The Beautiful & The Damned

The Beautiful & The Damned

Marie Prevost was wide-eyed with, bee-stung lips. He dark mane, beautifully-bobbed, and sophisticated fashion is the epitome of the “flapper”, young darlings of the jazz age. Marie hit the scene, hard. She had appeared in some short movies but caught the eye of Keystone Studio’s, Mack Sennett. Prevost said he summoned her to his office, she saw papers on his desk, and with a smile told her to sign her name on the dotted line. Marie didn’t read the contract, but knew she was going to be paid to make movies. Marie Prevost was a looker and a good comedienne. Sennet stunted her by casting her as ingenue, after ingenue. So, she followed what Swanson, Normand, & Lombarde did, start with Sennett then go get rich, somewhere else. Universal picked up her contract in, 1921. They kept her in light comedies and Dlirty, flapper roles. Prevost longed for more and Jack Warner promised the goods. Marie began getting the juicy roles. In 1923, starting with the lead in : “The Beautiful and the Damned”. Kenneth Harlan was her leading man, in the film and the two were married the next year. Marie’s star was rising fast, she showed the studios she wasn’t just a pretty face, but had the talent to make it in the business. She was personally selected by director legends, to,be in their films. In 1926, Marie’s star was about to dim. Her mother died in a car accident in, 1926. She became an alcoholic. Drowning her sorrows with a bottle. Her marriage began to crack. Due to the alcohol and excess, she lost her flapper-figure. In 1929, Cecil B. DeMille gave his old friend a try with a new talkie, but bc the audience could barely recognize her, the film flopped. In 1936, Hollywood gossiped of Marie’s “comeback”. She had reduced her size and was to appear in a film. Some comeback…she had 3 lines and was dodging light fixtures, on set. Her “reduction” was to keep drinking, & cut out food. A glorified star, just a decade earlier was now an, “old-timer”, in Hollywood. In 1937, Marie was found dead of starvation, in her apartment. The story leaked that her dachshund doggie had “eaten her corpse”. I know…gruesome. Yet, what actually happened, was her furry friend was trying to wake her up. He began biting at her hands and feet..hardly, “eaten up”. Marie Provost was a silent siren, who lit up the silver screen with her talent and beauty, but most silent historians leave her out. Poor Marie. She was destitute at the end and buried in a pauper’s grave. The money left for her funeral, was taken by her sister. All that’s left is her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Very few of her movies survived. Only the good die young (age 38). Rest peacefully in Hollywood Heaven, Ms. Prevost!

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