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Leila Hyams

Leila Hyams

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  • Comments on Leila

    • The Midnight Palace
    • 2006-09-22

    I was first introduced to Leila in "Freaks", the role for which she is probably best remembered. Her character "Venus", the sympathetic animal trainer, struck a deeper chord than a simple cinematic portrayal. I was immediately captivated and set out to find more of her films. To date I have seen about 7 of them, some more difficult to locate. As the owner of "The Midnight Palace" (www.midnightpalace.com), a website focusing on classic and obscure movies from 1900-1955, I am in the beginning stages of working on a biographical/documentary style DVD about Leila. Because she wasn't a superstar in her day, information on her is not as widespread as some of the major headliners. For instance, few know that Leila was the original Listerine model in their magazine advertisements, and that she was an avid fisherman. Another of Leila's standout roles came in Red-Headed Woman, with Jean Harlow. Leila played "Irene", an innocent and honest woman whose husband falls victim to the advances of Harlow's character. Released in 1932, the same year as "Freaks", one would assume that a film in which Hyams is paired with Jean Harlow would be the pinnacle of her filmography. To the contrary, her "Venus" provided her the most spotlight. The infamy that Freaks gained in the annals of movie history sparked too much curiosity to be ignored. Leila Hyams is a lesser known actress who deserves more notoriety for the 50 films she managed to make in her shory 10-year career.

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