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Mary Astor ACTOR

Mary Astor was born on May 3rd, 1906 in Quincy, Illinois with the birth name Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke.  She was an only child born to parents Otto Ludwig Langhanke and Helen Marie de Vasconcellos.  Both of her parents worked as teachers and her mother worked as a drama teacher.

Astor as a child was home schooled and taught how to play the piano from her father.  In 1919, Astor decided to submit her photograph to a beauty contest in a Motion Picture magazine and she became chosen as a semifinalist.  
The family relocated to Chicago and her father found employment teaching German at various public schools.  Astor became involved in drama lessons and began participating in various local stage productions. 
The next year the same magazine held the same beauty contest and Astor once again submitted her photograph, this time becoming a finalist.  She ended up being runner up in the national contest. 
Once again, her family picked up and relocated to New York City so Astor could try to pursue her dream of working in Motion pictures.  Her father became her manager from 1920 to 1930.  A photographer from Manhattan saw a photo of Astor, who's nickname was "Rusty" and asked her to pose for him.  Her Photos were then seen by Harry Durant from the Famous Players-Lasky and Astor was then signed to a six month contract to work with Paramount Pictures.

It was now that her name was changed from Lucille and she took on the stage name Mary Astor.  At the age of fourteen, she made her silent film debut on, "The Scarecrow" (1920) and then also appeared in, "Sentimental Tommy" (1921).  Her contract then collapsed with Paramount, but she continued to work as a free lance in various silent films.  She was cast in the two-reeler, "The Begger Maid" (1921) which she received critical recognition for.  Finally her break came on a feature length film called, "John Smith" (1922) and another film followed, "The Man Who Played God" (1923).

Finally, her acting career was heading in the right direction, and once again, her family picked up and now decided it was time to relocate to Hollywood.  She found work with various studios and then Paramount approached her again and chose to sign her to another contract for one year at $500 a week guaranteed. 

John Barrymore saw Astor's photo and wanted to cast her in a movie he was working on, so Paramount loaned Astor to Warner Brothers for the film, "Beau Brummel" (1924).  Astor's parents bought a nice home and for the most part began to live off of Astor's earnings.  At the age of nineteen, Astor was so upset with the way her father was controlling her physiologically and financially that she ran away and rented her own apartment in Hollywood.  Finally she came to an agreement with her father to give her an allowance to support herself and then at the age of twenty six she finally gained complete control of her money.

Her Paramount contract ended in 1925 and Warner Brothers chose to sign her next.  She again had the chance to work with the director, John Barrymore on the film, "Don Juan" (1926) and then Warner Brothers loaned her to Fox Studios to work on the film, "Dressed to Kill" (1928) followed by a role on, "Dry Martini" (1928).

When her contract again ended with Warner Brothers she moved on to work with Fox for a salary of $3750 per week.  Her career was at an all time high and she also married the love of her life, director, Kenneth Hawks.  However, as the film industry was making the transition to talkies, Astor failed her sound test with Fox and was let go from her contract.  She went without employment for eight months.   

Thank you to a close friend of hers, she was given the chance to play the second female lead in a stage production called, "Among the Married" which turned out to be a huge success and her voice was completely acceptable.  Her life was seeming to be back on track, sadly, when in the middle of filming her next movie, "Such Men are Dangerous" (1930) her husband Kenneth was killed in a plane crash over the Pacific Ocean.  Astor never completed filming and mourned the loss of her husband.

Astor was devastated at her lost but realized she must continue with her life and continue working. She went on to debut in her first talkie, "Ladies Love Brutes" (1930).  Her career was back on track, but her personal life was suffering.  She was finding it very difficult to get over the loss of her husband and began seeing Dr. Franklyn Thorpe who she ended up marrying on June 29th, 1931. 

On a boat trip to Hawaii, Astor gave birth to her first daughter, Marylyn Hauoli Thorpe.   When they returned back to Los Angeles, Astor went back to work filming, "Red Dust" (1932) under MGM.  She later signed a contract with Warner Brothers and filmed, "The Kennel Murder Case" (1933).  Even though things were picking up for her career wise, she was now facing difficulty in her personal life and marriage.

Astor decided it was best she get away for a while and therefore, left Los Angeles and moved to New York City.  She met playwright George Kaufman and they had an affair. 

In 1935 Thorpe divorced Astor and a huge custody battle over their daughter took place.  There was word of a diary that Astor had kept about all her different affairs and it almost became public.  Luckily, the judge felt it was not enough evidence and it was destroyed.  Much publicity went on during 1936 over her divorce and custody battle, but ultimately it did not harm her career.

Astor went on to film, "Dodsworth" (19360 which became a huge hit followed by, "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1937), "The Hurricane" (1937) and "Brigham Young" (1940).  Her big success came in 1941 with her role on, "The Great Lie" in which she won an Academy Award for best Actress.     
Mary Astor continued to work in the industry on radio, television, stage and film.  Not only was she working as an actress, Astor was also an author of five novels and her autobiography which became a best seller.  Some of her mid 40's film work were on, "Across the PAcific" (1942), "The Palm Beach Story" (1942) and "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944).   She also married her fourth husband, Thomas Gordon Wheelock on December 24th, 1945 but the couple divorced on August 30th, 1955.

She decided to sign another seven year contract with MGM and was begining to regret her decision.  They loaned her out to 20th Century Fox where she filmed, "Claudia and David" (1946) and again on loan this time to Paramount to film, "Desert Fury" (1947).  It was after she filmed, "Little women" (1949) that Astor decided not to renew her contract with MGM.  She was not being cast in roles that she felt demonstrated her talent.

Astor had always had a problem with alcohol addiction since the 1930's, however it had never affected her professional life.  This time, she hit rock bottom in 1949, made her third suicide attempt and decided to enrol in alcohols anonymous.  Astor also seperated from her fourth husband, a stock broker suring this time.   She also converted to Roman Catholicism after realizing she needed religion to keep her on track.  

In the early 1950's, Astor made her return to acting.  First on stage in the play, "Time of the Cuckoo" (1952) which later became a film called, "Summertime" (1955).   She also made her television debut on, "The Missing Years" (1954) follwed by appearances on, "The United States Steel Hour", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "Rawhide", Dr. Kiladare" and "Burkes Law".   her film carrer also continued with a role on, "Return to Peyton Place" (1961).

Upon return from a trip around the world in 1964, Astor decided to do one more film, "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlottle" (1964) and following her final screen appearance, Astor headed for retirement.   She moved to Fountain Valley, California to be close to her son, Tono del campo, from her third marriage to film editor, Manuel del Campo.  Following a chronic heart condition in 1971, Astor moved to Woodland Hills into a small cottage at the Motion picture and Television Country House.  

On Setpember 27th, 1987 Mary Astor passed away at the age of eighty one from respitory failure.   She is interred in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.  For her contributiion to the Motion Picture Industry, Astor was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  


1964   Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte  
1964   Youngblood Hawke  
1963   Ben Casey
1963   Burke's Law
1962-1963  Dr. Kildare
1963   The Defenders
1962   Checkmate
1961   Return to Peyton Place  
1961   Rawhide
1960   Thriller 
1957-1960  Playhouse 90 
1960   The Snows of Kilimanjaro
1955-1960  The United States Steel Hour  
1959   The Philadelphia Story
1959   G.E. True Theater 
1958-1959  Alfred Hitchcock Presents 
1959   A Stranger in My Arms  
1958   This Happy Feeling 
1954-1958  Studio One in Hollywood 
1958   U.S. Marshal 
1957   The Devil's Hairpin 
1955-1957  Climax!
1956-1957  Lux Video Theatre 
1957   Zane Grey Theater  
1956   Robert Montgomery Presents 
1956   The Power and the Prize 
1956   A Kiss Before Dying 
1956   Playwrights '56
1956   Star Stage
1956   Studio 57
1955   Front Row Center
1955   The Elgin Hour
1955   Producers' Showcase 
1955   Ponds Theater
1954   The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse 
1954   The Best of Broadway 
1954   Danger
1954   Kraft Theatre
1953   Yesterday and Today
1949   Any Number Can Play
1949   Little Women  
1948   Act of Violence 
1947   Cass Timberlane 
1947   Cynthia 
1947   Desert Fury  
1947   Fiesta  
1946   Claudia and David
1944   Blonde Fever  
1944   Meet Me in St. Louis  
1943   Thousands Cheer 
1943   Young Ideas  
1942   The Palm Beach Story  
1942   Across the Pacific  
1941   The Maltese Falcon
1941   The Great Lie  
1940   Brigham Young  
1940   Turnabout
1939   Midnight 
1938   Listen, Darling 
1938   Woman Against Woman 
1938   There's Always a Woman  
1938   Paradise for Three  
1938   No Time to Marry  
1937   The Hurricane  
1937   The Prisoner of Zenda  
1936   Lady from Nowhere 
1936   Dodsworth  
1936   Trapped by Television 
1936   And So They Were Married 
1936   The Murder of Dr. Harrigan  
1935   Man of Iron  
1935   Page Miss Glory  
1935   Dinky 
1935   Straight from the Heart  
1935   Red Hot Tires  
1934   I Am a Thief  
1934   The Case of the Howling Dog 
1934   The Man with Two Faces 
1934   Return of the Terror 
1934   Upperworld 
1934   Easy to Love  
1933   Convention City  
1933   The World Changes 
1933   The Kennel Murder Case  
1933   Jennie Gerhardt  
1933   The Little Giant  
1932   Red Dust 
1932   A Successful Calamity  
1932   Those We Love 
1932   The Lost Squadron
1931   Men of Chance  
1931   Smart Woman 
1931   White Shoulders  
1931   The Sin Ship
1931   Behind Office Doors
1931   Other Men's Women  
1931   The Royal Bed
1930   The Lash  
1930   Holiday  
1930   Ladies Love Brutes  
1930   The Runaway Bride  
1929   The Woman from Hell 
1929   New Year's Eve  
1928   Romance of the Underworld  
1928   Dry Martini  
1928   Heart to Heart 
1928   Three-Ring Marriage  
1928   Dressed to Kill  
1928   Sailors' Wives  
1927   No Place to Go  
1927   The Rough Riders
1927   Rose of the Golden West  
1927   Two Arabian Knights  
1927   The Sunset Derby  
1927   The Sea Tiger 
1926   Forever After  
1926   Don Juan 
1926   The Wise Guy  
1926   High Steppers  
1925   Scarlet Saint
1925   The Pace That Thrills 
1925   Don Q Son of Zorro  
1925   Playing with Souls
1925   Enticement 
1925   Oh, Doctor!  
1924   Inez from Hollywood  
1924   The Price of a Party  
1924   Unguarded Women  
1924   The Fighting American  
1924   Beau Brummel  
1924   The Fighting Coward
1923   To the Ladies  
1923   Woman-Proof
1923   The Marriage Maker
1923   Puritan Passions 
1923   The Bright Shawl 
1923   Success  
1923   Second Fiddle
1922   The Rapids  
1922   The Man Who Played God  
1922   Hope
1922   John Smith
1922   The Young Painter
1922   The Angelus  
1921   Wings of the Border
1921   The Beggar Maid
1921   My Lady o' the Pines
1921   Sentimental Tommy
1921   Brother of the Bear
1921   Bullets or Ballots

Matinee Classics - Across the Pacific starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Monte Blue and Keye Luke
Matinee Classics - Across the Pacific starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Monte Blue and Keye Luke
Matinee Classics - Any Number Can Play starring Clark Gable, Alexis Smith, Wendell Corey, Audrey Totter, Frank Morgan, Mary Astor, Lewis Stone, Barry Sullivan, Marjorie Rambeau, Edgar Buchanan, Leon Ames, Mickey Knox, Richard Rober, William Conrad and Darryl Hickman
Matinee Classics - Two Arabian Nights starring William Boyd, Mary Astor, Louis Wolheim, Ian Keith, Michael Vavitch, Michael Visaroff, Boris Karloff, DeWitt Jennings, Nicholas Dunaew, Jean Vachon and David Cavendish
Matinee Classics - Mary Astor aka Lucille Langhanke
Matinee Classics - Mary Astor
Matinee Classics - Oh, Doctor! starring Mary Astor, Reginald Denny, Otis Harlan, William V. Mong, Tom Ricketts, Lucille Ward and Mike Donlin
Matinee Classics - Page Miss Glory starring Marion Davies, Pat O'Brien, Dick Powell, Mary Astor, Frank McHugh, Lyle Talbot, Allen Jenkins, Barton MacLane, Patsy Kelly, Hobart Cavanaugh, Joseph Cawthorn, Al Shean and Berton Churchill

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