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Page in Our Modern Maidens (1929)
Anita Evelyn Pomares
August 4, 1910
|Died||September 6, 2008 (aged 98)|
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, San Diego, California|
|Years active||1925–1936; 1961; 1996–2008|
(m. 1934; div. 1935)
Herschel A. House
(m. 1937; died 1991)
Page became a highly popular young star, reportedly receiving the most fan mail of anyone on the MGM lot. She was referred to as "a blond, blue-eyed Latin" and "the girl with the most beautiful face in Hollywood" in the 1920s. She retired from acting in 1936. Page married her second husband the following year with whom she had two children.
Page returned to acting sixty years later in 1996, and appeared in four films in the 2000s. She died in September 2008 at the age of 98.
Anita Evelyn Pomares was born to Marino Leo, Sr., who was originally from Brooklyn, and Maude Evelyn (née Mullane) Pomares. She had one brother, Marino Jr., who later worked for her as a gym instructor while her mother worked as her secretary and her father as her chauffeur. Page's paternal grandfather Marino was from Spain, and had worked as a consul in El Salvador; her grandmother Anna Muñoz was of Spanish descent from Spain. She was of maternal Yankee and French descent.
Silent films and early talkiesEdit
Page entered films with the help of friend, actress Betty Bronson. A photo of Page was spotted by a man who handled Bronson's fan mail who was also interested in representing actors. With the encouragement of her mother, Page telephoned the man who arranged a meeting for her with a casting director at Paramount Studios. After doing a screen test for Paramount, she became among the first residents of the Chateau Marmont. There, she met actress Joan Crawford, who facilitated a screen test at MGM. Page was offered contracts by both studios, and selected MGM, "because they were so good for female actresses. If you ask me, MGM was the studio."
Page's first film for MGM was the 1928 comedy-drama Telling the World, opposite William Haines. Her performance in her second MGM film, Our Dancing Daughters (1928) opposite Joan Crawford was a tremendous success and it inspired two similar films in which they also co-starred Our Modern Maidens and Our Blushing Brides. "I used to say that we're going to be 'The Galloping Grandmothers' at the rate we're going with these pictures," she said in 1993.
The Broadway Melody (1929) opposite Bessie Love was one of her greatest successes, and it won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Page had no trouble transitioning to talking pictures, but she wasn't thrilled that they basically did away with silent films. "In my opinion, silents were much better than talkies. One thing you had was mood music, which you could have playing throughout your scene to inspire you. My favorite song was 'My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice' from Samson and Delilah. I never seemed to tire of it. The trouble with talkies was, they let you have the music, but they'd stop it when you had to talk and it was always a letdown for me."
She was the leading lady to Lon Chaney, Buster Keaton, Robert Montgomery, and Clark Gable (among others) and during the early 1930s, she was one of Hollywood's busiest actresses. She was involved briefly with Gable romantically during that time. At the height of her popularity, she was receiving more fan mail than any other female star, with the exception of Greta Garbo, and received several marriage proposals from Benito Mussolini in the mail.
When her contract expired in 1933, she surprised Hollywood by announcing her retirement at the age of 23. She made one more movie, Hitch Hike to Heaven, in 1936, and then left the screen, virtually disappearing from Hollywood circles for sixty years. In a 2004 interview with author Scott Feinberg, she claimed that her refusal to meet demands for sexual favors by MGM head of production Irving Thalberg, supported by studio chief Louis B. Mayer, is what truly ended her career. She said that Mayer colluded with the other studio bosses to ban her and other uncooperative actresses from finding work.
She married composer Nacio Herb Brown in 1934, but the marriage was annulled a year later because Brown's previous divorce had not been finalized at the time they were married. She married Lieutenant Hershel A. House, a Navy pilot, on January 9, 1937 in Yuma, Arizona, and they moved to Coronado, California, and lived there until his death in 1991. They had two daughters, Linda (now Linda Sterne) and Sandra (who predeceased Page).
Return to actingEdit
Page returned to the screen in 1996 after sixty years retirement and appeared in several low budget horror films. Film veteran Margaret O'Brien appeared in two of them. During this period, she moved in with her co-star and occasional director, Randal Malone at his Van Nuys home.
Later years and deathEdit
Page relished her status as "last star of the silents" and frequently gave interviews and appeared in documentaries about the era. Ill health prevented her from making public appearances in her final years.
At the time of her death in September 2008, she was among the last to have acted as an adult in silent films (Barbara Kent and Miriam Seegar are among the handful of others) to live into the 21st century. She was also the last living attendee of the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Anita Page has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6116 Hollywood Boulevard.
|1925||A Kiss for Cinderella||Uncredited|
|1926||Love 'Em and Leave 'Em||Uncredited|
|1928||Telling the World||Chrystal Malone|
|Our Dancing Daughters||Ann 'Annikins'|
|While the City Sleeps||Myrtle||Portions of 2 reels are missing|
|West of Zanzibar||Bit role||Uncredited|
|1929||The Flying Fleet||Anita Hastings|
|The Broadway Melody||Queenie Mahoney||Alternative title: The Broadway Melody of 1929|
|The Hollywood Revue of 1929||Herself|
|Our Modern Maidens||Kentucky Strafford|
|Navy Blues||Alice "Allie" Brown|
|1930||Free and Easy||Elvira Plunkett||Alternative title: Easy Go|
|Caught Short||Genevieve Jones|
|Our Blushing Brides||Connie Blair|
|The Little Accident||Isabel|
|War Nurse||Joy Meadows|
|1931||The Voice of Hollywood No. 7 (Second Series)||Herself||Short|
|Wir schalten um auf Hollywood||Herself||Uncredited|
|The Easiest Way||Peg Murdock Feliki|
|Gentleman's Fate||Ruth Corrigan|
|Sidewalks of New York||Margie Kelly|
|1932||Are You Listening?||Sally O'Neil|
|Night Court||Mary Thomas||Alternative title: Justice for Sale|
|Skyscraper Souls||Jenny LeGrande|
|Prosperity||Helen Praskins Warren|
|1933||Jungle Bride||Doris Evans|
|Soldiers of the Storm||Natalie|
|The Big Cage||Lilian Langley|
|I Have Lived||Jean St. Clair||Alternative titles: After Midnight|
|1936||Hitch Hike to Heaven||Claudia Revelle||Alternative title: Footlights and Shadows|
|1996||Sunset After Dark||Anita Bronson|
|1998||Creaturealm: From the Dead||Herself||(segment "Hollywood Mortuary")|
|2000||Witchcraft XI: Sisters in Blood||Sister Seraphina||Direct-to-DVD release|
|2002||The Crawling Brain||Grandma Anita Kroger||Direct-to-DVD release|
|2004||Bob's Night Out||Socialite|
|2010||Frankenstein Rising||Elizabeth Frankenstein||Released posthumously|
|2016||Doctor Stein||Elizabeth Stein||Released posthumously|
- Anita Page: Star of the silent screen. Independent.co.uk (September 8, 2008). Retrieved on May 10, 2012.
- Latinas in the United States. Books.google.com. Retrieved on May 10, 2012.
- Anita Page, 98; Hollywood Star at End of Silent Movie Era. Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved on May 10, 2012.
- Anita Page Interview 4 out of 9. States her father was of Spanish origin born in Brooklyn.
- Ankerich 1998, p. 181
- Ronald, Bergan (September 8, 2008). "Anita Page: Obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- At the Center of the Frame: Leading Ladies of the Twenties and Thirties William M. Drew "My real name is Anita Pomares which is Spanish. Both my parents were born in this country. My paternal grandfather had come over from Spain and was a consul in El Salvador. My grandmother was definitely Castilian Spanish".
- Latin American Writers and the Rise of Hollywood Cinema By Jason Borge
- Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro by André Soares
- "Anita Page: Silent film actress who aroused the jealousy of Joan Crawford and the lust of Mussolini". The Telegraph. September 7, 2008.
- Golden, Eve (2001). Golden Images: 41 Essays on Silent Film Stars. McFarland. pp. 130–131. ISBN 0-7864-0834-0.
- Ankerich 1998, p. 185
- Ankerich 1998, p. 191
- Alternate Film Guide: Anita Page: Anita Page: Q&A with Author Allan Ellenberger. Altfg.com (August 22, 2007). Retrieved on May 10, 2012.
- Arizona, County Marriage Records, 1865–1972
- KansasCity.com: Silent screen siren Anita Page dies at 98[dead link]
- Silent screen siren Anita Page dies at 98. usatoday.com (September 7, 2008). Retrieved on May 10, 2012.
- Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
- Morning News, January 10, 1948, Who Was Who in America (Vol. 2)
- Berkvist, Robert (September 8, 2008). "Anita Page, Silent-Film Siren, Dies at 98". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- Villecco, Tony (2001). Silent Stars Speak. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0814-6.
- Works cited
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