Barbara La Marr was one of film producer Louis B. Mayer’s favorite actresses. They made four films together (Harriet and the Piper, Strangers of the Night, The Eternal Struggle, and Thy Name Is Woman) in the 1920s. In the late 1930s, over a decade after Barbara’s untimely passing, Mayer discovered a gorgeous, talented, intelligent young actress named Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler. He christened her Hedy Lamarr in honor of Barbara.
A big thank you to photographer and author Greg Autry for reviewing my Barbara La Marr biography in Splash magazine.
“Some may say [Barbara La Marr] was destined for a life of ruin, but in Sherri Snyder’s skillfully written biography about the ‘too beautiful’ silent screen vamp of the 1920s, La Marr’s story becomes a compelling look into a young, beautiful woman’s brief journey to fulfill her destiny.”—Greg Autry, Splash
The entire review may be read here.
Silent screen actress Barbara La Marr was a legend in her time, leading an astounding life described by newspapers of the day as “a wilder story than she ever helped to film.” Join me, Sherri Snyder, author of Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood, on Thursday, May 19 at the El Segundo Public Library in El Segundo, California, as I portray Barbara in a self-authored performance piece, then present a slideshow lecture about her, detailing her oftentimes scandalous life from her humble beginnings to her tragic death at age twenty-nine in 1926. Barbara’s banishment from Los Angeles at age seventeen for being “too beautiful”; her notable careers as a dancer, a vaudevillian, a screenwriter, and an actress; her impact upon cinematic history; and her fierce determination to forge her own destiny amid the constant threat of losing it all to scandal and, ultimately, death will be spotlighted.
A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow the performance and lecture (a limited number of books will be available for sale, cash only).
The event, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and roughly an hour and ten minutes long, is being held in the library’s Reading Lounge and is FREE to attend.
To commemorate International Women’s Day (March 8), here’s a photo of one of my favorite women, the legendary Barbara La Marr, the subject of my biography, Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood.
Before skyrocketing to fame as a world-renowned silent screen actress, Barbara was a successful child actress in stock theater, a celebrated dancer, a headlining vaudevillian, and an accomplished screenwriter with the Fox Film Corporation.
“I could never be idle,” she was quoted as saying at the height of her fame in 1925. “I could never be merely a rich man’s wife. I could never make my life out of the fabric of society.”
Since I absolutely love celebrating Barbara and her story, I’m honored to be giving my self-authored, one-woman Barbara La Marr performance and presenting a slideshow lecture about her life (for a private group in Hollywood Hills) in observance of the day. Although I’ve been presenting my Barbara La Marr program for private groups throughout Southern California these past few months, I have an upcoming performance in the Los Angeles area in May that will be open to the public. More details will follow soon!
I recently had the pleasure of discussing the unbelievable life and estimable career of silent screen luminary Barbara La Marr; my biography, Barbara La Marr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood; and my one-woman show about Barbara on Yesterday USA Radio with Walden Hughes. Listen to a replay of the live broadcast here (the interview begins after about a minute and fifty seconds of music and is approximately fifty-four minutes long).
Silent screen actress Barbara La Marr was a legend in her time, leading an astounding, oftentimes scandalous life described by newspapers of the day as “a wilder story than she ever helped to film.” Join me, Sherri Snyder, at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Sunday, October 10 as I once again portray Barbara in a one-woman performance piece that I wrote about her. Barbara’s banishment from Los Angeles at age seventeen for being “too beautiful”; her notable careers as an actress, a dancer, a vaudevillian, and a screenwriter; her death at age twenty-nine in 1926; and more will be spotlighted.
My performance is part of the Los Angeles Art Deco Society’s 38th in-person (socially distant) Hollywood Forever Cemetery walking tour. Also featured on the tour are the stories—told by performers and historians—of silent screen god Rudolph Valentino, action hero Douglas Fairbanks Sr., actress and William Randolph Hearst mistress Marion Davies, filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, slain director William Desmond Taylor, and over twenty other early Hollywood stars, movie moguls, and pioneers interred at Hollywood Forever.
Click here for tickets and additional details. This event typically sells out.
“I’ve always had a fascination with Old Hollywood,” admits veteran singer, musician, and songwriter Ronnie Joyner, “and…I have a soft spot for those vulnerable and troubled young starlets who simply couldn’t handle their fame.” Deeply affected by two classic songs, “Candle in the Wind,” Elton John’s Marilyn Monroe homage, and “Celluloid Heroes,” The Kinks’ depiction of fame’s lure, luster, and perils, the Maryland-based recording artist—whose musical prowess encompasses rockabilly, country, blues, folk, and bluegrass—sought to produce his own rendition of such themes.
But Joyner’s song was a long time coming. “I never hit on the right Golden Age actress to use as the inspiration,” he said.
Then he stumbled upon Barbara La Marr. Her story—involving being ordered home to her parents by juvenile authorities at age seventeen for being “too beautiful” to be alone in Los Angeles; skyrocketing to superstardom as a leading silent screen actress; and dying tragically from tuberculosis and nephritis at age twenty-nine in 1926 following a frenzied period of overwork, strenuous dieting, and hard living—called to him. “I knew she was the one!” he enthused. “The girl I’ve been looking for…the girl who embodies those themes I’ve been wanting to write about.”
Using her star at 1621 Vine Street on Hollywood’s iconic Walk of Fame as the centerpiece, Joyner composed his hauntingly lovely song “Girl Too Beautiful” in honor of Barbara, a woman whom, despite her demons and frailties, he describes as “beautiful, talented, and charismatic.”
Listen to “Girl Too Beautiful” here. While you’re at it, check out some of Ronnie Joyner’s other wonderful songs.