Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Day in History June 21, 1906

Yet another person I have never heard of before, but I am somewhat intrigued by her.  It was on this date in 1906 that silent film great Helene Costello was born.  She was born in New York City to a prominent actor, Maurice Costello.  When she was three years old, she was in her first film alongside her father Les Miserables.  By the time she officially made it to Hollywood in 1925, she had already been in over 60 films.  She appeared in many of these with her sister, Delores. 

She and her sister both had successful silent film careers, but her sister was the classic beauty.  Helene had an earthy beauty, and she was well-loved as a flapper on screen.  Her first big film was opposite John Barrymore, her future brother-in-law.  (She is the great-aunt of Drew Barrymore.)  She was a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1927--they saw real promise in her, in other words.  Sound was not a great success for her, and it basically ended her film career.  

The rest of her life consisted of drug abuse, alcoholism, marriage/divorce, financial destitution, and scandal.  She died January 26, 1957 of tuberculosis and pneumonia.  There were so few in attendance at her funeral that reporters covering the story were asked to be pallbearers!  Her grave is the only unmarked grave in the Costello family plot.

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