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LINDA DARNELL

Rita Hayworth, Tyrone Power, & Linda Darnell
"Blood and Sand" 1940
Click to enlarge
11" x 14" Original Vintage Lobby Card

Biography for
Linda Darnell


Mini biography
Linda Darnell, one of five children of a postal clerk, grew up fast. At 11, she was modeling clothes, giving her age as 16. At 13, she was appearing on the stage with little theater groups. Her mother encouraged her to audition when Hollywood talent scouts came to Dallas. She went to California and when the studio found out how young she really was, she was sent home and told to come back when she was 15. Her fourth film, "Star Dust" (1940), was based on this real life experience. It was "Star Dust" that Darnell was watching the night of April 9, 1965, at the Chicago home of her former secretary. The house caught on fire in the early hours of the next morning and Darnell died that afternoon in Cook County Hospital. The character she played in one of her best known roles, "Forever Amber" (1947) survived the London fire, the plague and the perils of being the mistress of the English king, Charles II.
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Mini biography
Linda Darnell, was born Monetta Eloyse Darnell, in Dallas, Texas on October 16, 1923. She was one of five children of a post office worker and his wife. A Texas-born beauty, her mother encouraged her to model. Her mother already knew that Linda was special because of her rare good looks. By 1934 she was modeling clothes for an area department store. Sometimes officials would think that she was 15 or 16 because she really didn't look her age. Neither Linda nor her mother discouraged their thinking. By the time Linda was 13, she was appearing with local theater companies and her talent was already becoming apparent. There was no doubt that Linda had a rare gift for someone so young. When the Hollywood moguls sent scouts to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, her mother thought it would be a good idea to give Linda a shot at a try-out. The talent scouts took one look at her and her acting abilities and arranged for a screen test. She made the trek to Hollywood and when her true age was discovered she was sent home. After two years and more local theater appearances, Linda returned to California and her career was off and running. Her debut was in 1939 in the role of Marcia Bromley in A HOTEL FOR WOMEN. She was all of 16 at the time and became the youngest leading lady in Hollywood history. Her next film was that same year in DAY-TIME WIFE. Her third film was as Carolyn Sayres in STAR DUST made in 1940 and Linda immediately rose to heights of stardom. Other quality films followed. In 1941 she appeared in BLOOD AND SAND and RISE AND SHINE. In 1945 she played Netta Longdon in the film HANGOVER SQUARE. The movie proved to be a box-office bonanza. The following year Linda appeared with the legendary Lillian Gish in CENTENNIAL SUMMER. Later that same year she co-starred with Henry Fonda and Victor Mature in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. It was another hit. Linda reached the height of her career when she played opposite Cornell Wilde in 1947's FOREVER AMBER where she survives the famed London fire. In 1952 she starred in BLACKBEARD THE PIRATE along with Irene Ryan, Robert Newton, and William Bendix. Linda's final appearance on the silver screen was in 1965's BLACK SPURS. She was married and divorced three times. They were: J. Peverell Marley from 1944-1952, Phillip Liebmann from 1954-1955 and finally Merle Roy Robertson from 1957-1962. On April 10, 1965, Linda died of burns she suffered in the house fire of her former secretary. Ironically, she had been watching STAR DUST on television, which was one of the films that set her career in motion. She had filmed a total of 46 movies. Often described as the "girl with the perfect face", Linda died at the age of 41.
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IMDb mini-biography by
Denny Jackson
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Spouse
'Merle Roy Robertson' (1957 - 1962) (divorced) (airline pilot)
'Phillip Liebmann' (1954 - 1955) (divorced) (brewer)
J. Peverell Marley (1944 - 1952) (divorced) (camera man)
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Trivia

Born at 4:40am-CST

Stage and television actress.

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
Actress. (b. Oct. 16, 1921, Dallas, as Monetta Eloyse Darnell; d. Apr. 10, 1965.) Linda Darnell was one of the most beautiful women on the screen in the 1940s, and she projected a likable screen personality, but she could never be considered a great actress. Often, as in John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946) or Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours (1948), Darnell was the one false note in otherwise outstanding productions. Darnell's mother pushed her young daughter into a show biz career: dancing lessons at 5, modeling at 14, "Gateway to Hollywood" contest winner at 16. She had a 1937 screen test to RKO and made the rounds without much success until signing with 20th Century-Fox in 1939. After making her debut in Hotel for Women Darnell appeared in some of the studio's most prestigious films. She was costarred with Tyrone Power in Brigham YoungFrontiersman (1940) and in remakes of classic silents-The Mark of Zorro (1940) and Blood and Sand (1941).

A favorite of Fox studio head Darryl Zanuck, Darnell worked in a number of popular and successful films, among them The Song of Bernadette (1943, unbilled as The Virgin Mary), It Happened Tomorrow, Buffalo Bill (both 1944), Hangover Square (1945), and Anna and the King of Siam (1946), but she remained little more than a highly decorative leading lady. Her one full-fledged star turn came with Forever Amber (1947), a troubled production, playing a fiery leading role for which she had not been first choice. She simply couldn't carry a dramatic vehicle on her own. Her best opportunity came in Jo- seph L. Mankiewicz's A Letter to Three Wives (1949), but there was no encore.

Darnell's career sputtered in the 1950s with pictures like Blackbeard, the Pirate, Island of Desire (both 1952), and a handful of Italian and Spanish potboilers. Although she did some stage and TV work, she virtually disappeared from the big screen after 1957. Her last film, Black Spurs (1965), was completed just before her death. While visiting her former secretary in Chicago, Darnell was burned to death in a house fire, reportedly while watching a TV rerun of her 1940 girlmakes-good Hollywood fantasy, Star Dust
 

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