Laura La Plante
Laura La Plante
November 1, 1904
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||October 14, 1996 (aged 91)|
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
|Burial place||cremated, ashes scattered at sea|
(m. 1926; div. 1934)
(m. 1934; died 1985)
|Relatives||Violet La Plante (sister)|
Laura La Plante (born Laura LaPlant; November 1, 1904 – October 14, 1996) was an American film actress, whose more notable performances were in the silent era.
Silent film career
La Plante made her acting debut at age 15, and in 1923 she was named as one of that year's WAMPAS Baby Stars. During the 1920s, she appeared in more than 60 films. Her early films include Big Town Round-Up (1921), with cowboy star Tom Mix, the serials Perils of the Yukon (1922), Around the World in Eighteen Days (1923), and several movies with Hoot Gibson.
The majority of the films starring La Plante (from 1921 to 1930) were made for Universal Pictures. During this period, she was the studio's most popular star, "an accomplishment duplicated only by Deanna Durbin years later", and almost always enjoyed top billing.
One of La Plante's early surviving films is the 1925 film Smouldering Fires, directed by Clarence Brown and costarring Pauline Frederick. Her best remembered film is arguably the silent classic The Cat and the Canary (1927), although she also achieved acclaim for Skinner's Dress Suit (1926), with Reginald Denny, the part-sound The Love Trap (1929), directed by William Wyler, and the 1929 part-sound Show Boat (1929), adapted from the novel of the same name by Edna Ferber.
Although this last film was an adaptation of the novel, and not of the famous musical play also adapted from the 1926 novel, some songs from the play were included into the film as box-office insurance. She did not actually sing in the movie; her singing was dubbed by Eva Olivetti, one of the early instances in which this was done in a motion picture. A scene of La Plante in Show Boat was broadcast in the early days of British television.
Transition to sound films
The advent of sound films effectively shortened her career. In her mid-20s, La Plante was a natural and appealing presence in early sound films, but the huge wave of new stars in these years overshadowed her. She made her last appearances for Universal in the Technicolor musical King of Jazz (1930). She appeared in God's Gift to Women (Warner Bros., 1931), directed by Michael Curtiz and co-starring Frank Fay and Joan Blondell, and Arizona (Columbia, 1931), co-starring alongside a young John Wayne.
La Plante subsequently went to Britain to work at Warner Brother's Teddington Studios. The company had faced criticism for the low quality of its "quota quickies", and her arrival coincided with an attempt to make more expensive productions. She starred in Man of the Moment (1935), with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. She appeared in the West End playing the lead in Ian Hay's Admirals All. La Plante briefly was considered to replace Myrna Loy in the Thin Man series when Loy thought about leaving, but Loy stayed as Nora Charles, and La Plante's career never rebounded. She retired from the screen in 1935, making only two later films, and 1957's Spring Reunion was her last. Her younger sister, actress Violet, never achieved Laura's level of fame; both sisters were WAMPAS Baby Stars.
On June 3, 1954 (Season 4 Episode 38), La Plante made a guest appearance (as herself, Mrs. Laura Asher) on Groucho Marx's quiz show You Bet Your Life. In this episode, La Plante discussed numerous topics, including her husband Irving Asher, who had just lost 25 pounds and completed the film Elephant Walk with Elizabeth Taylor. Mrs. Asher asked that her winnings, if any, go to the Motion Picture Relief Fund. They got three out of four questions correct to win $215. In the mid-1980s, La Plante was brought on stage in a wheelchair to wave to the crowd at the "Night of a Hundred Stars" event.
La Plante died on October 14, 1996, at the age of 91 in Woodland Hills, California. Her death was due to Alzheimer's disease. Despite contrary belief about her rumored interment at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego, California, La Plante was actually cremated by Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California, and her ashes scattered at sea.
- Laura La Plante Drive in Agoura Hills, California
|1921||Play Square||May Laverne|
|1922||Perils of the Yukon||Olga||Lost film|
|The Wall Flower||Prue Nickerson||Lost film|
|1923||Around the World in Eighteen Days||Madge Harlow||Lost film|
|Dead Game||Alice Mason|
|Burning Words||Mary Malcolm|
|Shootin' for Love||Mary Randolph|
|Out of Luck||Mae Day|
|The Ramblin' Kid||Carolyn June||Lost film|
|The Thrill Chaser||Cameo Appearance||Lost film|
|1924||Sporting Youth||Betty Rockford|
|Excitement||Nila Lyons||Lost film|
|The Dangerous Blonde||Diane Faraday||Lost film|
|Young Ideas||Octavia Lowden|
|Ride for Your Life||Betsy Burke||Lost film|
|The Fatal Plunge||Undertemined Role|
|The Fast Worker||Connie Fowler|
|1925||Smouldering Fires||Dorothy Vale|
|The Teaser||Ann Barton||Lost film|
|Dangerous Innocence||Ann Church||Lost film|
|1926||The Beautiful Cheat||Mary Callahan / Maritza Callahansky|
|Skinner's Dress Suit||Mrs. Honey Skinner|
|The Midnight Sun||Olga 'The Midnight Sun' Morova|
|Her Big Night||Frances Norcross/Daphne Dix|
|Butterflies in the Rain||Mrs. Glenson|
|Poker Faces||Betty Whitmore|
|1927||The Love Thrill||Joyce Bragdon||Lost film|
|Beware of Widows||Joyce Bragdon|
|Silk Stockings||Tina Carteret|
|The Cat and the Canary||Annabelle West|
|1928||Thanks for the Buggy Ride||Jenny|
|Finders Keepers||Barbara Hastings|
|Home, James||Laura Elliot|
|1929||The Last Warning||Doris Terry|
|Show Boat||Magnolia Hawks|
|The Love Trap||Evelyn Todd|
|Hold Your Man||Mary|
|1930||King of Jazz||Editor|
|Captain of the Guard||Marie Marnay|
|1931||Stout Hearts and Willing Hands||The Heroine|
|Arizona||Evelyn Palmer Bonham|
|God's Gift to Women||Diane Churchill|
|Lonely Wives||Diane O'Dare|
|Too Many Women|
|Meet the Wife||Gertrude Lennox|
|The Sea Ghost||Evelyn Inchcape|
|1933||Her Imaginary Lover||Celia|
|1934||The Girl in Possession||Eve Chandler|
|The Church Mouse||Betty 'Miss Church Mouse' Miller|
|1935||Widow's Might||Nancy Tweesdale|
|Man of the Moment||Mary Briany|
|1947||Little Mister Jim||Mrs. Glenson|
|1957||Spring Reunion||May Brewster|
- Brownlow, Kevin (October 16, 1996). "Obituary: Laura La Plante". Independent. Archived from the original on October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Drew, William. Speaking of Silents. Vestal, NJ. Vestal Press, 1989, p. 89. ISBN 0-911572-81-3
- [Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses p. 210]
- Kreuger, Miles. Show Boat – The Story of a Classic American Musical. New York, NY. Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 97.
- John Wayne: American ISBN 0-8032-8970-7 p. 702
- Morphosyntactic Categories and the Expression of Possession ISBN 978-9-027-27300-0 p. 192
- from the DVD Groucho Marx --You Bet Your Life put out by "TV Classics"
- "Hollywood Star Walk: Laura La Plante". Los Angeles Times. October 16, 1996. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- Wilson, Scott (September 16, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476625997 – via Google Books.
- Laura La Plante Dr – Google Maps (Map) (2014 ed.). Google Maps. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
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