My upcoming biography, Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood, to be released in December 2017, is now available for pre-order at 30% off through June 30, 2017! Use discount code FS30 on the University Press of Kentucky’s website.
Since I had a window of time between deadlines as my upcoming biography, Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood, nears publication, I compiled and added film synopses for the six films Barbara wrote during her story writing days with the Fox Film Corporation and the twenty-six films encompassing her meteoric career as one of the silent screen’s leading actresses. They may be viewed on the Filmography page.
In the future, I’ll be writing more blog posts spotlighting specific films comprising Barbara’s screenwriting and acting careers. Meanwhile, feel free to browse my previous blog posts (see the “Categories” section located on the right—you’ll need to scroll down a bit—and select “Barbara’s Film Acting Career” and “Barbara’s Screenwriting Career” from the drop down menu). I also have many film stills and other photos pertaining to Barbara’s films in the “Galleries” (see the tab at the top). Of course, Barbara’s films are additionally discussed at length in my book, scheduled for release in early December 2017 by the University Press of Kentucky and now available for pre-order on Amazon.
I have now finalized the title of my Barbara La Marr biography with my publisher, the University Press of Kentucky. Look for Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood to be released sometime in the Fall/Winter of 2017. UPK’s design team is currently working on the cover design and I should have a photo to share early in the new year. Meanwhile, I have been working away on a preliminary index in order to get a leg up for when things move into the proof stages. This has been a thrilling (albeit all-consuming) process these past many years, and I dare say that the end is in sight!
The acquisitions editor at University Press of Kentucky informed me this afternoon that their board members “wholeheartedly approved” my completed manuscript, The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful: The Extraordinary Life Story of Silent Screen Vamp, Barbara La Marr, at their quarterly meeting today and are thrilled to publish it. The book will be published in their Fall 2017 Screen Classics series, perhaps as soon as August.
Since submitting my completed manuscript to University Press of Kentucky as soon as I finished it around January, it has been evaluated by their panel of readers; I sincerely thank the readers for their time and wonderful feedback. I thank UPK for taking me on; I am honored to be working with them. Many thanks to Christina Rice, author of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel (also published by UPK), for suggesting that I submit my manuscript to them in the first place. Thank you to all who have offered much-appreciated encouragement and expressed interest in this biography and Barbara. Finally, I thank Barbara’s son and only child, the late and greatly missed Donald Gallery, for asking me to write this biography. It was Donald’s dream that his mother’s full life story be published; it has been a dream come true for me to fulfill that dream.
I have truly been putting a tremendous amount of work and research, my heart, and my soul into this project these past so many years and am extremely excited to get Barbara’s incredible story out there!
I will post periodic updates here on the blog and in the “Barbara La Marr Book Updates” section of this site. For now, for a teaser and some commentary on the book, here’s a link to my earlier blog post: http://barbaralamarr.net/?p=929 .
On the anniversary of Barbara’s birthday (July 28, 1896), I am very happy to report that, after submitting my completed biography, The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful: The Extraordinary Life Story of Silent Screen Vamp, Barbara La Marr, to an esteemed publisher several months back, they distributed it to an anonymous panel of expert readers (authors, film historians, etc.) and it has received wonderful feedback thus far.
Here’s what a couple of non-anonymous readers have to say:
“Sherri Snyder digs deep into the life of Barbara La Marr, giving an in-depth look at the intelligence and talents of the “Girl Who Was Too Beautiful.” We see the real three-dimensional La Marr for the very first time, a thoughtful, generous, and creative woman who died much too young.” —-Mary Mallory, film historian and author (Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays: 1920-1970, Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found, and Hollywood at Play: The Lives of the Stars Between Takes)
“Snyder’s completed manuscript is impressive in both its scope and detail…a fluid and captivating narrative.” —Christina Rice, author (Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel)
Meticulously compiled from myriad sources—including never-before-released information from Donald Gallery (Barbara’s son) and descendants of people close to Barbara, Barbara’s private diary, memoirs of those who knew and romanced her, and an extensive collection of Barbara’s poetry—The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful: The Extraordinary Life Story of Silent Screen Vamp, Barbara La Marr presents an intimate look at Barbara’s life story, told in its entirety for the first time. I thank everyone from around the globe who has expressed avid interest in the book and offered kind encouragement throughout the years! It was Donald Gallery’s lifelong dream that his mother’s complete, long overdue biography be written; I sincerely thank him for entrusting me with that dream. I am honored and excited to present this book to the world and will post publication details as soon as I have them. Meanwhile, I offer an overview of the book below.
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In 1914 at age seventeen, strong-willed, already infamous Reatha Watson was declared by juvenile authorities to be “too beautiful for the city” and banished from Los Angeles. She soon returned, only to become further mired in scandal and subsequently barred by the film studios from working as an actress.
Unwilling to stifle her burning ambition and manifold talents, she pressed forward, reborn as Barbara La Marr. An innately gifted dancer, she achieved renown in the foremost cabarets throughout the country and on Broadway at the height of the pre-WWI dance craze. Then she toured the vaudeville circuits, acting in headlining comedy skits to general acclaim. Still under the guise of her assumed name, she next became a storywriter for the Fox Film Corporation in the same town that cast her out, earning the modern equivalent of a six-figure salary. Her exotic beauty, curvaceous form, and potent presence, epitomizing an ascending breed of 1920s screen idol—a shameless, volatile woman who ensnared men with her femininity—, enticed film producers. She temporarily averted association with her increasingly turbulent past long enough to reign as a preeminent sex goddess of the silent screen.
Through it all, her tumultuous private life striped the pages of newspapers and film magazines. After her death at age twenty-nine caused a furor in downtown Los Angeles in 1926, her publicist confessed, “There was no reason to lie about Barbara La Marr…Everything she said, everything she did was colored with news-value. A personality dangerous, vivid, attractive; a desire to live life at its maddest and fullest; a mixture of sentiment and hardness, a creature of weakness and strength—that was Barbara La Marr.”
Her extraordinary life story is one of tempestuous passions and unbending perseverance in the face of inconceivable odds. It is of a woman’s fierce determination to forge her own destiny amid the constant threat of losing it all to scandal and, ultimately, death.
January 30, 2016
Although more extensive blog posts are on a temporary hold as I ready my Barbara La Marr biography, The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful: The Extraordinary Life Story of Silent Screen Vamp, Barbara La Marr, for publication (click here for details: http://barbaralamarr.net/?page_id=28 ), enjoy these freshly added photographs of Barbara in honor of the anniversary of her passing at the age of twenty-nine.
Barbara La Marr gained widespread notoriety at the age of seventeen, emerged as a cabaret sensation during the pre-WWI dance rage, and achieved superstardom as one of the silent screen’s leading actresses by defying the rigid conventions of her day. Sinuous and sultry, she charted her own course through life, did things on her own terms. Her love life was no exception.
She candidly confessed that she loved to live because she lived to love. “No woman,” she insisted, “who has not known love can have a soul.” She shamelessly declared that she liked her men by the dozen—like roses, she said—, and wed nearly half as many in her passion-filled, heartbreak-laden life of twenty-nine years.
“I’ve always been in love,” she explained to her fans on the pages of Photoplay magazine, “in love with the great ideal of love itself—something too many men and women experience; something that makes us go on seeking through personalities and the years. The world calls us fickle, but that isn’t true. We are merely the idealists of love, who search and very rarely find that for which we look.”
In honor of the anniversary of Barbara’s birthday and, “well, just because,” I present the following selection of one of her love poems:
by Barbara La Marr
When I met PEDRO, I was thankful that my
hair was like pale sunshine through a golden
mist at dawn, BECAUSE—His was black and soft
as a moonless summer night!
When I met DAVID, I was thankful that my eyes
were dark and deep, and veiled, BECAUSE—His
were clear and grey, and searching!
When I met BILLY, for the first time in my life,
I was thankful that my nose was retroussé, BECAUSE—
Well, Billy had a sense of humor!
When I met NAIFE, I was thankful that my
mouth was tender, with a wistful childish expression,
BECAUSE—His was red—too red—and just a bit cruel!
BUT—when I met YOU: I was thankful, oh, so
thankful, that my skin was soft, and white, BECAUSE—
WELL, JUST BECAUSE!
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Happy Birthday, Barbara!
Barbara La Marr
July 28, 1896 – January 30, 1926
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*** Read more of Barbara’s poetry in a previous blog entry here: http://barbaralamarr.net/?m=201307
*** View the latest update on my Barbara La Marr biography, The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful: The Extraordinary Life Story of Silent Screen Vamp, Barbara La Marr, here: http://barbaralamarr.net/?page_id=28
“No woman who has not known love”: Ferguson, Helen, “Unquenchable Ardor, Pitying, Wise—,” Motion Picture Classic, May 1924, pg. 76.
“I’ve always been in love”: La Marr, Barbara, “My Screen Lovers,” Photoplay, November 1923, pg. 63.