This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Anita Page, 1910-2008, R.I.P.

Actress Anita Page has died at the age of 98. Ms. Page passed away peacefully, in her sleep. According to the Washington Post, "No cause of death was reported." Guys. She was 98. I'll forgo any other wisecracks that come to mind, out of respect.

She was often credited with being the last surviving star who had worked in silent films as an adult.

Her very first film role, a bit part, was in "A Kiss for Cinderella," a 1925 flick which has been on my personal want list for about ten years now! (I've linked to a contemporary review of that film, worth checking out if for no other reason than the "banana" reference... )

During her heyday, she co-starred with -- or at least, appeared with -- film legends such as Lon Chaney, Buster Keaton, Joan Crawford, Walter Huston, Ramon Novarro, Clark Gable, Robert Montgomery, John Gilbert, Marie Dressler, Constance Bennett, Polly Moran, Bessie Love, William Haines, Johnny Mack Brown... and among her voluminous piles of fan mail were roughly 100 marriage proposals from none other than Benito Mussolini. Among her close friends were Marion Davies and *sigh* Jean Harlow.

(For Ms. Page's impressions on several subjects, including her opinions of some of her male leads, there's a two-part interview here.)

She appeared in 1928's "Our Dancing Daughters" -- and its two sequels -- alongside perennial mega-chienne Joan Crawford. The two reportedly did not get along swimmingly. Huh. Joan Crawford? Who'da thunk it?

Anita Page and Bessie Love co-starred as sisters in the 1929 musical "The Broadway Melody," the first "talkie" to win the Academy Award for best motion picture.

Ms. Page's career suffered over time due to her refusal to succumb to the dubious lures of the so-called Hollywood "casting couch" offers from Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer. Industry-wide reprisals from the latter refusal -- which Mayer made while Anita's mother was also in his office! -- was particularly damaging, as may be expected.

She briefly married the composer Nacio Herb Brown ("Singin’ in the Rain," "You Were Meant for Me," "Pagan Love Song," "You Are My Lucky Star" ). The marriage was annulled when Ms. Page discovered that the two had wed before Brown's divorce from his previous wife had been finalized. Oops.

She retired outright in 1937 when she married Naval officer Herschel A. House. They were together until his death in 1991.

During the mid-1990s, Ms. Page came out of retirement. She appeared in some cheapie horror flicks, such as "Witchcraft XI: Sisters in Blood." In fact, her very last film, "Frankenstein Rising" -- in which she appears with former child star Margaret O'Brien and former "Munchkin" Jerry Maren -- hasn't even been released yet!

And now, in Anita Page's honor, may we have a brief moment of "silents?"

Thanks for your time.

7 comments:

I Ain't No Oprah said...

I love the pix that Bunny Yeager did of her.

David'Z RantZ said...

Boy, are you misinformed. Bunny Yeager is a test pilot, silly!

Ahhh, you're just mad 'cause I talked about Mussolini and didn't mention his pal Adolf.

cousin saul said...

Wasn't she the one who said,"A day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine?"

clarence said...

No. She was the liar who claimed I sexually harassed her!

cousin saul said...

mmmmm....for some reason, I feel like drinking an ice-cold Coca Cola.

David'Z RantZ said...

I just did have an ice-cold Coca-Cola, and... p-too! p-too!... That's odd...

Sparkle Plenty said...

Farewell, Anita! I'm more excited about Marion Davies being one of her friends than Jean Harlow, but that's probably because I'm not a fella.

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