2 3 Throwback Thursday and Olive Thomas | Ballet Webb

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday and Olive Thomas

Throwback Thursday and Olive Thomas

Born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania on October 20, 1894, Oliveretta Elaine Duffy didn’t have a happy childhood. Perhaps to escape it, she married Bernard Thomas when she turned sixteen. Two years later, they divorced.

Olive moved to New York and entered a competition for the most beautiful girl in NYC. She won, and caught the attention of Florenz Ziegfeld who hired her for his famous Ziegfeld Follies. She then posed for artist Alberto Vargas, becoming one of the first “Vargas Girls”. She went on to sign a contract with Triangle Pictures. 

Her first movie was Beatrice Fairfax in 1916. Soon she married Jack Pickford, the brother of the famous Mary Pickford. She continued to act in films, and by 1920 she was at the peak of her career. That year Olive and Jack sailed to France on vacation, a second honeymoon, some said. It proved to be a fateful trip. One night Olive ingested bi-chloride of mercury from a bottle, apparently believing it to be another medication. She died five days later. Her death was ruled accidental, but due to the sometimes stormy relationship she had with her husband, some people wondered and many rumors circulated about her death.

Olive has been spotted by stagehands at the New Amsterdam Theater, wearing a green beaded dress – one of her Follies costumes. In 1991 Disney Theatricals began renovating the theater and at that time, she was sighted again, this time carrying a blue bottle.

Sightings of Olive continue to this day.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Dance History Factoid #137:
Olive Thomas was a Ziegfeld Follies performer and early film star.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“I don't think you can change anything that is going to happen to you any more than you can change anything that has happened to you. That's why I never worry, and that is why I don't think people should get conceited and think themselves better than others.”
- Olive Thomas

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