Sunday, May 10, 2015
I enter the final chapters of my Barbara La Marr biography, The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful: The Extraordinary Life Story of Silent Screen Vamp Barbara La Marr, with a blend of emotions. Mainly, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to write Barbara's story, for this chance to take the journey of her amazing life myself (as both an actress and writer). I am excited to put her complete story out where others may also know of the incredible, gifted, multi-faceted woman she was. And, yes, I even feel a tinge of sadness over the impending conclusion of this leg of the venture, as I have truly enjoyed exploring all aspects of who Barbara was as a human being and artist, and weaving those elements together on the written page.
After Donald Gallery, her son, asked me to write her story, it was my deliberate intent to remain free of any time restrictions. We both agreed that I should take as much time as needed to fully travel every avenue and pursue all conceivable leads. It has also been quite valuable for me to contemplate all I have amassed, turning it inside out, penetrating the underlying core of it all. Since new records and historical documents are constantly being added to manifold databases, the gift of time has furthermore provided the thrill of near-constant discoveries, as well as enabled their incorporation into earlier sections of the book.
I am now deep into Chapter Thirty-Six. It is summer's end, 1925. Barbara, twenty-nine years old, has lost nearly everything. Shackled by debt, her love life in tatters, and her health failing, she has fallen from her position as one of the silent screen's leading vamps. Following a complete nervous and physical breakdown and subsequent hiatus from the screen, she has returned to the studio to begin what will be her final film. Her doctor has warned her against working in her condition. Her family and friends have begged her to rest and reclaim her health. Her producers and director have offered to postpone production. Barbara refuses to listen. Having recently assumed the reins of her career, she has won the chance to abandon the one-dimensional s ex siren roles she had been made to play. She has been granted the opportunity to defy her typecasting and make the kind of picture she has long wanted to make. Sensing that her time could be running out, she is desperate to prove herself as the actress she knows herself to be. And so she hobbles onto First National's United Studios lot, flanked by her concerned father and a nurse, steadying herself with a walking stick, and determined to rise again...
Learn more about Barbara on my tribute website: www.barbaralamarr.net