Lila Leeds

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Lila Leeds
Lila Leeds.jpg
Lila Lee Wilkinson

(1928-01-28)January 28, 1928
DiedSeptember 15, 1999(1999-09-15) (aged 71)
Years active1946–1949
Spouse(s)Jack Little (annulled)
Dean O. McCollom (1949–1950)
Irving Rochlin (1951–?)

Lila Leeds (born Lila Lee Wilkinson, January 28, 1928 – September 15, 1999) was an American film actress.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Iola, Kansas, Leeds's mother located to Clovis, New Mexico where Lila lived during her teens. Lila worked the box office at the local movie theatre. She then ran away from home. She worked as a dancer in St. Louis before moving to Los Angeles. While working as a hatcheck girl at Ciro's, she met and married actor, composer, singer and conductor Jack Little. The marriage was annulled when Leeds discovered that Little was already married.[1]

After taking an acting course at the Bliss-Hayden School of Acting, Leeds signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and began appearing in small roles. Leeds appeared in the Red Skelton film The Show-Off (1946); Lady in the Lake (1947), based on a Raymond Chandler story; and in the Lana Turner vehicle Green Dolphin Street, where she played a Eurasian who drugs the leading man and rolls him for his money. She had a small part in So You Want to Be a Detective, which was part of the Joe McDoakes series of theatrical shorts.

On September 1, 1948, Leeds gained notoriety for being arrested together with actor Robert Mitchum on charges of marijuana possession. She subsequently spent sixty days in jail.[2][3]

Considered a Lana Turner look-alike, Leeds was 20 years old and engaged to Turner's ex-husband Stephen Crane at the time of her arrest. Cheryl Crane, Turner and Stephen's daughter, wrote that Leeds first tried marijuana with members of Stan Kenton's orchestra and that she was introduced to heroin while in jail. After Leeds was arrested, Stephen Crane fled to Europe rather than become entangled in scandal.[4][page needed]

Although she starred in the Reefer Madness–style film She Shoulda Said No! (1949) following her release from prison, her acting career, unlike Mitchum's, never recovered from the scandal.[5]

Later years[edit]

Unable to find more work in films, Leeds left California in 1949. She moved around the Midwest where she worked in nightclubs, married and divorced twice, and had three children, Shawn, Ivan and Laura, all of whom live in Southern California. She eventually made her way back to Los Angeles in 1966 where she studied religion and volunteered at local missions and soup kitchens.[6]


On September 15, 1999, Leeds died of a heart attack at age 71 in Los Angeles.[7]


Year Title Role Notes
1946 I Love My Husband, But! Blonde trying on Hat Short, Uncredited
1946 The Show-Off Flo
1947 Lady in the Lake Receptionist
1947 Green Dolphin Street Eurasian Girl Uncredited
1947 Always Together Blonde Uncredited
1948 April Showers Society Girl Uncredited
1948 So You Want to Be a Detective Veronica Vacuum Short, Uncredited
1948 Moonrise Julie
1949 City Across the River Undetermined Role Uncredited
1949 She Shoulda Said No! Anne Lester
1949 The House Across the Street Billie Martin Uncredited, (final film role)


  1. ^ Server, Lee (2002). Robert Mitchum: "Baby I Don't Care". Macmillan. pp. 158–159. ISBN 0-312-28543-4.
  2. ^ Silver, Alain; Ursini, James; Duncan, Paul (2004). Film Noir. Taschen. p. 173. ISBN 3-8228-2261-2.
  3. ^ "Robert Mitchum Arrested with Two Movie Actresses in Marijuana Party Raid." St. Petersburg Times, September 2, 1948.
  4. ^ Detour: A Hollywood Story, by Cheryl Crane
  5. ^ Fleming, E. J. (2004). The Fixers: Eddie Mannix, Howard Strickling, and the MGM Publicity Machine. McFarland. pp. 219–220. ISBN 0-7864-2027-8.
  6. ^ Server, Lee (2002). Robert Mitchum: "Baby I Don't Care". Macmillan. p. 457. ISBN 0-312-28543-4.
  7. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 434. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved 4 November 2018.

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