Category Archives: New Photos

“The Lady That’s Known as Lou”

Barbara is pictured below as she appeared in The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1924), a film said to have been at least partially adapted by her from Robert William Service’s poem of the same name.  Barbara portrayed “the lady that’s known as Lou,” a dancer who falls prey to a cunning gambler (Lew Cody) while trying to make a better life for herself, her husband (Percy Marmont), and her son (Philippe De Lacy).  Oozing with sex appeal, Barbara’s heated, heartfelt performance was deemed a success by several critics upon the film’s release—though Film Daily warned that her “near-nakedness” would likely prompt scrupulous censors in certain areas to ban the film.

(This photo is among the many in my collection that weren’t included with the seventy-six allowed in my biography, Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood [2017].  There will be more photos to come.)

The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1924)

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 Featured on a Postage Stamp!

A newly released set of six postage stamps, created for the Isle of Man Post Office in honor of celebrated British novelist Hall Caine, features Barbara La Marr, Pola Negri, Anny Ondra, Richard Dix, Conrad Nagel, and Norman Kerry—silent film stars who appeared in adaptations of Caine’s esteemed works!

Barbara La Marr’s stamp commemorates her starring role in The Eternal City (1923), a film based upon Caine’s bestselling 1901 novel of the same name.  As the author of Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood, I was honored to have been asked to provide photos for Barbara’s stamp, one of which (a portrait, not an image from the film) was chosen.

View and learn more about this exquisite collection of stamps here and here.

 

 

Barbara All Dolled Up: Celebrating the Work of Gregg Nystrom

Known as “the girl who is too beautiful” since 1914—-when law enforcement declared her, then seventeen, “too beautiful” to be on the loose in Los Angeles and subsequently banished her from the city—, silent screen legend Barbara La Marr has been the muse of many an artist.  Indeed, in her time, her exquisite beauty and smoldering allure captured the imagination of painters, photographers, poets, and filmmakers—and continues to inspire today.

Modern-day artist Gregg Nystrom discovered Barbara in his teens, while indulging his passion for the renowned beauty icons of 1920s-1950s Hollywood, fashion, film, and drawing.  Her “stunning,” exotic looks, specifically, her dark hair and green eyes,* “really spoke to me as an artist,” recalled Nystrom.  Later, as a published paper doll artist who honors the timeless glamour of twentieth century film stars and models through his work, Nystrom recreated Barbara’s beauty and essence in paper doll form many times (his favorite renderings are pictured below; in the center photo, Barbara is depicted in her costume from The Prisoner of Zenda [1922]).  “Barbara has long been my favorite silent star!” Nystrom admits.

Considered works of art, Nystrom’s paper dolls feature hand-painted, textured garments immortalized by the wearer: designer gowns and movie costumes, often adorned with glitter, sequins, and, on occasion, feathers.  Nystrom anticipates that his latest Barbara La Marr doll (pictured above on the right) will one day be available to Barbara’s fans and “will have her gorgeous film wardrobe.”

Whether in her surviving films, in photos, or as one of Nystrom’s paper dolls, Barbara certainly lives up to her epithet.  “To me,” Nystrom says, “Barbara La Marr truly is ‘the girl who is too beautiful.'”

 

*Amazingly, Barbara’s eyes were said to change color, at times appearing green, blue-gray, deep blue, and hazel.

*        *        *

View more of Gregg Nystrom’s dazzling work on his Facebook page and Amazon

Honoring Barbara’s Birthday With New Photographs

To celebrate the genius and beauty that was Barbara La Marr on the anniversary of her birth, July 28, 1896, I am pleased to share the following selection of film stills and portraits.  As those who follow this blog know, I have spent the past decade researching and writing Barbara’s biography, per the request of her son, Donald Gallery (the book, titled Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood, will be released in December 2017 and is currently available for pre-order here and here).  Over the years, Barbara La Marr fans the world over frequently contacted me, asking that I include many photographs in the book.  Although my publisher, the University Press of Kentucky, allowed me to include seventy-six photographs, choosing the photographs was a challenge; I had amassed quite a collection over the years!  Rather than allow the photographs that weren’t used in the book to go to waste, I offer some of them below (more will follow in future blog posts).  Enjoy!

Barbara as she appeared in an advertisement for Richelieu pearls, 1924

1924

Barbara in Sandra (1924)

Barbara with Doris Pawn in The Hero (1923)

Barbara and George F. Marion in The White Monkey (1925)

Barbara and Charles De Roche in The White Moth (1924)

Barbara and Arthur Sawyer, her manager (on left), cameraman Rudolph Bergquist (center), and director Phil Rosen (on right) on the set of The Heart of a Siren (1925).

Barbara and Eleanor Boardman in Souls for Sale (1923)

Barbara (third from left among those seated in the front row) with company members from Souls for Sale (1923); director Rupert Hughes is on her left, Frank Mayo is second from her right, Richard Dix is seated on the far right, Eleanor Boardman is on his right. William Haines, with whom Barbara would soon become romantically involved, is standing [in white shirt] behind Hughes.

Barbara, Percy Marmont (center), and Lew Cody (on right) in The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1924)

The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1924)

Promoting The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1924)

Barbara (first on right in middle row) pictured with a portion of the Quincy Adams Sawyer (1922) cast and crew; she is seated next to director Clarence Badger.

Barbara and Earle Williams in The Eternal Struggle (1923)

Strangers of the Night (1923)

1923

Barbara pictured with Stuart Holmes (standing) and Ramon Novarro (seated, center) in The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)

Barbara poses on a gilded bed owned by singer, dancer, and actress Gaby Deslys. Patterned after the boat from the “Grotto of Venus” scene in the opera Tannhäuser, the bed was imported from France by director Rex Ingram for Trifling Women (1922).

Barbara photographed by Hoover Art Studios

Barbara in The White Moth (1924); photographed by Paul Grenbeaux

A film slide featuring (left to right) Barbara, Lionel Barrymore, and Bert Lytell in The Eternal City (1923)

Barbara and Jack Daughterty, her final husband, return to work at Universal Studios two days after their wedding in May 1923

Barbara and William V. Mong in Thy Name Is Woman (1924)

Barbara, E. H. Calvert (on left), and Lewis Stone (center) in The Girl From Montmartre (1926)

Remembering the “Too Beautiful” Girl; Newly Added Photographs of Barbara

January 30, 2016

Although more extensive blog posts are on a temporary hold as I ready my Barbara La Marr biography manuscript, (tentatively titled) The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful: The Extraordinary Life Story of Silent Screen Vamp Barbara La Marr, for publication (click here for details), enjoy these freshly added photographs of Barbara in honor of the anniversary of her passing on January 30, 1926, at the age of twenty-nine.

Strangers of the Night (1923)

Barbara with Pat O’Malley; The Eternal Struggle (1923)

Barbara, Conway Tearle, and Charles De Roche in The White Moth (1924)

The Eternal Struggle (1923)

Barbara in one of her costumes from The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)

Barbara in Screenland Magazine, 1924

Barbara Photo Rare

The Eternal City (1923)

Barbara and William V. Mong in Thy Name Is Woman (1924)

Barbara and Charles De Roche in The White Moth (1924)

Barbara in Quincy Adams Sawyer (1922)

Barbara and Lewis Stone in The Girl From Montmartre (1926)