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Louise Brooks

Actor/dancer

Died when: 78 years 267 days (944 months)
Star Sign: Scorpio

 

Louise Brooks

her pivotal vamp role in the 1928 Howard Hawks silent buddy film A Girl in Every Port.Her distinctive bob haircut helped start a trend, and many women styled their hair in imitation of both her and fellow film star Colleen Moore.

In the early sound film drama Beggars of Life (1928), Brooks plays an abused country girl who kills her foster father when he "attempts, one sunny morning, to rape her." A hobo (Richard Arlen) happens on the murder scene and convinces Brooks to disguise herself as a young boy and escape the law by "riding the rails" with him.

In a hobo encampment, or "jungle," they meet another hobo (Wallace Beery).Brooks' disguise is soon uncovered and she finds herself the only female in a world of brutal, sex-hungry men.

Much of this film was shot on location in the Jacumba Mountains near the Mexican border, and the boom microphone was invented for this film by the director William Wellman, who needed it for one of the first experimental talking scenes in the movies.

The filming of Beggars of Life proved to be a difficult ordeal for Brooks.During the production, she had a one-night stand with a stuntman who—the next day—spread a malicious false rumor on the set that Brooks had contracted a venereal disease during a previous weekend stay with a producer, ostensibly Jack Pickford.

Concurrently, Brooks' interactions with her co-star Richard Arlen deteriorated as Arlen was a close friend of Brooks' then-husband Eddie Sutherland and, according to Brooks, Arlen took a dim view of her casual liaisons with crew members.

Amid these tensions, Brooks repeatedly clashed with director William Wellman whose risk-taking directing style nearly caused her death in a scene where she hazardously climbs aboard a moving train.

Soon after the production of Beggars Of Life was completed, Brooks began filming the pre-Code crime-mystery film The Canary Murder Case (1929).

By this time in her life, she was socializing with wealthy and famous persons.She was a frequent house guest of William Randolph Hearst and his mistress Marion Davies at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, being intimate friends with Davies' lesbian niece, Pepi Lederer.

While partying with Lederer, Brooks had a brief sexual liaison with her.At some point in their friendship, Hearst and Davies were made aware of Lederer's lesbianism.

Hearst arranged for Lederer to be committed to a mental institution for drug addiction.Several days after her arrival at the institution, Lederer—Brooks' closest friend and companion—committed suicide by jumping to her death from a hospital window.

This event traumatized Brooks and likely led to her further dissatisfaction with Hollywood and the West Coast.Brooks, who now loathed the Hollywood "scene", refused to stay on at Paramount after being denied a promised raise.

Learning of her refusal, her friend and lover George Preston Marshall counseled her to sail with him to Europe in order to make films with director G.W.

Pabst, the prominent Austrian Expressionist director.As such, on the last day of filming The Canary Murder Case, Brooks departed Paramount Pictures to leave Hollywood for Berlin to work for Pabst.

It was not until thirty years later that this rebellious decision would come to be seen as arguably the most beneficial to her career, securing her immortality as a silent film legend and independent spirit.

While her initial snubbing of Paramount alone would not have finished her in Hollywood altogether, her later refusal after returning from Germany to come back to Paramount for sound retakes of The Canary Murder Case (1929) irrevocably placed her on an unofficial blacklist.

Angered by her refusal, the studio allegedly claimed that Brooks' voice was unsuitable for sound pictures, and another actress, Margaret Livingston, was hired to dub Brooks' voice for the film.


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