Category Archives: Barbara’s Quotes

On This Day in 1923…

On this day, May 5, in 1923, tall, handsome, red-headed actor and stuntman Jack Daugherty arrived at the Whitley Heights home of screen siren Barbara La Marr for a dinner date and received one of the shocks of his life.  “You’re going to be married tonight,” Barbara informed him when she greeted him at the door.  Her declaration rendered him virtually speechless; “Huh!” he exclaimed.  Jack later confessed to being so “insane about Barbara” after meeting her through their respective film work in 1921 that “I couldn’t even think of the [films] I was doing—and was desperately trying to marshal up enough courage to propose.”

True to Barbara’s word, she and Jack were wed the evening of May 5 in Ventura, California, at the officiating reverend’s home.  A Los Angeles Times reporter, somehow learning of their sudden, secret elopement, was in attendance alongside Barbara’s mother and brother, and writer, director, and producer Paul Bern (Barbara’s friend and Jack’s best man).  “At noon today,” Barbara proclaimed to the reporter, “I had no more idea of marrying [Jack] than—well—than of marrying you. Then—well—I just decided.”

Barbara would soon speak to other reporters of the considerable heartbreak, scandal, and scathing publicity she had endured while searching for her ideal man—including serial relationships and marriages, a bigamous marriage, and the bitter dissolution of her affair with homosexual actor William Haines three days before her marriage to Jack.  Reminded by one newsman of her oft-repeated avowal that she would never marry again, Barbara declared, “Any woman who says she won’t marry again is just a plain fool—of course she will, when something like Jack’s adorable hair strikes her.”

Barbara La Marr: Beyond the Legend

Legendary silent screen goddess Barbara La Marr was known as much for her laudable career as for her infamy.  Her tempestuous life, the scandalous headlines she generated, and her sultry screen image are only part of the story, however.  Learn more in my guest article, “Barbara La Marr: Beyond the Legend,” on Midnight Palace, a website devoted to classic film culture.  (NOTE: Due to technical difficulties on the Midnight Palace site, I have temporarily removed the link; until the link is up and running again, feel free to read the article I wrote for Classic Movie Hub, “Barbara La Marr: Life on Her Own Terms.”)

(Read Barbara’s complete story in my newly released biography, Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood, available on the University Press of Kentucky website, on Amazon, and from other booksellers.)

Barbara La Marr: Life on Her Own Terms

Classic Movie Hub invited me to contribute a guest blog for their website.  In my post, “Barbara La Marr: Life on Her Own Terms,” I discuss Barbara’s commendable talents and her unbending determination to succeed in life, despite myriad obstacles and frequent association with scandal.  Read it here.

(There are still opportunities to WIN a copy of my newly released biography, Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood, courtesy of the University Press of Kentucky and Classic Movie Hub!  Get the details here.)

Newly Added Photographs and a Few Words from Barbara…

As I continue working away on Barbara’s biography (and have therefore temporarily placed blog entries on hold until I have finished), I wanted to honor her birthday in some way.  Please enjoy these newly added photographs, along with some quotes from Miss La Marr herself.

 

Once, when queried about her five marriages and myriad love affairs, Barbara responded, “One loves to live only because one lives to love." Once, when queried about her five marriages and myriad love affairs, Barbara responded, “One loves to live only because one lives to love.”

Barbara's desire to fully embrace life and her tendency to live primarily in the moment often precluded her incisive intellect and sense of reason. “I cannot afford the luxury of regret or remorse," she declared. (Photograph by Russell Ball.) Barbara’s desire to fully embrace life, and her tendency to live primarily in the moment, often undermined her sense of reason.  “I cannot afford the luxury of regret or remorse,” she declared.  (Photograph by Russell Ball.)

One of Barbara's cherished ambitions was, as she put it, “to be a great tragedienne and wield a dagger.” (Photograph by Milton Brown, circa 1921-22.) One of Barbara’s cherished ambitions was, as she put it, “to be a great tragedienne and wield a dagger.”  (Photograph by Milton Brown, circa 1921-22.)

Barbara first became known to filmgoers through her portrayals of adventuresses and vamps---mysterious, wicked women highly adept at manipulating men. Initially, she did not mind such typecasting. “Part of the joy in being a woman,” she teased, “is to exercise fascinations on the male.” (Photograph by Milton Brown. Barbara is wearing one of her costumes from The Prisoner of Zenda [1922]). Barbara first became known to filmgoers through her portrayals of adventuresses and vamps—mysterious, wicked women highly adept at manipulating men.  Initially, she didn’t mind such typecasting.  “Part of the joy in being a woman,” she teased, “is to exercise fascinations on the male.”  (Photograph by Milton Brown.  Barbara is wearing one of her costumes from The Prisoner of Zenda [1922]).

Contrary to Barbara's vamp image were her tender heart, considerate nature, and strong work ethic. She was well-liked by directors, film crews, and fellow actors alike. Ramon Novarro, her co-star in three films, credited her with being his favorite person to work with. Barbara insisted, "Artistic temperament is bunk." (Photograph taken on the set of Thy Name is Woman [1924]. Pictured with Barbara are [left to right] director Fred Niblo and co-stars Wallace MacDonald, Ramon Novarro, and William V. Mong.)Contrary to Barbara’s vamp image were her tender heart, considerate nature, and strong work ethic.  She was well-liked by directors, film crews, and fellow actors alike.  Ramon Novarro, her co-star in three films, credited her with being his favorite person to work with.  Barbara insisted, “Artistic temperament is bunk.”  (Photograph taken on the set of Thy Name Is Woman [1924].  Pictured with Barbara are [left to right] director Fred Niblo and co-stars Wallace MacDonald, Ramon Novarro, and William V. Mong.)

Barbara eventually sought to shed her image as one of the screen's leading temptresses. Yet, despite having won critical and public acclaim for the sympathetic, "human" characters she played in several films, she was continually steered into what she had come to regard as non-dimensional vamp roles. Such roles had cinched her stardom, but ultimately destroyed her career as the public tired of vamps. Plagued by weakening health, Barbara determined to prove herself and resurrect her career. "I'm down, but not licked," she contended just before her final film went into production. "The pageant they put me into almost snuffed me out, but I'm fighting for a chance to forget those idiotic pearl headdresses and feather fans...I hold the opinion that [acting] is something an actress should do." (Film poster for The Girl from Montmartre, released the day after Barbara's death in 1926.) Barbara eventually sought to shed her image as one of the screen’s leading temptresses.  Yet, despite having won acclaim for the sympathetic, “human” characters she played in several films, she was continually steered into what she came to regard as non-dimensional vamp roles.  Such roles had cinched her stardom, but ultimately destroyed her career as the public tired of vamps.  Plagued by weakening health, Barbara determined to prove herself and resurrect her career.  “I’m down, but not licked,” she contended just before her final film went into production.  “The pageant they put me into almost snuffed me out, but I’m fighting for a chance to forget those idiotic pearl headdresses and feather fans…I hold the opinion that [acting] is something an actress should do.”  (Film poster for The Girl from Montmartre, released the day after Barbara’s death in 1926.)

As she neared the end of her life, Barbara grew disillusioned with love, but never stopped craving it. "...I've always been in love, in love with the great ideal of love itself," she stated, "---something that 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." (Photograph by Lyman Pollard, circa early 1923.) As she neared the end of her brief life of twenty-nine years, Barbara grew disillusioned with love, but never stopped craving it.  “I’ve always been in love, in love with the great ideal of love itself,” she stated, “—something that 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.” (Photograph by Lyman Pollard, circa early 1923.)

Throughout the trials and heartbreak that often characterized her life, Barbara's underlying spirit shone through at various times. "I would not change my life," she averred, adding that her experiences had made her who she is. Throughout the trials and heartbreak that often characterized her life, Barbara’s underlying spirit often shone through.  “I would not change my life,” she averred, adding that her experiences had made her who she is.  (Photograph by Witzel.)

 

Happy Birthday, Barbara!

Barbara La Marr
July 28, 1896 – January 30, 1926