Friday, August 31, 2012

Does Tragedy Haunt Hollywood?



 Does tragedy haunt Hollywood? The extent to which tragedies occurred in Hollywood might not have been any greater than elsewhere, but they happened nonetheless.  
There were recurring allegations that the authorities did not investigate things thoroughly enough, even that things were deliberately covered up. It was said that the local politicians and the studio bosses worked together to ensure that things would continue smoothly in spite of any problem that might happen to arise.
Some people even thought that there were some sort of connections between these tragedies. They thought the victims had somehow fallen victim to some sort of cycles of bad luck.  Dorothy Dell was quoted as having said the day before her death, "You know, they say deaths go in cycles of three. First it was Lilyan Tashman, then Lew Cody. I wonder who'll be next?"
I don't believe it was bad luck, myself. More likely a combination of different things were seen as bad luck by people who had no way of knowing everything that was involved.
 William Desmond Taylor
Lew Cody and Mabel Normand
Paul Bern and Jean Harlow.
 Dorothy Dell costarred with Shirley Temple, one of the biggest stars of the thirties.
Marjorie White was another traffic fatality in the thirties. Her last movie was the start of the "Three Stooges" series at Columbia.
Busby Berkely, who had a traffic accident on the same street as Marjorie White not long after she did.
Will Rogers was one of the biggest stars of the time.
Karl Dane was one of a number of stars whose career suffered after the coming of sound.
Virginia Bruce and John Gilbert. John Gilbert's career also suffered after sound came in.
In memorium 

Busby Berkely:
John Gilbert and Virginia Bruce:
Jean Harlow:
William Desmond Taylor:
 Will Rogers ( Official Site ):
Rudolph Valention:
Marjorie White and The Three Stooges:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photoplay 1928

More Todd items in PHOTOPLAY from the year 1928.

January 1928

February 1928

February 1928

March 1928

May 1928
June 1928
Fan Magazines:
Thelma Todd At Silent Hollywood: 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Photoplay 1935 - 1936

More from PHOTOPLAY magazine, from the years 1935 and 1936..

 An article about elegible batchelors of the day and the glamour girls that loved them.
 Austin Parker is one of the subjects of this article. In the picture at the top, we see Muriel Evans, who worked with Charlie Chase as well as Laurel and Hardy.

 Thelma Todd is mentioned on this page as having been associated with Austin Parker.

Wallace Ford's wife later would testify that Thelma Todd had called her during another party, which was after the time the authorities had set for Thelma Todd's death. 

A fan of the Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly films writes.

Was Pat DeCicco the love of Thelma Todd's life?  Some stories differ.  As for Pat DiCicco and Margaret Lindsay, they never got married.

Muriel Evans in KING OF THE PECOS with John Wayne

One of Wallace Ford's better-known roles was THE MUMMY'S HAND.
Austin Parker ( IMDB ):
Fan Magazines
Muriel Evans:
Virtual History Of Thelma Todd:
Wallace Ford ( IMDB ):

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ivan Lebedeff

Ivan Lebedeff was one of the men with whom Thelma Todd's name was linked in the late twenties and early thirties.

Ivan Lebedeff

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Ivan Lebedeff
Born(1894-06-18)18 June 1894
Užpaliai, Lithuania
Died31 March 1953(1953-03-31) (aged 57)
Los Angeles, California, USA
Other namesIvan Basil Lebedeff (aka Jean Basil Lebedeff)
Years active1926 – 1953
SpouseWera Engels
Ivan Lebedeff (18 June 1894 – 31 March 1953) was a Russian film actor. He appeared in 66 films between 1926 and 1953.
He was born in Ushpol (later Užpaliai), Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire, on June 18, 1894,[1] and died in Los Angeles, California, from a heart attack.
He migrated to the United States in 1925 and in 1930 was recorded at Los Angeles as an actor.[2]
On August 15, 1937, he was recorded as re-entering the US from Mexico, when it was noted that he had resided in the U. S. between October 2, 1925 and October 14, 1930, and again between April 20, 1932, and August 13 1937. His closest relation was given as his sister Nathalie Lebedeff, of Nice, in the south of France.[3]
On November 12, 1937, he was naturalized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.[4]
He died on March 31, 1953.[5]

 Selected filmography


  1. ^ Date taken from naturalization papers and death index entry
  2. ^ 1930 U.S. Federal Census for Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, ED 53, Sheet 11B, Dwelling 231, Family 317, Charles Danziger household. Ivan B. Lebedeff, guest, male, white, 35y, single, Lithuania, Russia, Albania, speaks Russian, immigration 1925, alien, actor.
  3. ^ Reentry via Mexico. Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S., 1895-1957, "Jean or Ivan Lebedeff, b. Uzpaliai, Lithuania, 43y, male, actor, last permenant residence: Plaza Hotel, Hollywood, CA, returning to last residence, closest relative: sister, Nathalie Lebedeff, 42 Bros 3t de Dr. Richelini, Nice, France. Description of immigrant: 6'0", dk brown hair, brown eyes, fair complexion, sm mole over right eyebrow; all departure and reentry paperwork was in order. Resided in U.S. 2 Oct 1925-14 Oct 1930 and 20 Apr 1932-13 Aug 1937.
  4. ^ Two index cards on Actual paperwork can be found on Declaration #61076, 15 June 1932 (vol 110, pg 476); Petition #56130, 10 August 1937 (vol. 319, p. 48)
  5. ^ Death. CA Death Index, 1940-1997,

 External links


Many people from Russia came to live in the United States because of the Russian revolution.  Members of the aristocracy were in danger of being killed by the bolsheviks, and in the new world many of them would go on being aristocrats, even if without money. In Hollywood different types were wanted for the movies, and not surprisingly some of these immigrants found employment there. Foreigners were seen as exotic, and accessories such as monocles were supposed to add to their mystique. Ivan Lebedeff did well enough in the movies to work with stars like Jean Harlow and Mae West. His career later went into a decline, but he was able to continue working in the movies until the time of his death.

With Thelma Todd at a movie premiere in the 1930's.

 Pat O-Brien, Jean Halow, and Ivan Lebedeff in BOMBSHELL, 1933.

With Mae West and Paul Cavanagh in GOIN' TO TOWN, 1935.

An article from the November 1931 issue of PHOTOPLAY.

People used to wear hats a lot in those days. Some Russian soldiers were still using swords in World War II, although the same war would also see the use of jet planes, guided missles, and the atomic bomb.

Representing the letter "s" as three dots  and the letter "i" as two dots comes from morse code.

Poison gas was used in the first World War and was still considered a fearful weapon at the time this was written, although it was not used in the second World War. "Alexander of Macedonia" is commonly refered to as "Alexander the Great".

An item linking Thelma Todd with Ivan Lebedeff from 1927.

I think they must have meant "graduate", and that the "d" was rendered as an "a".


News Item From April 9, 1932 - Reblogged From "Hollywood Heyday".

Ivan Lebedeff, one of the best monocle wearers in Hollywood, was lunching with Polan Banks. Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. entertained at the Ambassador following the premier of Doug’s picture. Paul Bern, Joan Bennett, Gene Markey, Heather Thatcher, Hollywood’s only woman monocle wearer, Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon and Clark Gable were in the party. Mrs. Gable, who is in from New York, reported as being much entertained.

And here's Ginger Rogers as "Annietime Annie" , with a monocle, in 42ND STREET.

Una Merkel, Ruby Keeler, and Ginger Rogers in a publicity phtoo for 42ND STREET. This 1933 movie was a smash hit.


 Actor (66 titles)
1953The War of the Worlds
Dr. Gratzman (uncredited)
1952Mr. & Mrs. North (TV series)
Filipe Rioseca y Monteverde
These Latins(1952)… Filipe Rioseca y Monteverde
1952The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Marquis (uncredited)
1952California Conquest
Alexander Rotcheff
Thief at Ball (uncredited)
1945Rhapsody in Blue
Nightclub Guest (uncredited)
1944Oh, What a Night
1944Are These Our Parents?
Alexis Dolan
1943Around the World
Menlo (uncredited)
1943Mission to Moscow
Mr. Rosengoltz (uncredited)
1943Journey Into Fear
Witness (uncredited)
1942Foreign Agent
1942Lure of the Islands
The Commandant
1942Blue, White and Perfect
Alexis Fournier
1940Public Deb No. 1
1939Hotel for Women
Galdos (uncredited)
1939The Mystery of Mr. Wong
Michael Strogonoff
1939You Can't Cheat an Honest Man
Ronnie (uncredited)
1938Straight Place and Show
Ivan Borokov - Russian Jockey
1937Wise Girl
Prince Michael
Cossack Captain (uncredited)
Prince Vladimir Gregorovitch (scenes deleted)
1937Atlantic Flight
Baron Hayygard
Empress' Dinner Companion (uncredited)
1937History Is Made at Night
Michael Browsky
1937Fair Warning
Count Andre Lukacha
1937Mama Steps Out
Coco Duval, the Painter
1936Love on the Run
Prince Igor
Baron Von Stofel
1936The Golden Arrow
Count Guilliano
1935She Couldn't Take It
Count (uncredited)
1935China Seas
1935Goin' to Town
Ivan Valadov
1935Sweepstake Annie
Baron Rudolph Baritska
1934Strange Wives
1934Kansas City Princess
Dr. Sascha Pilnakoff
1934The Merry Frinks
Ramon Alvarez
1934Moulin Rouge
Hugo, Marquis Di Pisa Di Pisa
1933Laughing at Life
Don Flavio Montenegro
1933Made on Broadway
Ramon Salinas
Prince Niko Gilitziv (uncredited)
1932Unholy Love
Alex Stockmar
1931The Gay Diplomat
Captain Ivan Orloff
1931Bachelor Apartment
Pedro 'Pete' De Maneau
1931Laugh and Get Rich
Count Dimitriff (uncredited)
1931The Lady Refuses
Nikolai Rabinoff
1930Midnight Mystery
Mischa Kawelin
1930The Cuckoos
Baron de Camp
1930Men Without Women
Man in Bar with Top Hat (uncredited)
1929They Had to See Paris
Marquis de Brissac
1929Street Girl
Prince Nicholaus of Aregon
1929The One Woman Idea
1929The Veiled Woman
Capt. Paul Fevier
1929Sin Town
Pete Laguerro
1928Walking Back
Beaut Thibaut
1928Let 'Er Go Gallegher
Four Fingers Dan
1927The Love of Sunya
Ted Morgan(as Ivan B. Lebedeff)
1926Fine Manners
The Prince (uncredited)
Self (2 titles)
1932Hollywood on Parade No. A-5 (short)
1932The Hollywood Handicap (short)

Watch THE SORROWS OF SATAN, with Ivan Lebedeff:

Hollywood In It's Heyday:

Ivan Lebedeff To Star In Movie:

Monocles in Hollywood ( Lebedeff mention ):