Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jewel Carmen

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.

Jewel Carmen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jewel Carmen
Jewel Carmen 1918.jpg
BornFlorence Lavina Quick
(1897-07-13)July 13, 1897
Danville, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedMarch 4, 1984(1984-03-04) (aged 86)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Other namesEvelyn Quick
Florence La Vinci
Jewell Carman
Years active1912–1926
Spouse(s)Roland West (m. 1918–35)
Jewel Carmen (July 13, 1897 – March 4, 1984) was an American silent film actress.

Early life and career

Born 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 Fox

In 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.[1][2] Fox sent Keeney notice of their prior contract, warning that they would hold Keeney responsible for assisting her in breaking it,[1] promising to indemnify Keeney against legal retaliation.[3] 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.[3]
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.[4] 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.[3][5][6][7] 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.[3][8]

Later years and death

Carmen 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.[9]
Todd died in a garage attached to the home where Carmen's parents lived, which Carmen had formerly shared with West.[10] 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.[11] After the scandal broke, Carmen's marriage to West ended, and she retired from the public eye.[9]
Carmen died of lymphoma on March 4, 1984 at the age of 86.


1912The Will of DestinyFrancesCredited as Florence La Vinci
1913The Professor's DaughterCredited as Evelyn Quick
A Life in the BalanceCredited as Evelyn Quick
Alternative titles: Crashing Through
Potted Plays No. 7
Professional JealousyCredited as Evelyn Quick
He and HimselfCredited as Evelyn Quick
Four Queens and a JackThe GirlCredited as Evelyn Quick
Their HusbandsCredited as Evelyn Quick
1916Daphne and the PirateCredited as Jewell Carman
Sunshine DadCharlotte
The Children in the HouseJane Courtenay
Flirting with FateGladys, the GirlAlternative title: The Assassin
The Half-BreedNellieAlternative title: The Carquinez Woods
IntoleranceFavorite of the HaremUncredited
Manhattan MadnessGirl
American AristocracyGeraldine Hicks
1917The Kingdom of LoveViolet Carson
A Tale of Two CitiesLucie Manette
American MethodsClaire de Beaulieu
To Honor and ObeyRose Delvane
The ConquerorEliza Allen
When a Man Sees RedCaptain Sutton
Les MisérablesCosette at age 18
1918The Girl with the Champagne EyesNellie Proctor
The Bride of FearAnn Carter
ConfessionMary Anderson
Fallen AngelJill CummingsAlternative title: Paying the Piper
Lawless LoveLaBelle GeraldineAlternative title: Above the Law
1921The Silver LiningThe Angel
NobodyLittle Mrs. Smith
1923You Can't Get Away with It
1926The BatMiss Dale Ogden


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b American Law Reports Annotated, 1211.
  2. Jump up ^ Kaufman, 228.
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b c d Kaufman, 229.
  4. Jump up ^ American Law Reports Annotated, 1212.
  5. Jump up ^ American Law Reports Annotated, 1210, 1213.
  6. Jump up ^ Carmen v. Fox Film Corp. 269 F. 928 (2nd Cir., 1920); cert denied, 255 U.S. 569, 41 S.Ct. 323 (1921)
  7. Jump up ^ 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. 
  8. Jump up ^ Cf. American Law Reports Annotated.
  9. ^ Jump up to: a b Wright, David (2002). Joyita: Solving the Mystery. Auckland University Press. p. 3. ISBN 1-86940-270-7. 
  10. Jump up ^ Donati, William (2000). Ida Lupino: A Biography. University Press of Kentucky. p. 39. ISBN 0-8131-0982-5. .
  11. Jump up ^ Nash, Jay Robert (2004). Great Pictorial History of World Crime. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 250. ISBN 1-928831-22-2. 


External links

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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.



THE BAT was cited by Bob Kane as an inspiration for his character Batman.
Jewel Carmen, Emily Fitzroy, Louise Fazenda et Eddie Gribbon






Jewel Carmen in 1939.


Jewel Carmen postcard

The "Joyita" was actually named after Jewel Carmen - the name means "little jewel" in Spanish -
 and so was "Joya's" - the private dining room upstairs at the Sidewalk Café - "Joya" means "Jewel".
The Sidewalk Café actually had the names of both Thelma Todd and Jewel Carmen on it.


RAGTIME BAND was one of the Keystone comedies Jewel Carmen was in.

Jewel Carmen:


Keystone Comedies:

Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café:

Roland West:


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