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The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939, October 03, 1920, FINAL EDITION, Image 33

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026749/1920-10-03/ed-1/seq-33/

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The Amwin
.i Four
$5,0 a' WeeJ
FW persons know the real story that
iMes behind the-tragic death of Olive
'Thomas, the lovely little Asmerican
motse picture star, in Park.
After ,growing up In the direst poverty
and working for a pittance that barely kept
body and soul together, Olive Thomas bad
won every sencess and every prise within
the reach of one whose gifts scarcely ex
tended beyond a pretty face and figure.
She had gained a prominent place on the
variety stage and then she had become a
famous motion pieture star. 'But every
step forward in ame and fnascial suecess
brought her enly bitterness and disappoint
ment. It was the crowning tragedy of her
career that, just after arriving in wonder
ful Paris with a damsling fortune, she and
denly met a horrible death.
"Well, Doo., Paris has got me!" were her
characteristic words as she lay dying.
Olive Thomas was born of the poorest
working people in the Iron and steel region
of Pennsylvania. _ Her name wes Olive
Elaine Dafy.
Only six years ago Olive was working
for $3 a week as' a sbopsirl in MoKees
socks, a suburb of Pittsburgh.
She loathed the dingy gloom of McKees
locks. As .she haded out parcels of
cheap goods her thoughts wandered- away
to mighty New York, with its "Great White
Way" and its gorgeous stores and its in
humerable ettractions. She even thought
,vaguely of Paris, which she knew only
raum the newspapers as a place of almost
iadescribable Joys and gayeties.
As a mere girl she married Bernard
greg Thaomas, a'hard-working young busi
hess aa. This was one of her first dis
appointments, for she found that this mar
hiage did not bring her appreciably nearer
ert ideal of a happy and luxurious life.
~How could she escape from her gloomy
hurroundings into the brighter life beyond?
She set her little head to wars. She found
that many, many poor girl. had become
actresses, singers ad, recently, movie
One day son afluring pictures of the
Elegfeld beauties excited the admiration of
the sImple-minded young men of her set
in grimy McKees Rtocks. Little Olive
Thesmas looked at herself critically in the
glass and declaed that she was prettier
than ay of these vaunted beauties.
Her mind was made up on the spot. She
tiorrowed the money
to go to New York
ad Immediately ap
pUed for a place pillluig
ang the beauties.
Mr. Sie grelid,
-rcpl regnis
lng her attrats ,
engaged her for
'"Ibe Midnight
Frolic." When she I
appeared in the
marchings and coun
termarchinugs of the chorus she was
quickly ranked by connoIsseurs as one of
the most beautiful of the girls.
Soom after obtaining a place on the stage
she divorced her McKees Rocks husband,
and with him went another link with the
penniless past.,
But this step upward did not bring ber
all the hapnes she expected. She found
that she was lar from rich enough to com
mand all the luxuries enjoypd by the most
fortwnsta members of the circle in which
she moved. She had to depend on others
for some of these luxuries, and this neces
sity was galling to her proud and ambitious
Omore she exercised her little brain.
She deId that the best way of becoming
rich quickly was to be a motion picture
star. Gbea had already made frends who
assured her of a good opportunity. She
w..eno Hollywood wher.e she became a
Career of a
Shopgirl Who
Years Became
Film Star
leadingJ fiueifh:oia.adatsi
hAd *ra u s n t m
ish lvale augab, type
Butn afteraew onth s o f n tistor
galaigie if . he tio nctr foondy.a
haearpdsucss. h oi
fiel nditarbndg lnfluence. Shea bmes
cre on oa frtomos, poulrca Ingeture,
tresre on poe rtyu and nnoentd-frn
is dltoab lfe, mhabe t kennt
consid ter at fwionh.o hiwr
smie ba tounge tha thr womethint
lang dcain er life Shehad notrurealfs
bth isturbind Ienre of an Immentostru
refre the poveryan nfftverand for look
groties or pre, mst he aen Iytbe
Imaga ine na n a onr mn wit
yEartrltuo" uc. eso e
in poery s thr nywne ta i
yerustuo sucuh to erfrs, aiva
cmonts young beauy hand emeried hgid
attpetyskdy tpert P wnerhat thS
rsonter-isa spense to rher ambitron, hes
aseohtaceptino this realspranin sthon
word shoudg acce tra
Tey perofesobnale wok thew younig
devePkoped. Mrt. Chlotes soity.rd,
mothe yon May, and Jackrehoie is
ateonsIn proudlyspheit.herhapns tfher
fraiypeclarechoi Tma shckouds
snotermarwit apleoher ambiti Aon. He
ask.ed. hernt accept. this danoitiona .
"For Q tints she
played with the
wicked gaiety of
Paris-the evil ser
pent in the fool's
cap. And at last
the coils tightened,
the fangs struck!
"'Well, Dec.,
Paris has got mef
she said. And died.
"In those few
words are packed
a whole world of
not ago ngh trsst marry intc
the Pickford family, and thbt she would
ue her relationship to make herself a
rival of Mary.
Olive was patclryucensed by the
statement that she was not a good eno~gh
actress to berthe Pikodname. Sh
therefore married Jack without delay,
partly in order to spite Mrs. Pickford.
Thus Olive's second marriage, froms
which she hoped so much, began uadet
rather unhappy conditkisn. Of Course, she
wasn't satisfied. She determined that she
would be a truly great star just to prove
Mrs. Pickford wron.
'With this ambition In view she paid
$20,000 to one of the big New York pro
ducers to make her a truly great star. She
stipulated that he should always have hei
name in at least five big electric signs ot
Broadway. This form of publicity proved1
very effective, and in the opinion of tha
%s ie te the pro
d e e ona-a in giv
. ag Olive something
nesr the posWon she
aimed at.
Amog her most con
goi c uou s - sucesssful
fims \of this period
were "Footlights and Shadows." "Youthful
olly." "The Flapper' and "Darling Mine."
She acted in the same innocent, infantile
kind of pictures as Mary Pickford, and was
fast rivalling Mary Pickford as a star.
It is now no secret that her marriage
with Jack Pickford, from which she had
hoped so much, did not bring her happi
ness, however much it may have contrib
uted to her professional success. Soon
after her marriage differences of a serious
nature arose between them.
After an unusually prosperous season
she agreed to a reconcilation with her hus
band this Summer. and they decided to
go to Paris for a grand holiday. That was
another of the dreams which little Olive
Thomas had cherished since her childhood
in gloomy McKees Rocks. She wanted to
enjoy wonderful, wicked Paris with all the
money necessary to command its utter
most delights. Now it was within her
power to realise this dream to its fullest
The matrimonial reunion proved thorny.
After their first arrival in Paris a letter
stated that they were, enjoying "an un
believably happy second honeymoon."
Then ,came an interruption. According
to one statement, Olive, broken-hearted
and temporarily unbalanced, was con
vinced that she could never again bring
herself to live with her husbands Jack
made a hurried trip from Paris to London
on August 25. When he rejoined his wife
in Paris, Olive told him, according to a
friend's letter, that further life with him
would be abhorrent and impossible.
Wishing only to forget her sorrows and
reckless of all other considerations, Olive
started out one Saturday night to see the
wildest sights that Paris offers to the visit
ing American. After a big dinner with an
abundance of nearly priceless champagne,
A Favorite Photograp
tt She
ished hr.
ren She
she rolled off In a taxi to make a tou d
the notorious resorts of Montmartre. Up
to 1 a. m. she was in the Cafe du Rat Most
(Cale of the Dead Rat), which offers thi
wildest exhibition of mad and degrade4
revelry permitted by the Paris police.
After that hour she left fqr a resd at
the secret and Illicit places of amasses.
of the quarter, which -;re hupt ope. al
night, and though nominally wader the
police ban can easily be visited by toethe
with a little money to spend.
Ad everybody knows, she returned to he
apartment in the Motel Rits On Sand
morning. Her nerves on edpe from' Mit
night of excitement and her many troebil1
she recklessly seised a bottle and pouled
out what she believed was a sleeping
draught which she kept for occasional use
As soon as she swallowed it she knew thd
she had swallowed bichloride of gercur7
whi::h she used as a toilet preparation.
Dr. Choate, of the American Hospital at
Neuilly, was summoned. When he arrive
Olive Thomas, though writhing In agony.
spoke up with her accustomed Broadway
vocabulary and said:
"Wel, Doc., Paris has got me."
As usual In the case of bichloride potenoe
ing, the struggle to save Olive Thomas was
unsuccessful. After four days of the most
Intense suffering she died. %
The events that Immediately preceded
the poisoning are surrounded with consid'
erable mystery, and perhaps will alwayU
remain so. Why shoed an intelligent
woman, who was accustomed to use the
deadly drug bichloride of mercury, make
such a childish mistake as to drink it In
error for a medicine? The Paris police
snowed that they were In considerable,
ooubt as to the nature of her act, but they
were unable to find that it was other than
an accident.
Undoubtedly the lures of Paris had their.
sh.re in Olive Thamas's sad death, but
those who knew her believe that unhappi+
ness haunted this willing little creature at
every step of her lie.
b of Olive Thme-= Showing Her
Childish Beauty

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