.[3][5][6][7] However, she won her second case because Fox's interference with her employment with Keeney had been outside the law, though Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo made clear that he did not approve of the legal loophole that allowed Carmen to break her contract with Fox.[3][8]

Later years and death[edit]

Carmen later became known for her connection to the scandal surrounding the death of actress Thelma Todd. She was the wife of Roland West, who had an extramarital affair with Todd and who came under suspicion following Todd's death of carbon monoxide poisoning.[9]

Todd died in a garage attached to the home where Carmen's parents lived, which Carmen had formerly shared with West.[10] The death was suspicious for a number of factors, including that Todd was allegedly spotted or spoken to several times the day after her purported time of death; Carmen herself testified before the grand jury that she had seen Todd somewhere with another man.[11] After the scandal broke, Carmen's marriage to West ended, and she retired from the public eye.[9]

Carmen died of lymphoma on March 4, 1984 at the age of 86.


Jewel Carmen and Kenneth Harlan in Nobody (1921)
Year Film Role Notes
1912 The Will of Destiny Frances Credited as Florence La Vinci
1913 The Professor's Daughter Credited as Evelyn Quick
A Life in the Balance Credited as Evelyn Quick
Alternative titles: Crashing Through
Potted Plays No. 7
Professional Jealousy Credited as Evelyn Quick
He and Himself Credited as Evelyn Quick
Four Queens and a Jack The Girl Credited as Evelyn Quick
Their Husbands Credited as Evelyn Quick
1916 Daphne and the Pirate Credited as Jewell Carman
Sunshine Dad Charlotte
The Children in the House Jane Courtenay
Flirting with Fate Gladys, the Girl Alternative title: The Assassin
The Half-Breed Nellie Alternative title: The Carquinez Woods
Intolerance Favorite of the Harem Uncredited
Manhattan Madness Girl
American Aristocracy Geraldine Hicks
1917 The Kingdom of Love Violet Carson
A Tale of Two Cities Lucie Manette
American Methods Claire de Beaulieu
To Honor and Obey Rose Delvane
The Conqueror Eliza Allen
When a Man Sees Red Captain Sutton
Les Misérables Cosette at age 18
1918 The Girl with the Champagne Eyes Nellie Proctor
The Bride of Fear Ann Carter
Confession Mary Anderson
Fallen Angel Jill Cummings Alternative title: Paying the Piper
Lawless Love LaBelle Geraldine Alternative title: Above the Law
1921 The Silver Lining The Angel
Nobody Little Mrs. Smith
1923 You Can't Get Away with It
1926 The Bat Miss Dale Ogden


  1. ^ a b American Law Reports Annotated, 1211.
  2. ^ Kaufman, 228.
  3. ^ a b c d Kaufman, 229.
  4. ^ American Law Reports Annotated, 1212.
  5. ^ American Law Reports Annotated, 1210, 1213.
  6. ^ Carmen v. Fox Film Corp. 269 F. 928 (2nd Cir., 1920); cert denied, 255 U.S. 569, 41 S.Ct. 323 (1921)
  7. ^ Field, Richard H.; Benjamin Kaplan; Kevin M. Clermont (2007-04-10). Civil Procedure- Materials for a Basic Course. New York, New York: Foundation Press. pp. 1077–79. ISBN 978-1-59941-145-3. 
  8. ^ Cf. American Law Reports Annotated.
  9. ^ a b Wright, David (2002). Joyita: Solving the Mystery. Auckland University Press. p. 3. ISBN 1-86940-270-7. 
  10. ^ Donati, William (2000). Ida Lupino: A Biography. University Press of Kentucky. p. 39. ISBN 0-8131-0982-5. .
  11. ^ Nash, Jay Robert (2004). Great Pictorial History of World Crime. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 250. ISBN 1-928831-22-2. 

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