Olive's Brief Flame

Her name was Olive Borden.
Her life began in 1906 and her flame was extinguished
at the age of 41 in 1947.
(Get out your hankie , 'cause this is a True Tearjerker!)

Her story was a Hollywood classic:
- beautiful young girl longs for fame and fortune

- gets a big break and is swept off her feet by
by her leading man, George O'Brien,
( dressed in little more than a few Fig Leaves)

- is betrayed by the leading man

- attempts to pull herself together, but suffers more betrayal and bad luck

Considered one of tinsel towns' most beautiful silent film stars , her
success was a meteoric rise which began in 1926 and had faded by
1930 ... . when she was only 24. Those few years must have been
quite a heady roller coaster ride for this flapper known to be quite
the party girl.

After failed contract negotiations with her studio, she moved to
New York and faced yet more challenges. Several unsuccessful plays
landed her in vaudeville , then into the arms of a stockbroker - in 1931.
Lousy time to find a stockbroker!

She marries the stockbroker .. .
then discovers he is still married to someone else. ( !!! )
He's charged with bigamy and she's on her own again.

Our beautiful Olive filed for bankruptcy in 1941 and found work during
WWII driving an ambulance .. . . . for $12.50 a week.

Olive's story must surely be one of Hollywood's great tragedies.
After her initial big break, her life became a series of big mistakes
and bad luck. Her last stop was the Sunshine Mission for Destitute
Women , on skid row in Los Angeles.

The glamorous photos belie the truth behind Olive's sad life ... ..
perhaps a reminder to look beyond the surface to
find what's real.

Read more about Olive HERE and HERE.
See more about Olives' movies HERE.
Olive has an excellent website, very thoughtfully
put together by a fan, who identifies herself only
as Elizabeth.
Altered Vintage photos of Olive - copyright Judith Thibaut


Ingrid Mida said...

That is a sad story. Poor Olive. Behind the glitter and the glamour, I'll bet there are lots of sad stories in Hollywood.

vicki archer said...

Judith ...this is indeed a heartbreaker. Olive was a tragic figure but when she was shining she really was. xv

studioJudith said...

So so sad, indeed.

I've been very conflicted about how to present her story .. . . but, when one puts on the Sherlock Holmes Cap and starts the investigation, a fairy tale ending isn't assured.

I do find her story relevant to our current times ; so much that was so glittering has tarnished under closer inspection.

Many lessons about what's truly important and truly valuable.

Kitty Shepherd said...

This is a story and a half and you have put it together so well. Wasn't she a beauty and I have read your link on her too now! The bit about ending up in Sunshine Mission, a home for destitute women is so sad.
I'm going to have to have another jam jar of martini!

Lia said...

We never know how things will turn out. Riding high one day, crashing the next. Nothing is for sure or forever. Right?

Di Overton said...

Ah, bless her. Nowadays she would just go on the X List and appear on Celebrity Big Brother or some such thing.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I hate being wrong LOL LOL LOL.

Good good story. Needs to be a biopic! From stardom to skid row ... it would be a funny cliché if it weren't so tragic.


Dear Judith,
Thank you for your kind words, I'm very touched.
How interesting and singular your world is, I'll be sure to visit often.
Cheers, Ivan

JM said...

Thanks for the story! I've never heard of her but she looked great on the photos.

Anonymous said...

One can only wonder how many "Olives" there are out there as we speak. One wonders if Actor's Studio shows stories like Olive's as part of their course program to aspiring actors?

Great story J...

little augury said...

The images you created of Olive's life are terrific. A lovely post-I wonder how many similar stories of that era are out there. The glamour and all the reality that set in afterward.GT

Elizabeth Ann said...

Thank you for dedicating a section of your blog to the lovely and talented Olive Borden. Her story was one of Hollywood's most tragic tales. I am one of her biggest fans and I created her web site OliveBorden.com. I'm glad that more people are finally discovering her story. Watch some of her films and I you will see why she was so special :-)

studioJudith said...

Elizabeth .. .
I'm so pleased you stopped by.
Your wonderful website was so touching - I just had to share Olives' story.
I 'll definitely try and find some of her films .