July 8, 1935
Fox Publicity Department
It is hardly fair to ask me to look back into my past because it makes me sound terribly old. I have not been in motion pictures very long but considering my age I guess I have done a lot.
My early life in New York City, where I was born, was not unlike that of other New York girls. In the summer we went swimming, in the winter we went skating and sleigh-riding. We had our fun at Coney Island and at Central Park.
I enjoyed my school in the Bronx. History appealed to me mostly and while the teacher was relating incidents of the past I would vision myself as one of the characters of bygone days. It was fun to dream and ponder on a famous personage of another age. I played a game of “remembering.” I would jot down all of the things I would have done if I were Cleopatra, or Salome or Catherine the Great, and then I would compare the history of that time with my notes. Often the guess on my part would be accurate. Most of the time I gave the woman of history too sweet a part.
Dancing was my chief interest outside of school. My mother permitted me to attend a dancing school and I can truthfully say that I danced at least five hours a day.
A storm on a lake almost ended my dancing career. I happened in upper New York State one summer.
My Uncle’s house was on a bluff. Below was the beach and the lake. About 30 families from New York City, all friends or my family. In the summer it was beautiful. The hottest day was always followed by cool nights. The streams running into the lake were filled with trout and game was plentiful in that section. It was ideal.
I was in a row boat with my brother Bill. We were going to row to the opposite side of the lake to pick blackberries. We were about a half a mile off shore when the whitecaps began to show and the wind grew stronger. The spray flew all over the side and I became very frightened. I told my brother we had better had for the beach.
So he turned the boat around and rowed frantically for the shore. The wind was so strong that we fairly flew along even though we had no sail.
We rode the waves and shot down into the hollows between the breaking white foaming swirls. I hung to the seat of the tossing boat waiting for the next wave to turn us over.
We hit a rock about 200 feet off shore and the boat overturned. Bill dragged me to the bottom of the upturned boat and there we hung on for dear life. My brother held me with one hand as the waves washed over both of us.
Friends on shore saw our plight and launched a boat with some difficulty and succeeded in reaching us just as my strength gave out. In a few minutes all would have been over but when Bill said that a boat was coming it helped to keep my courage.
The boat reached us and when we were dragged aboard I was too weak to stand or to talk. It was too thrilling an experience to have more than once in a life time. Most people would be afraid of the water after such an experience but I love all water sports.
So, looking backward that experience will remain with me for a long time.
The summer after the boat mishap found me playing each week in club plays, school shows, at picnics and every place where they had an audience for me. It was this training that gave me a start for my work on the stage and screen. Later I worked in a Chester Hale stage unit and saw, what I thought, was the rest of the world outside of New York City when we played the New England states.
My dancing and singing led to singing parts at various night spots on Broadway and later with George White in the “Scandals.” George gave me a chance to dance and then Rudy Vallee, who had a feature spot in the “Scandals” allowed me to sing from the stage with his band.
Thanks to Mr. White I was given a featured spot in the first Fox Film version of the “Scandals” and other pictures followed that one.
I think that my love for dancing when I was quite young gave mea start in the motion picture business and I still think that luck had a great deal to do with what little success I have had on the screen.
It is my hope to be able to make enough money to travel all over the world. My mother loves to travel and I think that we will just take a boat some day and start out with no particular destination in view. Maybe for a year, maybe two, but I have set my mind on it and blondes are funny that way when they set out to do something.