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They Died So Young


TomJH
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I thought it would be appropriate if TCM contributors had a thread so that they can pay tribute to those of the film world, be they big stars or bit players, who passed away at a young age.

 

Inspired by ugaarte and willbefree's contribution to another thread, I'd like to briefly acknowledge the short life of Kaaren Verne, a German stage actress who fled Nazi Germany in 1938, taking brief refuge in England, before shortly afterward establishing a film career in the United States. Initially intending to "Americanize" herself by adapting a new name, Catherine Young, her German stage name soon returned to emphasize her anti-Nazism.

 

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Her film career of the '40s was unfortunately a brief one, highlighted by her appearance in the final scenes of King's Row, as Robert Cummings' girlfriend, as well as playing Humphrey Bogart's leading lady in a minor but amusing gangster comedy, All Through the Night. The latter film introduced her to Peter Lorre, whom she would marry in 1945. While the marriage would only last five years it would end amicably, and Verne, after later marrying for a third time, would eventually adopt Lorre's daughter after his 1964 death.

 

Verne's film career was put on hold with the '45 Lorre marriage and never would be successfully resusitated, later primarily doing TV work. Verne aged prematurely, quickly losing her youthful beauty, and she would later do character work with her more weathered features.

 

She died suddenly of a reported heart ailment in 1967. She was 49.

 

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All Through Through the Night (1942)

 

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Jimmy Durante visiting the All Through the Night set. Kaaren Verne on the left, with future hubby Peter Lorre between Bogart and Bill Demarest

 

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Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon

 

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h9RV0FCS3TkBIkYgyZI2Aj/wC9KYk6q8Ty8hR9KnaQO1R2kd0Bd2bYuFyc4APGKnaxDHZ6kUt12KERgOvJXnrSgljdGCcTi4NuUO5HX6s12nwPr39f0VXmYG7gOyUevofzXEplVdKtJVUCRpXy2OTgmtHnV3cRLLVI5WVJgwkUdGHHWoOzsAeaE3WpHc/agH6qBmOKTJrzU2qP/Z!

 

Her features growing unexpectedly coarse, Verne later did character work.

 

 

 

 

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You titled your thread, "THEY died so young", yet only brought up one person. Leaving it up to the rest of us, eh?

 

 

OK. Lori3 will be upset that you didn't mention John Garfield, whom she, and many of us also feel died too young. Along with Robert Walker Sr., James Dean, and Jean Harlow. Leslie Howard. Stephen Boyd. Brandon DeWilde.

 

 

Someone else's turn...

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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Dorothy Dell (1915-1934) died in a car crash shortly after appearing in "Little Miss Marker" (1934) at the age of 19.

 

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Judith Barsi (1978-1988) child star who was murdered by her father. Read up on that one! :(

 

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Heather O'Rourke (1975-1988)

 

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.

 

Billy Laughlin (1932-1948) who played Froggie in The Little Rascals.

 

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Anissa Jones (1958-1976) who played Buffy on "Family Affair" died from drug overdose. After watching her biography, I blame her rotten mother.

 

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Lucille Ricksen (1910-1925) forgotten silent actress.

 

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Michael Cuccione (1985-2001) Canadian actor, singer and dancer.

 

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Tara Correa-McMullen was just starting off her acting career in "Judging Amy" murdered at age 16.

 

Tara-Correa-McMullen-Murdered-At-The-Age

 

Edited by: hamradio on Sep 6, 2012 12:33 PM

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One I've been introduced to lately is Vera Kholodnaya.

 

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In her TCM Programming Challenge, SansFin wrote,

"Vera Kholodnaya had a life as dramatic as her movies. She was named: "The Queen of the Screen" and she starred in a hundred movies before she was murdered by the French to hide a scandal when she was only twenty-five years of age. Be Silent, Sorrow, Be Silent (1918) is available for viewing in full in twelve parts on YouTube. My TCM Import is: Island of the Dead (1993) which is Oleg Kovalov's documentary of her."

 

There's a statue of her in the city where she died.

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Silent movie lovers have done tributes to her.

 

 

One of her 5 extant movies is on YouTube.

 

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Karl Dane (1886-1934)

 

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Karl Dane, a giant big boned Dane who, aside from his chaotic Hollywood career, also worked as, among other occupations, a carpenter and chicken farmer. A familiar face to fans of silent cinema, he initially played villainous Hun parts during WWI but by the time of the anti-war 1925 classic, The Big Parade, he was most affecting as John Gilbert's buddy. Dane enjoyed considerable popularity in supporting roles in late '20s silents, supporting Gish in La Boheme and The Scarlet Letter, Valentino in Son of the Shiek and Gilbert again in Bardelys the Magnificent. For a while Dane and George K. Arthur were co-starred in a series of silent comedy shorts.

 

The downfall for Karl Dane was the advent of the talkies. His thick accent made it a challenge to find the right roles for him, and by 1932 he was treated as pretty much unemployable in Hollywood. That includes Leo the Lion, turning its studio back on him (The Big Parade a distant memory for them now, it would appear) and reportedly even refusing to hire Dane as a carpenter.

 

Legend has it that Dane then bought a hot dog stand, selling his products outside MGM's gate. (The source of that was Hollywood Babylon so who knows the accuracy). With nothing seeming to go right for the unfortunate former actor he even had his pocket picked of all he owned, $18.

 

Just days after his pocket was picked he was found dead in his apartment, slumped in a chair, a revolver in his hand, with a simple goodbye note to his friends. Karl Dane was 47.

 

Jean Hersholt, concerned that Dane was going to get a pauper's funeral, pressured MGM to do something for him in death that they hadn't done in the final years of his life, help out. He was buried in Hollywood Memorial Cemetary, with Hersholt one of his pall bearers.

 

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The Big Parade, with John Gilbert

 

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Son of the Sheik, with Valentino

 

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George K. Arthur and Karl Dane enjoyed considerable popularity for a while as a comedy team; with Jack Benny in this shot

 

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*Mabel Normand* passed away on February 23, 1930 from tuberulosis --

and IMHO too many pratfalls, both on screen and in real life.

 

 

 

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*"This thing is horrible ! ... WHO CARES ?"* she wrote in the months preceding

her death while confined in a sanitorium in Monrovia, California.

 

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*"Part of what done it"* ... a letter from Mabel asking for the name of a friend's

bootlegger and complaining about a medical problem with her ear ...

 

 

 

 

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Linda Darnell, born in October 1923, died in April 1965, when she was 41 years old. She died in a house fire, after going back and trying to rescue an occupant she felt was still inside. Earlier that evening, she had been watching one of her early starring roles in STAR DUST (1940), loosely based on her arrival in Hollywood. Ironically, she had a lifelong fear of fire, having close calls or actually having been slightly burned on the sets of HANGOVER SQUARE (1945), ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM (1946), and FOREVER AMBER (1947). She aslo had a close call when her car caught fire while on the way to the studio during the filming of NO WAY OUT (1950).

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Thank you Sepiatone. Yes, I think John Garfield died young. Even in 1952 to die of a massive coronary at age 39 is pretty darn young. Of course he had suffered most of his adult life with that rheumatic heart, and with antibiotics only coming into play during WWII the damage was already done to Garfield's heart. I do believe however he could longer if he had taken better care of himself and had the attitude towards HUAC of " this too shall pass." Yet, I think the pain of seeing friends turn there back on him and being accused of being a harm to the country he loved so much was just to much for him to bare. I think he just had enough of the stress, the pain, the sleepless nights that he and his heart just gave up. I agree with Garfield's daughter Julie, when she said, "My father died more from a broken heart or attack on the heart, than from a heart attack."

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John Garfield left this earth at age 39

 

Bobby Darin is another victim of a rheumatic heart and he died at age 36! He during his life he was able to have heart surgery to replace his damaged heart valves. However, years later the doctors advised another surgery to replace one of the valves that wasn't functioning properly. Before surgery he had a dental procedure in which he knew he was suppose to take pre-procedure antibiotics but he did not take them. As a result he was in surgery for something like 4-5 hours, taken to the recovery room and died there. What a waste. I don't know why didn't to that simple but very important step of taking those damn antibiotics. Bobby Darin was a great talent, great singer. IMHO.

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Bobby Darin left this earth at age 36

 

Thanks

Lori

 

Edited by: Lori3 on Sep 6, 2012 6:00 PM

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Silent star *Robert (Bobby) Harron* made 220 films in 13 years !

 

He's remembered these days as D.W. Griffith's top male star but

also because of the mysterious circumstances of his death

(yesterday was its 92nd anniversary).

 

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From Filmbug:

 

Robert Harron's film career continued to flourish throughout the 1910s and he was occasionally paired with leading actresses Mae Marsh and Lillian Gish with romantic plots, often in roles that cemented his sensitive boy image.

 

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By 1920 however, it was reported that film director D. W. Griffith's interest in the young actor had waned and when Griffith hired film actor Barthelmess to star in his 1920 film Way Down East, Harron was inconsolable.

 

On September 5, 1920, while in New York City to attend the film premiere of Way Down East, Harron fatally shot himself in the left lung in his hotel room with a revolver that he had placed in a jacket.

 

Supposedly the weapon was purchased during the afternoon from a street begger ... [W]hile changing jackets for the evening's event, the gun fell out of the pocket and when it struck the floor the bullet was released.

 

Although the death was officially ruled accidental, many historians believe that Harron committed suicide. However, many of those closest to the actor vehemently refuted that Harron, a devout Catholic, would ever have considered suicide. While on his deathbed, Harron reportedly confided to his boyhood priest that his gunshot wound was the result of an accident.

 

Nevertheless, in preparation for a 1993 film festival scheduled in honor Harron's birth centennial at MOMA, Joseph P. Fanning (the organizer and main lecturer) researched and obtained copies of the death certificate/medical records.

 

*These documents showed, that despite the public record, the angle of the wound and the width of the powder burns associated could not be the result of a mere accident. Thus, despite the lack of any witnesses, the evidence clearly indicated that Harron's death was a result of suicide.*

 

The main hypothesis for the action was determined to be the result of disappointment due to the fact that Griffith, a substitute father, had passed Mr. Harron over for stardom in Way Down East.

 

Robert Harron was 27 years old at the time of his death and had never married. His film career spanned nearly fifteen years and Harron had appeared in over two hundred films.

 

Harron was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens, New York City.

 

http://www.filmbug.com/db/294464

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Errol Flynn (1909-1959)

 

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Flynn, approximately 1940, on top of the world as a film star

 

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Flynn, October, 1959, arriving at Vancouver airport, days before his heart attack death

 

"Alcohol is a far greater killer than all opiates. You can buy alcohol on any street corner around the world. It gets your brain, your liver. It destroys your morals, destroys your vitality, kills the sexual potential and you become sluggish. . . . We who are weak take to it and are destroyed by it, but it is essentially a weakness of governments everywhere to allow this poison to circulate like a river through the bloodstream of the human race. As one of the heartiest drinkers in the world, I speak with a voice of authority."

 

Errol Flynn Diary, January 23, 1952

 

Flynn's self destruction was compounded by drug use. Less well known, he also had the pressure of incredibly complicated financial affairs during the '50s, partially compounded by a business manager who had stolen from him for years.

 

Errol Flynn died at age 50 but the coroner said it could have been the body of a 70 year old. The actor, if he could have heard that statement, would probably have claimed to have been proud that he had lived his life to that extent. That kind of statement would have been typical of Flynn, always the smile in public, always the laughing facade. But this is also a man who once admitted that he cried more than most men when he was alone.

 

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Flynn loved his Jamaican estate, once stating that he wanted to be buried under a particular tree on it. This is the kind of view of the Caribbean that he saw from that estate. "The second half century looms up," the actor ended his autobiography, months before his death," but I don't feel the night coming on."

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> {quote:title=RaquelVixen wrote:}{quote}

> The buxom comedienne Carol Wayne was 43 when she drowned in Mexico, under mysterious circumstances.

>

Today would have been her 70th birthday.

 

I thought that Angela Aames had a shot at being a similar type, and she too died tragically young of heart disease at age 32.

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> {quote:title=lavenderblue wrote:}{quote}Tyrone Power, Jeffrey Chandler, Jeffrey Hunter, George Reeves, *Virginia Weidler*, Peggy Ann Garner, Scotty Beckett, Gail Russell,Jean Seberg, Marilyn Maxwell, Gloria Grahame

>

> names added on to the 65 or younger list

>

> Edited by: lavenderblue on Sep 6, 2012 12:50 PM

 

 

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Thank you for mentioning Virginia before I did. Like John Garfield and Bobby Darin, Virginia Weidler died of complications from rheumatic heart disease. Like Jean Harlow, there is some question as to whether her Christian Science faith played a large role in her early death. Based on what little I've been able to find out it certainly appears that Virginia, even in adulthood, continued to lean on the spiritual over physical treatment which might have prolonged her life.

 

Of course, career-wise MGM killed her in 1943.

 

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WOW Tom, Flynn looked so bad. I don't mean to be cruel but he could have been a "poster boy" of what addiction to alcohol does to you. His face also shows how powerful the disease of addiction is, and during my years in nursing I have seen many young people destroy their lives because of their addiction. Damn addiction is a very powerful disease.

 

I think I read where Flynn did die of a heart attack, but he was revived for a little while in the doctor's office, but expired at the hospital or on the way to the hospital.

 

John Hodiak is another actor who died young at the age of 41. He dropped dead while shaving in the bathroom, getting ready to go to the studio.

 

People who die of the "big" one are lucky in away because they don't know what "hit them" and they don't suffer.

What happens is the heart goes almost immediately in a eradicate rhythm, ventricular fib, which causes the person to lose consciousness and then unless their hearts are "shocked" back to a normal rhythm, they die.

 

This is what most likely happened to Hodiak, Bing Crosby (he just dropped dead on a golf course) and Garfield in his sleep. The big one "hit" and there was equipment around or no one around to try and save them. You can sometimes bring the person back with a strong hit to their sternum (breastbone) with your fist.

 

My mother died in her sleep and while it is a blessing really to go that way because there is no suffering, it is very hard on the family and friend because it comes as such a shock, and you have no time to prepare yourself for the loss.

 

Lori

 

 

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Actually, Lori, on that last day, in anticipation of a trip to Vancouver Airport in order to return to LA, Errol Flynn was complaining of lower back and leg pains (the back pain was from a long time injury), and was taken to a doctor's apartment for pain killers. When his back started to feel better the actor then leaned against a door jamb and told Hollywood anecdotes for a little while. He then decided to lie down on the doctor's bedroom floor, with a few people looking in on him on occasion to be sure that he was ok.

 

It was his teenage girlfriend, Beverly Aadland, who then found him, blue in the face, with barely a pulse. The doctor tried to revive him but it was too late. There was no revival. After years of slow suicide, at the end it was, as you say, quite quick for the movie swashbuckler.

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Actually Tom, then Flynn did "go quick." Blessing for him, and really a blessing the doctor couldn't bring him back. Just from that small photo you posted of Flynn he really didn't look like he was going to last much longer.

 

 

Lori

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Lori, Flynn knew he was on borrowed time. He had been told that he only had about a year to live by a doctor around the beginning of the '50s, and had managed to last to the end of the decade. Not that many months before his death a second doctor had given him a year or so to go.

 

When Flynn informed Nora Eddington, his former wife, in 1959 that he didn't have long to live, and she started to cry, he responded, words to the effect, "Don't cry. You know I've lived twice and I've had a marvelous life."

 

That upbeat statement sums up the philosophy that Flynn liked to extoll about his life. He never asked for sympathy. I think his appearance at the Vancouver airport gives an indication of the price that he had to pay. In many respects, Flynn really was a fearless human being, and that included dealing with death.

 

But that's also one of the things about Flynn's increased self destructiveness during much of the '50s that should be kept in mind, the fact that he knew that death wasn't far away. It was almost like a game with him, I think. He wasn't going to run from death in any way (in fact, his addictive lifestyle only assured it was happen more than ever), but he loved to thumb his nose at it.

 

Earl Conrad, while helping Flynn write his autobiography in 1958, later wrote that the actor loved to scuba dive, going underwater so deep that he knew he had only minutes of oxygen left in his tank and had to get to the surface immediately in order to survive. Flynn would play this game with death deliberately and, when he beat death once again that day, talk and talk exuberantly how he had bested it. Flynn hated boredom, and in an attempt to break the monotony of the day he would even endanger his own life. The problem is that he would soon start to grow bored again.

 

He was, to put it mildly, a complex human being.

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