Jewel Carmen was involved with Roland West and "Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café". And early in her career she had made Keystone comedies with Mabel Normand and Fatty Arbuckle.
|Born||Florence Lavina Quick|
(1897-07-13)July 13, 1897
Danville, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||March 4, 1984(1984-03-04) (aged 86)|
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Other names||Evelyn Quick|
Florence La Vinci
|Spouse(s)||Roland West (m. 1918–35)|
Early life and careerBorn Florence Lavina Quick in Danville, Kentucky, Carmen made her film debut in the 1912 film The Will of Destiny. She went on to appear in Daphne and the Pirate (1916), opposite Lillian Gish and D. W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916).
Lawsuits against FoxIn 1917, Carmen contracted with Fox Film Corporation, but finding the deal unsatisfactory opened a new contract with the Keeney Corporation in 1918 while her first contract remained in effect. Fox sent Keeney notice of their prior contract, warning that they would hold Keeney responsible for assisting her in breaking it, promising to indemnify Keeney against legal retaliation. Carmen launched two lawsuits against Fox, one to attempt to free herself of the obligation of living up to her contract and another to seek redress for their interference with her contract with Keeney.
Key to the issues was the question of where the contracts had been made: New York or California. Fox's offices were located in New York; Carmen was a resident of California. By California law, Carmen was an adult at the time of signing the contract; by New York law, which granted majority at 21, she was not. If not an adult, she could not be legally held to the document she had signed. Though Carmen initially won the first lawsuit, having the contracts set aside and receiving damages of $43,500 from Fox, the decision was overturned on appeal because she had "unclean" hands, having herself treated Fox unfairly. However, she won her second case because Fox's interference with her employment with Keeney had been outside the law, though Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo made clear that he did not approve of the legal loophole that allowed Carmen to break her contract with Fox.
Later years and deathCarmen later became known for her connection to the scandal surrounding the death of actress Thelma Todd. She was the wife of Roland West, who had an extramarital affair with Todd and who came under suspicion following Todd's death of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Todd died in a garage attached to the home where Carmen's parents lived, which Carmen had formerly shared with West. The death was suspicious for a number of factors, including that Todd was allegedly spotted or spoken to several times the day after her purported time of death; Carmen herself testified before the grand jury that she had seen Todd somewhere with another man. After the scandal broke, Carmen's marriage to West ended, and she retired from the public eye.
Carmen died of lymphoma on March 4, 1984 at the age of 86.
|1912||The Will of Destiny||Frances||Credited as Florence La Vinci|
|1913||The Professor's Daughter||Credited as Evelyn Quick|
|A Life in the Balance||Credited as Evelyn Quick|
Alternative titles: Crashing Through
Potted Plays No. 7
|Professional Jealousy||Credited as Evelyn Quick|
|He and Himself||Credited as Evelyn Quick|
|Four Queens and a Jack||The Girl||Credited as Evelyn Quick|
|Their Husbands||Credited as Evelyn Quick|
|1916||Daphne and the Pirate||Credited as Jewell Carman|
|The Children in the House||Jane Courtenay|
|Flirting with Fate||Gladys, the Girl||Alternative title: The Assassin|
|The Half-Breed||Nellie||Alternative title: The Carquinez Woods|
|Intolerance||Favorite of the Harem||Uncredited|
|American Aristocracy||Geraldine Hicks|
|1917||The Kingdom of Love||Violet Carson|
|A Tale of Two Cities||Lucie Manette|
|American Methods||Claire de Beaulieu|
|To Honor and Obey||Rose Delvane|
|The Conqueror||Eliza Allen|
|When a Man Sees Red||Captain Sutton|
|Les Misérables||Cosette at age 18|
|1918||The Girl with the Champagne Eyes||Nellie Proctor|
|The Bride of Fear||Ann Carter|
|Fallen Angel||Jill Cummings||Alternative title: Paying the Piper|
|Lawless Love||LaBelle Geraldine||Alternative title: Above the Law|
|1921||The Silver Lining||The Angel|
|Nobody||Little Mrs. Smith|
|1923||You Can't Get Away with It|
|1926||The Bat||Miss Dale Ogden|
- American Law Reports Annotated, 1211.
- Kaufman, 228.
- Kaufman, 229.
- American Law Reports Annotated, 1212.
- American Law Reports Annotated, 1210, 1213.
- Carmen v. Fox Film Corp. 269 F. 928 (2nd Cir., 1920); cert denied, 255 U.S. 569, 41 S.Ct. 323 (1921)
- Field, Richard H.; Benjamin Kaplan; Kevin M. Clermont (2007-04-10). Civil Procedure- Materials for a Basic Course. New York, New York: Foundation Press. pp. 1077–79. ISBN 978-1-59941-145-3. Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)
- Cf. American Law Reports Annotated.
- Wright, David (2002). Joyita: Solving the Mystery. Auckland University Press. p. 3. ISBN 1-86940-270-7.
- Donati, William (2000). Ida Lupino: A Biography. University Press of Kentucky. p. 39. ISBN 0-8131-0982-5. .
- Nash, Jay Robert (2004). Great Pictorial History of World Crime. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 250. ISBN 1-928831-22-2.
- Burdett A. Rich and M. Blair Wailes, ed. (1921). American Law Reports Annotated 15. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- Kaufman, Andrew L. (1998). Cardozo. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-09645-2.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jewel Carmen.|
* * *
Like Mae Busch, Jewel Carmen made Keystone comedies in the silent era and then went on to stardom in dramatic films, but Jewel Carmen became wealthy enough to retire, while Mae Busch returned to comedies once more when her days as a star ended.
I had the good fortune to be able to communicate with Rudy Schafer, the son of the manager of the Sidewalk Café. His father had been married to Jewel Carmen's sister Alberta. Rudy told me a little about the Carmens. He said that they were actually from Oregon, and that their mother was an Indian. " 'Aunt' Jewel was a rather exotic looking lady with a rather distant, sophisticated personality," he said. In the movies, Jewel Carmen was a blonde leading lady who I suppose might be compared to other blondes of the period.
Rudy Schafer recalled that his aunt liked to read. "I have one of her books- ELMER GANTRY, by Sinclair Lewis. There were lots of books around the West home, but I didn't take much note of them. Remember I was just a kid then. It seemed to me that Jewel quite often had a book in hand--something which looked "arty". I don't recall seeing any murder mysteries or similar material." As for Jewel's relationship with Thelma, Rudy never saw them together, so he was unaware as to how they got along.
In 1939, Jewel Carmen took Roland West to court over money. She said that in 1935 she had advanced him $28,000.00 to be advanced in stocks, bonds, and the restaurant business*. Roland West responded that from June of 1933 to June of 1934, she had given him $34,000.00 and that she already had $70,000.00 invested in a shared annuity from which they both profited. West eventually settled out of court.
Jewel Carmen spent her final years out of the limelight, perhaps in part because her time in the limelight had not always been happy.
*Jewel Carmen put up the money for Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café, according to testimony made during the investigation of the death of Thelma Todd.
RAGTIME BAND was one of the Keystone comedies Jewel Carmen was in.
Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café: