Not long before her passing at age twenty-nine on January 30, 1926, Barbara La Marr, one of Hollywood’s most infamous, misunderstood screen sirens, asked writer Jim Tully, a friend of hers, “Some day, Jim, will you write about me—and tell them that I wasn’t everything I played on the screen?” To those who loved Barbara, she was far more than the debauched women she played, her demons, and the shocking headlines she spawned. Ramon Novarro, famed Latin lover of the silent screen and Barbara’s friend and costar in three of her films, found in her a sincerity, humility, and “kindness that made her lovable.” Actress Alice Terry, Barbara’s Prisoner of Zenda (1922) costar, affirmed, “[Barbara] was as lovely in her personality as she was in her ravishing looks…She was very big-hearted and generous and loved to please people.” Writer Willis Goldbeck was said to believe Barbara’s virtues to be “of the mind and spirit,” and that her weaknesses were “all of the flesh.”
This interesting piece was sent to me by cartoonist Bruce Yurgil after he discovered it in The Funnies #11, a 1937 comic book that features newspaper strips. (The piece originally ran in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on December 21, 1935.)
While the number of times Barbara read the Bible is not readily known, she was deeply religious. She received some of her childhood education in convents. As an adult, her religious inclinations ran the gamut from Catholicism to Christian Science, and it was said that her fervent interest in spirituality led her to explore the Koran, Confucianism, Buddhism, and the philosophical writings of Rabindranath Tagore in addition to the Bible. Highly intelligent, Barbara proclaimed that she “read omnivorously” and preferred books to any other type of company. Since she furthermore considered becoming a nun at different times in her life, she likely knew the Bible well enough to speak with some authority on it.