Clipped From The Salina Journal

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 - 'Maltese Falcon' starAstor dies at 81 By BOB...
'Maltese Falcon' starAstor dies at 81 By BOB THOMAS Associated Press Writer LOS ANGELES — Mary Astor, who survived a steamy Hollywood scandal and went on to play the treacherous temptress Brigid O'Shaughnessy in "The Maltese Falcon" and star in dozens of other films, died Friday. She was 81. She died of respiratory failure due to pulmonary emphysema, said Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital spokeswoman Jean Ferris. The actress had been a longtime resident of the actors' retirement complex. Astor made her screen debut in the silent era at age 14, and was almost a casualty of .the transition to talkies. She also fell victim to drink and drugs. But both times she found the strength to make a new start. "People like that don't grow old in spirit. She was always like a young woman; she laughed like a girl," recalled actor-director Jose Ferrer, who appeared with Astor in one of her last films, 1961's "Return To Peyton Place." Astor's films included "Dodsworth" with Walter Huston; "Prisoner of Zenda" with Ronald Coleman; and "The Great Ue," with Bette Davis, which won her a supporting actress Oscar. But she was best known as the scheming adventuress who killed Sam Spade's partner amid intrigue over the treasure of "The Maltese Falcon." The 1941 John Huston film, co-starring Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Loire, became a classic. ' 'You're good—you're very good,'' Bogart, as Spade, tells O'Shaughnessy. He falls for her, but won't "play the sap" to keep her out of prison: "The chances are you'll get off with life. That means if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you." Astor was born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke in Quincy, HI., on May 3, 1906, an only child. Her father, a German immigrant who worked as a poultry farmer, window decorator and teacher, was quick to realize the money-making potential of his beautiful daughter. He moved the family to Chicago, where Lucile took drama lessons, and then to New York and Hollywood. She got a contract and a new name in 1920. The first of her more than 100 films was "Sentimental Tommy," but her part was cut. Her second film, a one- reeler called "Bullets or Ballots," was never released. Mary Astor stars with Humphrey Bogart in the 1941 classic film, "The Maltese Falcon." Critical recognition came with the third film, a two-reeler called "The Beggar Maid." John Barrymore then spotted a picture of the pretty teen-ager in a magazine and cast her opposite him in "Beau Brummel." But a series of generally unmemorable films followed. As the industry made the transition to sound in 1929, Astor found herself out of work for 10 months. "I was fired," she recalled later. "I was a silent actress and I had made a bad sound test. So I decided I had better get some stage training. I did a play with Edward Everett Horton and in five weeks I was back in pictures." While her career picked up, her private life was rocky. Director Kenneth Hawks, whom she married in 1928, died in an airplane crash in 1931. Her parents sued her for nonsupport in 1934. In 1935, her second husband, gynecologist Franklyn Thorpe, di- vorced her and was granted custody of their daughter, Marilyn. Astor sued the following year to gain custody, and scandal broke. Astor eventually was awarded custody of the child for nine months of every year. Contrary to what might have been expected, the custody fight boosted her career. "A woman fighting for her child? This is good!" said Sam Goldwyn, and her best films followed. At the same time, she was drinking more and more. In 1949, Astor was placed in sanitarium for alcoholics. She credited her recovery to the Rev. Peter Ciklic, a priest- psychologist based at Loyola University. LOST OUR LEASE ONLY MOVING TO Many

Clipped from
  1. The Salina Journal,
  2. 26 Sep 1987, Sat,
  3. Page 8

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