Photoplay was a film fan magazine that started in 1911 and lasted until 1980. It was huge in its impact of how it made America interested in Hollywood/film culture (it would not be an exaggeration to pin Photoplay as one of the culprits of how obsessed we [America] are with celebrity and media today).
Anyhoo, Photoplay is basically amazing, especially when it covers my films in my wheelhouse (early 30s). Today I found the best burn ever, directed at Marie Prevost. Prevost was a popular star during the silent era but by 1928 or so she didn’t have a whole lot of jobs coming her way (Her last leading role was in 1928’s The Racket). Prevost was having an affair with The Racket’s producer, Howard Hughes (AKA Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator). When that ended she was devastated, and fell into a deep depression. She gained a ton of weight and never worked as a leading lady again. The once popular star was now an alcoholic, overweight and miserable. It’s depressing how common you see this sort of pattern in old Hollywood.
In the 1932 September issue of Photoplay (page 112) there is a section called ‘Screen memories from Photoplay’ in which they talk about things that Photoplay covered 5, 10 and 15 years ago. In the ’10 years ago section’ they covered Gloria Swanson’s trip to Paris and there they mentioned Prevost.
What a gay little story we printed–the one about Marie Prevost, in which we pointed out (and ran a picture to prove it) that Marie had just about the best pair of legs then in Hollywood.
How were we to know that Marlene Dietrich was coming along with those glorious stems? And that Marie was to look too long upon French pastry and chocolate pie and lose that gorgeous figure?
Ouch. Nothing like kicking an actress when she’s down, am I right? Well, I suppose Photoplay would have no way of knowing that Prevost would be dead before the decade was up. More reading on Marie here and here. Her name/story would later become the title of the (misspelled) song “Marie Provost“. How far do the the great ones fall.