Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Happy Birthday Anita Page (1910-2008)
In 1929 Anita received over 10,000 fan letters a week, second only to Greta Garbo. Over one hundred of these were from an ardent Italian admirer, who wrote obsessively about her every move and asked for her hand in marriage several times - Benito Mussolini!.
Received a standing ovation before a full house while attending a screening of 1929 Best Picture Winner The Broadway Melody (1929) on May 13, 2002 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 75th anniversary.
Vivid, petite blonde silent screen star best known for her lively flappers and ambitious starlets.
She was paired up with Joan Crawford in three popular films: Our Dancing Daughters (1928), Our Modern Maidens (1929) and Our Blushing Brides (1930). She also appeared opposite Buster Keaton in two of his lesser-known talkies: Free and Easy (1930) and Sidewalks of New York (1931).
Retired for 60 years before coming back to films as an 80-year-old lady.
Fell in love with Coronado, California and lived there for more than 40 years with her husband. She first was attracted to the city in 1929 when she was filming The Flying Fleet (1929) at the Hotel del Coronado. She subsequently moved to the Los Angeles area.
Ramon Novarro was her favorite co-star because he was so nice to her.
Marion Davies was one of her best friends. She stayed with her for five months after her first marriage broke up.
Eloped with her first husband to Tijuana. They never lived together (Page said they needed to be married in the Catholic Church before she would live with him and this never happened). After nine months of marriage, she found out he was still married to his previous wife when he married Page, so she had their marriage annulled.
She portrayed Clark Gable's first on screen love interest in The Easiest Way (1931).
Her escort to her 21st birthday party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was Robert Young.
Her daughter Linda is an artist who runs an escort service. She checks in on her mother daily.
Her mother, Helen "Maude", was her secretary. Her father, John, was her chauffeur. Her brother, Marino, was her gym instructor.
In an interview in 2004, she revealed that her early retirement had been due to her refusal to give in to Irving Thalberg's (he was married to Norma Shearer at the time) and Louis B. Mayer's sexual advances.
She had two daughters, Linda and Sandra House. Sandra predeceased her.
After sixty years of retirement, Ms. Page returned to acting in such films as Witchcraft XI: Sisters in Blood (2000) (V) and The Crawling Brain (2002) (V).
Was the last living attendee of the very first Academy Awards in 1929.
Attended Washington Irving High School in New York.
Her father had an electrical contracting business in Murray Hill, Flushing. He helped Anita get into pictures because he had done some lighting work for a studio in Astoria and knew somebody who promised to do what he could for Anita. The first screen name she used briefly was Anita Rivers.
Miss Page was a good friend and worked with Producer/Director Thomas R. Bond II in his film Bob's Night Out (2004) one of the last films Page appeared in. Bond says that directing Anita Page was, and always will be the highlight of his directing career.
Outré film actor Randal Malone brought her out of a 60-year retirement while becoming her good friend and caretaker in her final years.
William Haines proposed to her while they were working together on Are You Listening? (1932). Haines, a homosexual, was under pressure from studio chief Louis B. Mayer to marry and Page, who considered him to be more of an older brother figure, gave his proposition serious consideration before declining. They remained friends.
Her list of films include Our Dancing Daughters (1928), The Broadway Melody (1929), Our Modern Maidens (1929), Our Blushing Brides (1930), and Sidewalks of New York (1931).