Mary Astor


Actor
Mary Astor

About

Also Known As
Lucille Vasconcellos Langhanke
Birth Place
Quincy, Illinois, USA
Born
May 03, 1906
Died
September 25, 1987
Cause of Death
Complications Resulting From Emphysema

Biography

Groomed from childhood to be a star, Mary Astor fulfilled that dream and proved to be an exceptional performer. Beauty contest exposure and an exceptionally camera-friendly face earned her an invitation to Hollywood and Astor gradually moved from supporting assignments to leads in such major silent films as "Beau Brummel" (1924), "Don Q Son of Zorro" (1925), and "Don Juan" (1926). She e...

Photos & Videos

Beau Brummel - Lobby Card
Little Women (1949) - Publicity Stills
The Lost Squadron - Lobby Card

Family & Companions

John Barrymore
Companion
Actor. Reportedly fell in love when they co-starred together in "Beau Brummel".
Kenneth Hawks
Husband
Director. Married from February 1928 until his death in a plane crash on January 2, 1930; brother of Howard Hawks.
Franklyn Thorpe
Husband
Doctor. Married on June 29, 1931; divorced on April 12, 1935; given custody of daughter Marylyn; Astor sued and was awarded custody for 3/4 of each year.
George S Kauffman
Companion
Playwright, director. Affair with Kauffman was made public when her diaries were read in court during divorce proceedings from Thorpe.

Bibliography

"A Life on Film"
Mary Astor, Delacorte (1971)
"My Story, An Autobiography"
Mary Astor, Doubleday (1959)
"The Incredible Charlie Carewe"
Mary Astor
"A Place Called Saturday"
Mary Astor

Notes

Reportedly, Astor's part in "The Great Lie" was built up at the insistence of co-star Bette Davis in an attempt to salvage a weak script.

"A painter paints, a musician plays, a writer writes - but a movie actor waits." --Mary Astor in "A Life on Film"

Biography

Groomed from childhood to be a star, Mary Astor fulfilled that dream and proved to be an exceptional performer. Beauty contest exposure and an exceptionally camera-friendly face earned her an invitation to Hollywood and Astor gradually moved from supporting assignments to leads in such major silent films as "Beau Brummel" (1924), "Don Q Son of Zorro" (1925), and "Don Juan" (1926). She easily made the jump to sound pictures and displayed her versatility in everything from the sizzling "Red Dust" (1932) to the elegant "Dodsworth" (1936) to the screwball classic "Midnight" (1939). However, she was truly indelible as the deceitful heroine of "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) and gave an Oscar-winning barnstormer of a performance in "The Great Lie" (1941) that managed to overshadow the rarely dwarfed Bette Davis. In between the triumphs, Astor dealt with much adversity, including the money-grubbing machinations of her parents, several failed marriages, infidelity charges, a suicide attempt, and a penchant for alcohol that plagued her for two decades. She publically aired those problems in the autobiography My Story (1959), the success of which helped to launch a new career for Astor as a novelist at a time when her movie career was coming to a close. Thanks to the enduring love for "The Maltese Falcon" (1941), it would almost certainly be Astor's best remembered credit, but her considerable dramatic and comedic abilities were on full view during virtually all phases of a commendable career that spanned four decades.

Mary Astor was born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke on May 3, 1906 in Quincy, IL. Instructed in piano from a young age and possessing a lovely face, Astor's participation in beauty contests convinced her parents that she might have a chance in show business. When photographs of the striking teenager came to the attention of Paramount Pictures, Astor first stepped before the cameras in the silent "Bullets or Ballots" (1921). Although her association with that company proved short, Astor found work in both features and shorts produced by independent companies. She earned her first lead role in the drama "Second Fiddle" (1923), but her profile was raised considerably after being cast opposite John Barrymore in the Warner Bros. epic "Beau Brummel" (1924). Similarly prestigious assignments followed in "Don Q Son of Zorro" (1925) and "Don Juan" (1926), but Astor was also faced with some significant dilemmas. In the time since she proved successful at acting, Astor's parents had grown increasingly domineering, taking control of her finances and holding her a virtual prisoner in a home they had purchased using their daughter's money.

Meanwhile, follow-up features like "The Rough Riders" (1927) and "Dressed to Kill" (1928) had further cemented the actress' star status and her salary eventually reached $10,000 per month. Astor was able to partially extricate herself in 1928 after marrying writer-director Kenneth Hawks, but the majority of her paycheck continued to be pilfered by her parents. Sadly, Hawks perished in a plane crash in January 1930, seven weeks short of their second anniversary. Astor would eventually succeed in casting off her parental predicament via the legal system, which reduced those financial obligations to a mere $100 per month. In the interim, Astor easily navigated the switch to talkies in productions like "The Runaway Bride" (1930), "The Lash" (1930), and "Behind Office Doors" (1931). Of particular note was the sexy adventure "Red Dust" (1932), where Astor was part of a memorable romantic triangle with Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. She also enlivened the excellent Philo Vance mystery "The Kennel Murder Case" (1933) and proved a good match with opposing leading men Edward G. Robinson and Louis Calhern in "The Man with Two Faces" (1934), where she played a vulnerable actress whose comeback is endangered by her evil, Svengali-like husband. The film was based on the play "The Dark Tower," which was co-written by the celebrated George S. Kaufman, whose presence in Astor's life would inadvertently contribute to more headaches that she could possibly imagine.

Following Hawks' death, Astor wed Dr. Franklyn Thorpe, but it was an unhappy union and Astor frequently saw other men that piqued her interest. A few months after their 1935 divorce, Thorpe took Astor to court to try and gain custody of the daughter they had together. As evidence to back up his claims, Thorpe threatened to introduce Astor's "blue" diary, which contained graphic details of her infidelity, including pages devoted to dalliances with Kaufman. While the document was ultimately ruled inadmissible due to pages having been removed, its existence was widely reported in the highly excitable press who had not had such a field day watching a woman's reputation crash and burn since Clara Bow's secretary had blackmailed the star, revealing her many sexual conquests in court. In the end, Astor was awarded custody of the girl for nine months per year and the public proved indifferent to the scandal, unlike how they had with Bow. In fact, the significant success of the actress' next feature, William Wyler's superb literary adaptation "Dodsworth" (1936), found Astor more popular than ever and she moved on to such notable efforts as "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1937) and "The Hurricane" (1937).

She next wed film editor Manuel del Campo, and did some of her finest acting of the period in the frequently hilarious farce "Midnight" (1939), which reunited her with and former lover John Barrymore. In the picture, she played his patronizing aristocratic spouse, whose infidelity accidentally aids destitute showgirl Claudette Colbert with her scheme to pass as a member of the Hungarian aristocracy. A wonderful, fast-paced comedy well-acted by all, Astor's work on the picture was complicated by the actress' second pregnancy, which necessitated much planning and careful camera placement to hide the accompanying weight gain. As good as she had been in several movies up to that point, it was 1941 that proved to be a banner year for Astor. She essayed her most famous role as the lovely, but decidedly deceitful heroine of John Huston's "The Maltese Falcon" (1941), a masterful adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett novel that ranked amongst the greatest detective films ever produced.

On top of that exceptional bit of characterization, Astor won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her remarkably vivid performance as Bette Davis' romantic rival in "The Great Lie" (1941). It was a very different sort of part for Astor and the vigor with which she tore into it surprised and impressed both audiences and critics - as well as, no doubt, legendary on-set diva Davis, who had the picture stolen right out from under her by Astor. In hopes of rekindling the magic generated by "The Maltese Falcon," Astor, Bogart and mutual co-star Sidney Greenstreet were reteamed for Huston's "Across the Pacific" (1942), though lightning did not strike twice and the resulting film was competent, but disappointingly ordinary. Preston Sturges' "The Palm Beach Story" (1942) offered a much better vehicle for Astor, who provided wonderful support for stars Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea in a sparkling screwball farce. Astor soon joined the contract player ranks at MGM and graced a variety of projects, including the glossy musicals "Thousands Cheer" (1943) and "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944), in which she memorably played Judy Garland's turn-of-the-century matriarch. She also starred opposite Lana Turner and Spencer Tracy in the Sinclair Lewis adaptation "Cass Timberlane" (1947), and appeared in the superior film noir "Act of Violence" (1948). On the personal front, her marriage to del Campo ended in a cordial divorce after he decided to join the Canadian Air Force and she wed her final spouse, Thomas Wheelock, a union that lasted until 1955.

Although MGM kept her fairly busy, Astor was not especially happy with the sort of roles being offered, and in the wake of playing yet another mother to younger starlets in "Little Women" (1949), she decided to cease relations with the studio. She also finally took steps to end the excessive drinking that had long been complicating her life by checking into a sanitarium, but the road ahead proved difficult. After battling ill health, she attempted suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills in May 1951. In the wake of this trauma, Astor subsequently embraced Catholicism and when she was ready to work again, concentrated on television, appearing on various live dramatic anthology programs. She continued to undertake such parts throughout the remainder of the decade, while also resuming film work with supporting duties in such projects as the glossy CinemaScope mystery-thriller "A Kiss Before Dying" (1956) and the corporate drama "The Power and the Prize" (1956). In 1959, Astor penned her autobiography My Story and was frank about years of familial, marital, and substance abuse problems. Although she began to act again in features like "Return to Peyton Place" (1961) and again in a Bette Davis vehicle, "Hush.Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964), the positive response accorded to My Story launched a new career for Astor as a writer. Her first novel, The Incredible Charlie Carewe hit bookstore shelves in 1963 and was followed by four more over the next five years. In 1969, Astor penned My Life in Film, which devoted much more time and detail to that portion of her life than the autobiography had. Her days as an actress now over, Astor lived the final years of her life as a resident of the Motion Picture Country Home and succumbed to the effects of a heart attack on Sept. 25, 1987.

By John Charles

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
Mrs. Jewel Mayhew
Youngblood Hawke (1964)
Irene Perry
Return to Peyton Place (1961)
Roberta Carter
A Stranger in My Arms (1959)
Mrs. [Virginie] Beasley
This Happy Feeling (1958)
Margaret Tremaine
The Devil's Hairpin (1957)
Mrs. Jargin
The Power and the Prize (1956)
Mrs. George Salt
A Kiss Before Dying (1956)
Mrs. Corliss
Little Women (1949)
Marmee
Any Number Can Play (1949)
Ada
Act of Violence (1949)
Pat
Cass Timberlane (1948)
Queenie Havock
Cynthia (1947)
Louise Bishop
Fiesta (1947)
Senora Morales
Desert Fury (1947)
Fritzie Haller
Claudia and David (1946)
Elizabeth van Doren
Blonde Fever (1945)
Delilah Donay
Thousands Cheer (1944)
Hyllary Jones
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Mrs. Anna Smith
Young Ideas (1943)
Jo[sephine] Evans [Kingsley]
Across the Pacific (1942)
Alberta Marlow
The Palm Beach Story (1942)
The Princess [Maud] Centimillia
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Brigid O'Shaughnessy [also known as Miss Wonderly]
The Great Lie (1941)
Sandra [Kovak]
Brigham Young--Frontiersman (1940)
Mary Ann Young
Turnabout (1940)
Marion Manning
Midnight (1939)
Helene Flammarion
No Time to Marry (1938)
Kay McGowan
Woman Against Woman (1938)
Cynthia Holland
Listen, Darling (1938)
[Dorothy] Dotty Wingate
There's Always a Woman (1938)
Lola Fraser
Paradise for Three (1938)
Mrs. [Irene] Mallebre
The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Antoinette de Mauban
The Hurricane (1937)
Mme. [Germaine] DeLaage
And So They Were Married (1936)
Edith Farnham
Trapped by Television (1936)
Barbara "Bobby" Blake
Lady from Nowhere (1936)
Polly Dunlop, also known as Dorothy Barnes
Dodsworth (1936)
Edith Cortwright
The Murder of Dr. Harrigan (1936)
Lillian Cooper
Red Hot Tires (1935)
Patricia Sanford
Dinky (1935)
Mrs. [Martha] Daniels
Man of Iron (1935)
Vida
Straight from the Heart (1935)
Marian Henshaw
Page Miss Glory (1935)
Gladys
The Case of the Howling Dog (1934)
Bessie Foley
Upper World (1934)
Mrs. [Hettie] Stream
The Man with Two Faces (1934)
Jessica [Wells]
Return of the Terror (1934)
Olga [Morgan]
I Am a Thief (1934)
Odette [Mauclair]
Easy to Love (1934)
Charlotte [Hopkins]
The Little Giant (1933)
Ruth Wayburn
The Kennel Murder Case (1933)
Hilda Lake
The World Changes (1933)
Virginia [Nordholm]
Jennie Gerhardt (1933)
Letty Pace
Convention City (1933)
Arline Dale
The Lost Squadron (1932)
Follette [Marsh]
Men of Chance (1932)
Marthe Preston Silk
A Successful Calamity (1932)
Emmy Wilton
Those We Love (1932)
May [Ballard Williston]
Red Dust (1932)
Barbara Willis
The Royal Bed (1931)
Princess Anne
Other Men's Women (1931)
Lily
The Sin Ship (1931)
"Frisco" Kitty
White Shoulders (1931)
Norma Selbee Kent
Smart Woman (1931)
Nancy Gibson
Behind Office Doors (1931)
Mary Linden
Holiday (1930)
Julia Seton
The Runaway Bride (1930)
Mary Gray
The Lash (1930)
Rosita GarcĂ­a
Ladies Love Brutes (1930)
Mimi Howell
The Woman From Hell (1929)
Bee
New Year's Eve (1929)
Marjorie Ware
Three-Ring Marriage (1928)
Anna
Sailors' Wives (1928)
Carol Trent
Romance of the Underworld (1928)
Judith Andrews
Dressed To Kill (1928)
Jeanne
Heart to Heart (1928)
Princess Delatorre/Ellen Gutherie
Dry Martini (1928)
Elisabeth Quimby
The Rough Riders (1927)
Dolly
Two Arabian Knights (1927)
Anis Bin Adham [Mirza]
The Sea Tiger (1927)
Amy
No Place To Go (1927)
Sally Montgomery
The Sunset Derby (1927)
Molly Gibson
Don Juan (1927)
Adriana Della Varnese
Rose of the Golden West (1927)
Elena
High Steppers (1926)
Audrey Nye
Forever After (1926)
Jennie Clayton
The Wise Guy (1926)
Mary
Oh, Doctor (1925)
Dolores Hicks
Playing With Souls (1925)
Margo
The Pace That Thrills (1925)
Doris
Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925)
Dolores de Muro
Scarlet Saint (1925)
Fidele Tridon
Enticement (1925)
Leonore Bewlay
The Fighting Coward (1924)
Lucy
The Fighting American (1924)
Mary O'Mallory
Beau Brummel (1924)
Lady Margery Alvanley
Unguarded Women (1924)
Helen Castle
Inez From Hollywood (1924)
Fay Bartholdi
The Price of a Party (1924)
Alice Barrows
Hollywood (1923)
Woman-Proof (1923)
Violet Lynwood
The Marriage Maker (1923)
Vivian Hope-Clarke
The Bright Shawl (1923)
Narcissa Escobar, their daughter
Second Fiddle (1923)
Polly Crawford
Puritan Passions (1923)
Rachel
Success (1923)
Rose Randolph
The Man Who Played God (1922)
A young woman
John Smith (1922)
Irene Mason
The Rapids (1922)

Cast (Special)

The Philadelphia Story (1954)
Margaret Lord

Misc. Crew (Short)

Some of the Greatest (1955)
Archival Footage
Breakdowns of 1941 (1941)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1919

Submitted photograph to contest sponsored by Motion Picture magazine; moved to Chicago when placed among finalists but was deemed too young

1920

Family moved to NYC

1921

Film debut in a dream sequence of the film "Sentimental Journey"; cut from final print

1921

First screen appearance in title role of the short "The Beggar Maid"

1922

Feature acting debut in "John Smith"

1923

Moved to Hollywood

1924

Career boosted when she was reportedly requested by John Barrymore to play opposite him in "Beau Brummel" (produced at Warner Bros.) and "Don Juan"; they supposedly fell in love on the set

1925

Signed by Warner Bros.

1926

Named a Wampas Baby Star

1928

Loaned to Fox for "Dressed to Kill"; later signed contract with Fox

1930

First sound feature "Ladies Love Brutes"

1930

Co-starred as Julia Seton in the first screen version of Philip Barry's play "Holiday"

1932

Cast as an unfaithful wife in "Red Dust"

1933

Played a murder suspect in "The Kennel Murder Case", a Philo Vance mystery starring William Powell as the detective

1936

Made headlines when her 1929-1934 diary was introduced in divorce proceedings; the journal reportedly contained passages of her lovers in explicit detail; Astor always maintained that the pages introduced in court were forgeries

1936

Delivered a memorable supporting turn as an American expatriate in "Dodsworth"

1937

Co-starred in "The Prisoner of Zenda" and "The Hurricane"

1937

Returned to the stage as star of three one-acts by Noel Coward, "Tonight at 8:30", "The Astonished Heart" and "Still Life"

1938

Played Judy Garland's widowed mother in "Listen Darling"

1939

Reunited onscreen with John Barrymore in "Midnight"; was pregnant during filming

1941

Won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing a concert pianist in "The Great Lie"; film starred Bette Davis

1941

Cast in what is arguably her best-known role, the shady Brigid O'Shaughnessy in "The Maltese Falcon" opposite Humphrey Bogart

1942

Reteamed with Bogart in "Across the Pacific"

1942

Donned an ill-advised blonde wig as a much-married socialite in the comedy "The Palm Beach Story"

1943

Signed seven-year contract with MGM in part for the financial security; later came to regret decision as studio only seemed to cast her in matronly parts which she dubbed "The Metro Mothers"

1944

Played the matriarch of the Smith family in the charming slice of Americana "Meet Me in St. Louis"

1944

Broadway debut in the ill-fated "Many Happy Returns"

1946

Loaned to Fox to co-star in "Claudia and David"

1948

Portrayed a woman of questionable virtue in the noirish "Act of Violence"

1949

Cast as Marmee in remake of "Little Women"; Astor was so disillusioned with studio she asked to be released from her contract

1951

Struggling with alcoholism, attempted suicide; later joined Alcoholics Anonymous and converted to Catholicism

1952

Toured the USA in the stage play "The Time of the Cuckoo"

1954

TV acting debut in "The Missing Years" on "Kraft Television Theater" (ABC)

1956

Moved back to Los Angeles

1956

Toured in Shaw's "Don Juan in Hell", directed by Agnes Moorehead

1956

Returned to films after seven years to play Robert Wagner's mother in "A Kiss Before Dying"

1959

Published "My Story, An Autobiography"

1961

Portrayed the overpossessive mother of Brett Halsey in the sequel "Return to Peyton Place"

1964

Final film, "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte"; made cameo appearance as a blackmailed murderer; co-starred with Bette Davis

1971

Wrote second memoir "A Life on Film"

1976

Moved to Motion Picture Country Home

1980

Profiled in cover story of Life magazine, "Whatever Became of Mary Astor and Other Lost Stars?"

Photo Collections

Beau Brummel - Lobby Card
Beau Brummel - Lobby Card
Little Women (1949) - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Little Women (1949). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Lost Squadron - Lobby Card
The Lost Squadron - Lobby Card
The World Changes - Movie Poster
The World Changes - Movie Poster
The Hurricane - Lobby Cards
The Hurricane - Lobby Cards
Blonde Fever - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from MGM's Blonde Fever (1944), starring Philip Dorn, Mary Astor, and Gloria Grahame. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Kennel Murder Case - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from The Kennel Murder Case (1933), starring William Powell. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
A Kiss Before Dying - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from A Kiss Before Dying (1956), starring Robert Wagner and Joanne Woodward. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Don Juan - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release American movie posters for Don Juan (1927), starring John Barrymore.
Red Dust - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from MGM's Red Dust (1932), starring Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.
Maltese Falcon - Scene Stills
Here is a group of film stills from The Maltese Falcon (1941), starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet.

Videos

Movie Clip

Maltese Falcon, The (1941) - Spade And Archer San Francisco detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) receives "Miss" O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor), soon joined by partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan), early in John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, 1941, from the Dashiell Hammett novel.
Kennel Murder Case, The (1933) - The Well-Known Fancier Opening scene, introducing William Powell as sleuth Philo Vance, also Robert Barrat as "Archer Coe," Mary Astor as his ward "Hilda," Paul Cavanagh as English "Sir Thomas," plus exposition, from Warner Bros.' The Kennel Murder Case, 1933.
Any Number Can Play (1949) - Always Coming To Bat With The Bases Loaded Clark Gable as family-man casino owner Charlie, with former flame and customer Ada (Mary Astor), who interrupted him during a heart-trouble episode he's keeping secret, has already made clear he's not running away with her, but they discuss it anyway, in Any Number Can Play, 1949.
Dodsworth (1936) - You Do Need Soothing Abandoned on the deck by his wife and her handsome new friend, retiring American auto manufacturer Sam (Walter Huston, title character) is giddy about seeing land on his first trip to England, supported by a steward (Wilson Benge) then worldly Edith (Mary Astor), in William Wyler’s Dodsworth, 1936.
There's Always A Woman (1938) - Go On With Your Quarrelling Bill (Melvyn Douglas), who doesn't know his wife Sally (Joan Blondell) has taken a case for his detective agency he thinks he just shut down, tries to keep up as she tracks the dinner party of her client (Mary Astor), in There's Always A Woman, 1938.
Case Of The Howling Dog, The (1934) - Like A Common Intruder Mary Astor has appeared only in fleeting profile until now so, once the suspect housekeeper (Dorothy Tree) departs, she arrives, observed by Perry Mason’s snoop (Eddie Shubert), armed and confronting the titular dog, and Russell Hicks, slippery rival of Perry’s client, in the hit opener of the Warner Bros. series based on the Erle Stanley Gardner novels, The Case Of The Howling Dog, 1934, starring Warren William.
Kennel Murder Case, The (1931) - Don't Touch That Body Socialite Hilda (Mary Astor) proves herself a straight shooter when she walks in on society sleuth Philo Vance (William Powell), supported by law and order (Robert McWade, Eugene Pallette), investigating the death of her skinflint uncle, early in The Kennel Murder Case, 1934, directed by Michael Curtiz.
Great Lie, The (1941) - He's A Gay Lad, Really Recovering from the week-long party after their impulsive wedding at her Park Avenue spread, flier Pete (George Brent) gets past agent Mason (Grant Mitchell) and friend James (Thurston Hall) to tell pianist Sandra (Mary Astor) that they're not legally married, early in The Great Lie, 1941.
Act Of Violence (1949) - No Place To Go Frightened spouse Edith (Janet Leigh) calls Frank (Van Heflin) at the convention in L-A to warn him that Parkson (Robert Ryan) is on his trail, causing him to flee, and meet hooker Pat (Mary Astor) in a bar, in Fred Zinnemann's Act Of Violence, 1949.
Great Lie, The (1941) - I'm Going To Get Him Back Chance encounter at a New York restaurant, Maggie (Bette Davis), now married to flier Pete (George Brent), meets pianist Sandra (Mary Astor), to whom he was almost married, and who has big news, even as he calls with his own update, in The Great Lie, 1941.
Palm Beach Story, The (1942) - This Human Bacterium! Tom (also "Mac," Joel McCrea), reluctantly pretends to woo "The Princess" (Mary Astor) while his wife Gerry (Claudette Colbert), pretending to be his sister, griping about her lousy fictional husband, works on Mary's brother, super-rich Hackensacker (Rudy Vallee), hoping to secure funds for Joel's airport idea, in Preston Sturges' The Palm Beach Story, 1942.
Palm Beach Story, The (1942) - My Brother, Captain McGlue Now in Palm Beach with billionaire beau Hackensacker (Rudy Vallee), Gerry (Claudette Colbert) introduces his oft-married sister (Mary Astor) to her unexpected husband Tom (Joel McCrea), who had arrived intending to end her elaborate scam, in Preston Sturges' The Palm Beach Story, 1942.

Trailer

Dinky - (Original Trailer) Jackie Cooper is a military school cadet who isn't told his mother has been framed and sent to prison in Dinky (1935).
Man With Two Faces, The - (Original Trailer) Edward G. Robinson plays a ham actor in the film version of a George S. Kaufman - Alexander Wolcott play.
Maltese Falcon, The (1941) -- (Original Trailer) Humphrey Bogart plays Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941), possibly the greatest detective movie of all time.
Other Men's Women (1931) - (Original Trailer) A railroad engineer (Grant Withers) falls for a co-worker's wife (Mary Astor) in Other Men's Women (1931).
Easy To Love (1934) - (Original Trailer) When she thinks her husband (Adolphe Menjou) has been unfaithful, a woman (Genevieve Tobin) claims to be having an affair of her own.
Cynthia -- (Original Trailer) 15-year old Elizabeth Taylor receives her first screen kiss in Cynthia (1947).
Cass Timberlane - (Original Trailer) An aging judge creates a scandal when he marries a younger woman from the wrong side of the tracks in Cass Timberlane (1947) starring Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner.
Case of the Howling Dog, The - (Original Trailer) Perry Mason (Warren William) gets caught between feuding neighbors who claim to be married to the same woman (Mary Astor).
Blonde Fever - (Original Trailer) A woman fights to save her husband after he gets Blonde Fever (1945) with a young Gloria Grahame as the Blonde.
Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte - (Academy Preview Trailer) Heads will roll as Bette Davis fights to keep her family's secrets in Robert Aldrich's Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).
Little Women (1949) - (Original Trailer) June Allyson is Jo and Elizabeth Taylor, Amy, seen here in the original theatrical trailer for the first color version of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, 1949, delivered by co-stars Peter Lawford and Janet Leigh.
Lash, The - (Original Trailer) A Spanish nobleman (Richard Barthelmess) in Southern California turns to robbery to help the peasants in The Lash (1930).

Promo

Family

Helen Langhanke
Mother
Elocution teacher. Forced to support family after rise of anti-German sentiment during WWI; in 1934 sued Astor for non-support.
Otto Ludwig Wilhelm Langhanke
Father
Business manager, teacher, farmer. German immigrant; taught German in high school in Quincy, Illinois; acted as his daughter's business manner in the 1920s and 30s; in 1934 sued Astor for non-support; died in 1943.
Marylyn Haouli Thorpe
Daughter
Born in June 1932 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Anthony Paul Del Campo
Son
Born on June 5, 1939 in Los Angeles, California.

Companions

John Barrymore
Companion
Actor. Reportedly fell in love when they co-starred together in "Beau Brummel".
Kenneth Hawks
Husband
Director. Married from February 1928 until his death in a plane crash on January 2, 1930; brother of Howard Hawks.
Franklyn Thorpe
Husband
Doctor. Married on June 29, 1931; divorced on April 12, 1935; given custody of daughter Marylyn; Astor sued and was awarded custody for 3/4 of each year.
George S Kauffman
Companion
Playwright, director. Affair with Kauffman was made public when her diaries were read in court during divorce proceedings from Thorpe.
Manuel Del Campo
Husband
Married in February 1937; divorced in 1941.
Thomas Gordon Wheelock
Husband
Married in December 1945; separated in the early 1950s; divorced in 1955.

Bibliography

"A Life on Film"
Mary Astor, Delacorte (1971)
"My Story, An Autobiography"
Mary Astor, Doubleday (1959)
"The Incredible Charlie Carewe"
Mary Astor
"A Place Called Saturday"
Mary Astor
"Image of Kate"
Mary Astor

Notes

Reportedly, Astor's part in "The Great Lie" was built up at the insistence of co-star Bette Davis in an attempt to salvage a weak script.

"A painter paints, a musician plays, a writer writes - but a movie actor waits." --Mary Astor in "A Life on Film"