Her birth name was Lucille Vasconcellos Langhanke, but Mary Astor fit better on a movie theater marquee.
In 1919, Lucille sent in a photograph of herself for "Motion Picture Magazine's" beauty contest and was a semifinalist. The following year she entered the magazine's contest again and became a finalist and then the runner-up in the national contest. Her father made the decision to move his family to New York City to permit his daughter to be near one of the two centers, the other was in New Jersey, of the motion picture industry at the time. Later, the major studios would move production to Southern California for the weather.
Some sites contradict themselves over Lucille's age at the time of the move to New York City and the year it took place. Had the move actually taken place in 1920, any time after May 3rd, she would have been 14 years old. However, these same sites state Lucille's age as 15-years-old at the time of the move. Adding, that silent screen star, Lillian Gish, did a film test of the young woman reciting Shakespeare and the test was followed by a small role, her scenes deleted, in the short subject, "Sentimental Tommy", which was released on March 27, 1921, two months prior to her 15th birthday.
"HOLLYWOOD: Segregated Housing, Motion Picture Studios and Movie Palaces", at:
Between 1921, starting with second billing as "Marcia Harthorn", in the silent short, "Brother of the Bear", released one-month earlier then "Sentimental Tommy", and ending with seventh billing as "Jewel Mayhew", in 1964's "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte". Mary Astor appeared in 170 different roles between motion pictures and television productions.
However, this article isn't about her private life, that admittedly included being an alcoholic as far back as 1930, but selected film roles over her 43-year film career.
I already mentioned two of Mary Astor's 1921 movie appearances, in the first six months of her career, she appeared in a total of four shorts, one uncredited role, and one film with her scenes deleted. However, "Paramount Pictures" did not renew Astor's contract and she started working as a freelance actor.
The film starred 15-years-old Mary Astor as the "Peasant Girl and Beggar Maid", and English actor and the writer of the short's screenplay, Reginald Denny, as "The Earl of Winston and King Cophetua".
During 1923, Mary Astor appeared in eight motion pictures, had a new contract with "Paramount Pictures" and her acting caught the eye of John Barrymore. Barrymore asked his studio, "Warner Brothers", to get "Paramount" to loan them Astor for his co-star.
Fairbanks used an unrelated to "Zorro" novel, "Don Q's Romance", by mother and son Kate and Hesketh Prichard to turn into a sequel to his successful 1920, "Mark of Zorro", based upon the Johnston McCulley novel, "The Curse of Capistrano".
Douglas Fairbanks portrayed both "Don Cesar de Vega", and his father, "Don Diego Vega aka: Zorro". Fairbanks had just been seen in director Raoul Walsh's, 1925 classic, "The Thief of Bagdad". He would follow this feature with 1926's, "The Black Pirate".
Mary Astor portrayed " Dolores de Muro". She was just in the forgotten drama, 1925's, "Playing with Soul", and would follow this picture with a car racing film co-starring Ben Lyon, 1925's, "The Pace That Thrills".
DON JUAN released on August 6, 1926
While filming a scene for "Such Men are Dangerous", Mary Astor's husband, director Kenneth Hawks, was killed in a plane crash. Astor moved into Florence Eldridge's apartment for a short time and then returned to work, but Mary Astor also suffered a nervous breakdown from delayed shock over her husband's death and went for treatment by Dr. Franklyn Thrope.
She would complete two more films in 1930, and while being treated continued to work through 1931. On a personal note, by the time her sixth motion picture following, "Ladies Love Brutes", "White Shoulders", was released on May 17, 1931. She had fallen in love with her doctor and the two would be married the following month, on June 29, 1931
Above, Von Stroheim and Astor.
Joel McCrea portrayed "Red". McCrea was two films away from Merian C. Cooper's, 1932, "The Most Dangerous Game", co-starring with Fay Wray. He had just co-starred with Will Rodgers in the 1932 comedy, "Business and Pleasure".
Robert Armstrong portrayed "Lieutenant Woody Kerwood, or Curwood, in some listings". Armstrong was also two films away from "The Most Dangerous Game", and seven from 1933's, "King Kong". My article "ROBERT ARMSTRONG: It Wasn't All 'The Eighth Wonder of the World', His Brat, or 'Joe'!" can be read at:
The motion picture was directed by Victor Fleming, who received no on-screen-credit for directing the motion picture. Fleming started out as a cinematographer in 1915 and directed his first motion picture in 1919. In 1934, he directed Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "Treasure Island", in 1937, it was Freddie Bartholomew, Spencer Tracy and Lionel Barrymore in "Captain Courageous", in 1939, Fleming directed Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz". He did receive the on-screen directing credit for 1939's, "Gone with the Wind", but he was actually one of four directors on the motion picture. The others where the original director George Cukor, who was fired, Sam Wood, who took over for Fleming, while he recovered from exhaustion, and cinematographer William Cameron Menzies, who filmed the burning of Atlanta and the tracking shot of "Scarlett O'Hara" walking amount the Confederate dead and dying at the train station.
Clark Gable portrayed "Dennis Carson". Gable had just co-starred with Norma Shearer in the 1932, motion picture version of playwright Eugene O'Neil's, "Strange Interlude". He would follow this picture co-starring with future wife, Carole Lombard, in 1932's, "No Man of Her Own".
Jean Harlow portrayed "Vantine Jefferson". Harlow had just appeared with Chester Morris in 1932's, "Red-Headed Woman" and would follow this picture with another film co-starring Clark Gable, 1933's, "Hold Your Man".
According to which story you choose, Jean Harlow was either totally nude in the barrel, or just topless. After the scene was shot, she was supposed to have stood up and been filmed saying:
Here's one for the boys in the lab!
Gene Raymond portrayed "Gary Willis". This was Raymond's fifth on-screen appearance and he followed "Red Dust", co-starring with Loretta Young in 1933's, "Zoo in Budapest".
Mary Astor portrayed "Barbara Willis", and had just been seen in a 1932, drama, "Those We Love".
The basic plot has the owner of a rubber plantation, "Dennis", in French Indochina, becoming involved with the wife of one of his new employees. Arriving first at the plantation is the free spirit "Vantine" and the two start a pre-motion picture code romance, but shortly thereafter, "Barbara" arrives with her husband. Things start to change as "Barbara" moves into an affair with "Dennis", observed by "Vantine", but seemingly unnoticed by her husband who seems more interested in his work than his wife.
William Powell portrayed Van Dine''s detective, "Philo Vance". Powell was two films away from 1934's, "Manhattan Melodrama", co-starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy. The movie is only remembered because it was playing at the movie theater gangster John Dillinger was at, when he stepped out after it ended to be gunned downed by the FBI, who had been tipped off by the infamous "Lady in Red". Powell's next motion picture teamed him once more with Myrna Loy and was 1934's, "The Thin Man".
Mary Astor's role was the motivation for the killer, who was angry over the victim not helping him in his courtship of "Hilda Lake".
Back in 1927, British writer Edgar Wallace wrote a play entitled "The Terror", in 1928, Warner Brothers made a motion picture version, and now used it as the basis for the studio's latest mystery.
RETURN OF THE TERROR released on July 7, 1934
Mary Astor portrayed "Olga Morgan". She had just been in the forgotten crime drama musical, 1934's, "Upperworld", co-starring with Warren Williams and Ginger Rodgers.
Lyle Talbot portrayed "Dr. Leonard Goodman". Talbot was a solid "B" actor, among his early films was 1932's, "20,000 Years in Sing Sing", but it would be 1950's television that would make him a supporting actor star. He had multiple roles on series such as, 1950's, "Dick Tracy", 1952's, "Dangerous Assignment", 1953's, "The Gene Autry Show", 1952's to 1953's, "The Range Rider", 1950 to 1954's, "The Cisco Kid", 1952 to 1954's, "The Adventures of Kit Carson", and others.
The somewhat haunted house story, it takes place in an inn, think the classic "The Cat and the Canary", is about "Dr Redmayne", played by John Halliday. "Redmayne" has been accused of a series of poison murders, fakes insanity at his trial, escapes the asylum, and ends up at the Inn with a group of people, one of which is "The Terror", the real murderer.
THE MAN WITH TWO FACES released on August 4, 1934
Edward G, Robinson portrayed the dual roles of "Damon Welles" and "Jules Chautard". Robinson was just in the 1934, drama, "Dark Hazard", and would follow this picture with the, 1935, comedy crime drama, "The Whole Town's Talking".
Her brother, "Damon Welles", an actor like his sister, now creates an elaborate plan to free his sister by becoming French theatrical producer, "Jules Chautard", but the plan will lead to murder.
Warren Williams portrayed Erle Stanley Gardner's, "Perry Mason". 1934 was an interesting year for Williams, he had just portrayed "Philo Vance" in "The Dragon Murder Case" and would become "Julius Cesar" in director Cecil B. DeMille's, "Cleopatra", starring Claudette Corbert.
Mary Astor portrayed "Bessie Foley". She would follow this film in the role of "Odette Mauclair", in a mystery set on the "Orient Express", 1934's, "I Am a Thief".
Allen Jenkins portrayed "Police Sergeant Holcomb". Musical comedy character actor Jenkins had just been in the comedy romance, 1934's, "The Merry Frinks" and followed this feature with the Dick Powell musical comedy, 1934's, "Happiness Ahead".
Helen Trenholme portrayed "Della Street". The Canadian actress appeared on-screen only one other time, just before this picture in 1934's, "The Firebird".
Above, Helen Trenholme and Warren Williams.
Unlike the dog in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" that did nothing during the night. This dog's apparent barking is the initial cause of "Perry Mason" becoming involved with a double murder and his client, "Bessie Foley" on trial for them. The movies a lot better than this sounds and the Gardner ending with a twist is surprising.
Above, Helen Trenholme, Mary Astor and Warren Williams.
DODSWORTH released on September 23, 1936
Samuel Goldwyn may have been the film's producer and yes, it was based upon the 1929 novel by Sinclair Lewis and also the 1934 play by Sidney Howard who wrote the screenplay, but buried in the small print was the name of the Academy Award nominated director, William Wyler.
Walter Huston portrayed "Sam Dodsworth". Huston had just portrayed British adventurer "Cecil Rhodes", in 1936's, "Rhodes" and would follow this picture with, 1938's, "Of Human Hearts", co-starring James Stewart and Gene Raymond.
Ruth Chatterton portrayed "Fran Dodsworth". She had just co-starred with Herbert Marshall and a young Simone Simon in 1936's, "Girls' Dormitory", and followed this picture with the 1937, crime drama, "The Rat".
Paul Lukas portrayed "Arnold Iselin". Lukas had portrayed "Athos", in 1935's, "The Three Musketeers", co-starring with Walter Abel as "d'Artagnan", and followed this feature with 1936's, "Ladies in Love", starring Janet Gaynor, Loretta Young and Constance Bennett. Fans of Walt Disney's 1954 version of Jules Verne's, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", know Paul Lukas as "Professor Aronnax".
Mary Astor portrayed "Edith Cortright". Astor had just been in the 1936 comedy crime drama, "Trapped in Television", co-starring, again, with Lyle Talbot. She followed this movie with 1936's, "Lady from Nowhere".
The Sinclair Lewis story is about a marriage in crisis, as recently retired automobile magnate "Samuel Dodsworth" and his wife "Fran" take a European vacation. Only to discover what they want from life is actually different from their lives to this point and what happens as the two-face the reality of their marriage.
THE HURRICANE released on November 9, 1937
Dudley Nichols' screenplay was based upon the novel by Charles Nordoff and John Norman Hall, better known for another novel, "Mutiny on the Bounty".
Jon Hall portrayed "Terangi". Hall was the nephew of writer John Norman Hall and had used the acting name of Lloyd Crane for his role in the 1937, "The Girl from Scotland Yard", just prior to this film. He would follow this picture with the 1940's comedy, "Sailor's Lady", co-starring with Nancy Kelly and comedian Joan Davis.
Raymond Massey portrayed "Govenor Eugene DeLaarge". Massey had just been seen in "The Prisoner of Zenda" and would follow this picture with the Korda Brothers "Drum".
Above, Raymond Massey, Mary Astor and Jerome Cowan as "Captain Nagle". Below, Thomas Mitchell, Jon Hall and Mary Astor.
The story is about a Polynesian sailor, "Terangi", returning to his island after servicing time in a prison for the crime of defending himself against a colonial bully. At home, he is persecuted by the colonial governor, "Eugene DeLaage" and falls in love with and marries "Marama". All the subplots come together in the climatic, "Hurricane", and the question of who will survive will be answered?
BRIGHAM YOUNG aka: BRIGHAM YOUNG, FRONTIERSMAN released on September 27, 1940
The motion picture was directed by Henry Hathaway and followed the director's 1940, "Johnny Apollo", starring Tyrone Power, Dorothy Lamour and Edward Arnold. This picture would be followed by Hathaway's first motion picture with John Wayne, 1941's, "The Shepherd of the Hills".
The studio bet upon star power and lost to a boring, non-factual love story that became a major financial loss for "20th Century Fox".
Linda Darnell portrayed "Zina Webb". She had just been seen in her third on-screen appearance with, 1940's, "Star Dust", co-starring John Payne. Darnell would also follow this picture with 1941's, "The Mark of Zorro".
Dean Jagger portrayed "Brigham Young". The actor proceeded this picture with an uncredited role in 1938's, "Having a Wonderful Time", that starred Ginger Rodgers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. While following this feature with director Fritz Lang's, 1941, "Western Union".
Brian Donlevy portrayed "Angus Duncan". Donlevy was just in 1940's, "When the Daltons Rode" and followed this feature with 1941's, "I Wanted Wings".
Jane Darwell portrayed "Eliza Kent". The actress was last seen in 1940's, "Untamed" and followed this movie with "Chad Hanna", starring Henry Fonda, Dorothy Lamour and Linda Darnell.
The screenplay supposedly follows the journey of "Brigham Young" and his followers from first Illinois to Nebraska and then to Utah. However, the screenplay concentrates on just two characters, "Jonathan Kent" and "Zina Webb" in a love story. Which wasn't what the viewing audience thought they were going to see.
The following are images of Mary Astor in the motion picture.
Bette Davis portrays "Maggie Patterson". Davis was just in director William Wyler's, 1940, "The Letter", and would follow this motion picture with, 1941's, "The Bride Came C.O.D.".
Concert pianist "Sandra Kovak" and her husband aviator "Peter Van Allen" discover their marriage is invalid, because his divorce never was granted. So, he leaves her to marry his previously love, "Maggie Patterson", but two things now take place. First, "Peter's" airplane goes missing and it is believed he died in a plane crash. Second, "Sandra" discovers she pregnant with his child.
"Maggie" and "Sandra" meet, and the former suggests that she could raise the financially broke "Sandra's" baby as her own and would take care of "Sandra's" other finances from then on. An agreement is made, the two go to Arizona to await the birth, "Sandra" gives birth, and then two more events take place. First, "Peter" returns alive, and second, "Maggie" refuses to give up "Sandra's" baby, or acknowledge the baby isn't her own from "Peter".
This version of Hammett's novel was both directed and written by John Huston. As a writer, Huston had just written the screenplay for the Gary Cooper, 1941, "Sergeant York". As a director, this was John Huston's first motion picture. For those interested in Huston's directing career, my article on four of his more unusual entries, "JOHN HUSTON: 'Moby Dick' 1956, 'The Barbarian and the Geisha' 1958, 'Freud: The Secret Passion', 1962, and 'The List of Adrian Messenger', 1963", can be found at:
Mary Astor portrayed "Ruth Wonderly aka: Brigid O'Shaughnessy". Astor would follow this film was a romantic comedy, 1942's, "The Palm Beach Story", starring Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea.
Gladys George portrayed "Iva Archer". George starred with Barton MacLane in 1941's, "Hit the Road", and followed this picture with 1943's, "The Hard Way", starring Ida Lupino, Dennis Morgan and Joan Leslie.
Peter Lorre portrayed "Joel Cairo". Lorre had just been in 1941's, "They Met in Bombay", starring Clark Gable and Rosalind Russell. He followed this picture with 1942's, "All Through the Night".
My article, "PETER LORRE: Overlooked, or Forgotten Performances", is at:
Barton MacLane portrayed "Lieutenant of Detectives Dundy". MacLane is recognizable as normally the bad guy of the story and had just been in 1941's, "Wild Geese Calling", starring Henry Fonda and Joan Bennett. He followed this picture with 1942's, "All Through the Night".
Above with Barton MacLane is Ward Bond as "Detective Tom Polhaus".
Lee Patrick portrayed "Effie Perine". Patrick was in the comedy mystery, 1941's, "The Smiling Ghost", starring Wayne Morris, Brenda Marshall and Alexis Smith. She next appeared in the John Garfield, Nancy Coleman and Raymond Massey, 1941, "Dangerously They Live".
Sydney Greenstreet portrayed "Kasper Gutman". Greenstreet only appeared on-screen 24 times, between 1941 and 1949. This was his first of those 24 appearances and he followed it with the Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, 1941, "They Died with Their Boots On".
Above, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor, and Sidney Greenstreet, and in the background is character actor Elisha Cook, Jr. as "Wilmer Cook".
Look on the verified as complete cast listing, on "IMDb" or other sites, for the following actress playing the "Bookstore Clerk". You won't find Dorothy Malone's name, but you will find an uncredited William Hopper as a "Reporter", and John Huston's father, Walter, as "Detective Captain Jacoby".
The next morning, "Sam Spade" receives a phone call, "Miles" has been murdered and suddenly "Spade" finds himself mixed up with "Brigid O'Shaughnessy", the real name of "Ruth Wonderly", "Joel Cairo", and "The Fat Man, Kasper Gutman", all looking for the jeweled "Maltese Falcon" of the movie's title.
For more details on the movie, see my about mentioned article.
The motion picture was initially directed by John Huston, but the Second World War would somewhat change that.
Stepping in on April 22, 1942, would be uncredited director Vincent Sherman. He had directed Bogart's 1939, "The Return of Doctor X", and 1942's, "All Through the Night".
The original destination in the screenplay was "Yokohama, Japan" through the "Panama Canal", from Nova Scotia, via "Hawaii". The screenplay had to be rewritten, because of the attack, and the destination wasn't "Across the Pacific", but only to Panama.
Vincent Sherman was faced with the problem that John Huston had deliberately left the film with Humphrey Bogart's "Rick Leland" in a cliff-hanger situation. Further, Huston took the screenplay with him, but said that Bogart will figure out how to get out of the situation his character found himself.
Warner Brothers solution was to remove all of John Huston's filmed footage related to the ending, rewrite the screenplay to change the final destination and reshoot, but John Huston would remain as the credited director.
The studio also had to fire any Japanese actors or crew, because of FDR's executive order to round-up and intern Japanese Americans. Korean and Chinese American actors such as, Victor Sun Yung, Keye Luke, and Richard Loo, portrayed the Japanese.
Above, Bogart's "Army Captain Rick Leland" is being told he will be court-martialed for stealing.
Mary Astor portrayed "Alberta Marlow". Astor had just been seen in the previously mentioned, 1942, "The Palm Beach Story". She would follow this picture with the 1943 comedy, "Young Ideas", opposite Herbert Marshall.
Above, Keye Luke, Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor.
Sydney Greenstreet portrayed "Dr. H.F.G. Lorenz". Greenstreet would bookend this movie with 1941's, "They Died with Their Boots On", and 1942's, "Casablanca".
Above, Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet.
The screenplay now starts on November 17, 1941, and puts dishonorably discharged "Rick Leland", Canadian "Alberta Marlow" and enemy agent "Dr. Lorenz" on the Japanese ship Genora Maru sailing from Halifax. When the ship reaches New York City for a layover, it is revealed that "Leland" is actually Army Intelligence assigned to get information about "Lorenz's" contacts and his plans. Which turn out to be blowing up the locks of the "Panama Canal". As a side assignment, he is to determine if "Marlow" is also a spy and for whom?
Based upon the novel by Sally Benson with a screenplay by Irving Brecher and Fred F. Finklehoffe.
Judy Garland portrayed "Esther Smith". Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland had just been seen in 1943's, "Girl Crazy", and this musical would be followed by her Second World War love story, 1945's, "The Clock", co-starring Robert Walker.
CLAUDIA AND DAVID released on February 25, 1946
The basic story added parenthood to the ups and downs of "Claudia" and "David's" relationship, but also jealousy caused by one of "David's" building projects clients, "Elizabeth Van Doren". Otherwise, as McGuire feared, this was nothing more than a reworking of the first movie, but also as successful at the box office.
"Fiesta" illustrated what point Mary Astor's motion picture career was at by 1947, with character actor Akim Tamiroff, singer and dancer Cyd Charisse, actor John Carroll, and Spanish actor Fortunio Bonanova, billed before her.
Above, Mary Astor with Fortunio Bonanova as her husband, "Antonio Morales". Below, Astor, Tamiroff, and Bonanova.
CYNTHIA released August 29, 1947
George Murphy portrayed "Larry Bishop". The future Senator from California had just been seen in 1947's, "The Arnelo Affair" and followed this film with third billing after Margaret O'Brien and Angela Lansbury in 1948's, "Tenth Avenue Angel".
The screenplay starts with High School baseball player "Larry Bishop" attempting to impress "Louise" and then follows the two into marriage, the birth of their daughter "Cynthia", and the problems caused by their daughter's chronic health problems on the family's ability to stay financially secure.
LITTLE WOMEN released on March 10, 1949
June Allyson portrayed "Jo March". Allyson had appeared as "Constance", in MGM's all-star 1948 version of Alexander Dumas' "The Three Musketeers". She would follow this picture with 1949's, "The Stratton Story", her first of many appearances with James Stewart.
Peter Lawford portrayed "Theodore 'Laurie' Lawrence". He had just co-starred with Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon in 1948's, "Julia Misbehaves", and would next appear with Walter Pidgeon, Ethel Barrymore, Angels Lansbury and Janet Leigh, in 1949's, "The Red Danube".
Mary Astor portrayed the sister's mother, "Margret 'Marmee' March". Astor would follow this picture with sixth billing in 1949's, "Any Number Can Play", starring Clark Gable and Alexis Smith.
On July 4, 1951, Mary Astor moved, like many of her contemporaries, to the fast-growing new medium of television. Although, television broadcasts went back to the 1930's, see Astor's own previously mentioned, 1936, "Trapped by Television".
Technically, on December 2, 1953, Mary Astor did appear on-screen in a movie, "Yesterday and Today", looking at the silent film era and some of her work was incorporated.
After the "Kraft Theatre" appearance, Mary Astor appeared three more times on 1954 television, with the second of the three being on the live anthology series, "The Best of Broadway". That December 8, 1954, production was "The Philadelphia Story" and her co-stars were Richard Carlson and Dick Foran.
Between January 13, 1955, with "The Hickory Limb", on televisions "Ponds Theater", and October 4, 1957, with the car racing motion picture "The Devil's Hairpin", starring Cornel Wilde and his wife, at the time, Jean Wallace, Mary Astor only appeared in two other feature films. These were, "A Kiss Before Dying", starring Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, and Virginia Leith, that premiered in London, England, on April 20, 1956, and on September 26, 1956, "The Power and the Prize", starring Robert Taylor and Elisabeth Mueller.
Mary Astor continued to appear on television, twice she was on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", she appeared in an episode of the Western series, "Rawhide", two episodes of the medical series, "Dr. Kildare", and an episode of its rival, "Ben Casey".
On May 5, 1961, Mary Astor was seen with fourth billing as "Mrs. Roberta Carter", in the motion picture, "Return to Peyton Place", starring 19-years-old actress Carol Lynley, Jeff Chandler, and Eleanor Parker. Below, Mary Astor in the motion picture.
YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE released on November 4, 1964.
HUSH....HUSH. SWEET CHARLOTTE released on December 16, 1964