Wednesday, July 07, 2010

In Memoriam: Virginia Rappe

Despite her thin biography it's pretty obvious that Virginia Rappe - born on this day in 1891 - was a level-headed, mature young woman. She'd approached her career as an actress with determination, starting as a model at the age of 14 she later found work as a dress designer while rising steadily through the ranks; at the age of 26, she got her first big break in movies opposite Harold Lockwood in Fred Balshofer's Paradise Garden.

PhotobucketAll of which makes whatever she got up to in Room 1220 at San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel on one particular Labour Day weekend in 1921 all the more tragic; not only was the poised, vivacious starlet denied the chance to see her own life played through to the last reel, but today she is more remembered as a footnote in the story of a much bigger star, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, whose career pretty much ended at the same moment her life did.

That three subsequent trials absolved Arbuckle in the death of Rappe did not satisfy the public, nor would they have satisfied Rappe, whose last words before she died a few days after a sexual assault left her fatally injured were reportedly 'Get Roscoe'. Whether or not you believe his account, Kenneth Anger paints a pretty lurid picture of Rappe's final scene inside the St. Francis in his salacious 1959 book Hollywood Babylon.
share on: facebook

No comments: