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Lila Lee
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    (July 25, 1901-November 13, 1973)
    Born in Union Hill, New Jersey
    Birth name was Augusta Wilhemena Fredicka Appel
    Raised in New York City
    Acted in ‘The Cruise of the Make-Believes’ (1918), ‘Male and Female’ (1919), ‘Crazy to Marry’ (1921), ‘Blood and Sand’ (1922), ‘Another Man’s Wife’ (1924), ‘Love, Live and Laugh’ (1929), ‘The Unholy Three’ (1930) and ‘Cottonpickin’ Chickenpickers’ (1967)
    Her childhood stage name was ‘Cuddles.’
    She said she became a child star on Broadway even though she couldn’t recite, dance, or sing and had a heavy lisp.
    She was heavily promoted by Paramount to replace Mary Pickford who had become demanding.
    She was rumored to be an alcoholic.
    All three of her marriages ended in divorce.
    When playboy Reid Russell killed himself, she persuaded his mother to burn his suicide note (1936).
    She won wide acclaim after her very first film, ‘The Cruise of the Make-Believes.’
    At a time when most ingénues had blonde ringlets, her straight black hair made her stand out.
    Her studio renamed her ‘Lila Lee’ without her approval.
    Her film career in the 1930s was stalled by her tuberculosis.
    She witnessed Russell’s suicide.
    In later years she spoke highly of her film colleagues.
    Her son, James Kirkwood Jr., wrote the hit Broadway musical ‘A Chorus Line.’

Credit: Georgina

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