1. Doris Eaton Travis 1904 - 2010
By age 14 Doris Eaton Travis was performing as a Ziegfeld girl and she continued to be all about the dance throughout her life. Something about dancing worked for her because she lived to be 106 years old.
2. Lillian Gish 1893 - 1993
Before she became an actress, Lillian Gish considered becoming a nun. Had she chose that path, she would not have had a long and seminal career in film. She said, “I was never young, and if you were never young, how can you ever feel old?”
3. Rita Hayworth 1918 - 1987
Born Margarita Cansino, she grew up as her father’ reluctant dancing partner in Tijuana. She was married and divorced five times, and became the first Hollywood actress who became a princess when she wed Prince Aly Khan.
4. Ava Gardner 1922 - 1990
Gardner’s career in film lasted four decades. She had relationships with noted men such as Sinatra, Hemingway and Howard Hughes that nearly overshadow her accomplished cinematic resume. “My face, shall we say, looks lived in,” she has said - lived in quite well indeed.
5. Norma Shearer 1902 - 1983
Florenz Ziegfeld once called Shearer a “dog” and turned her down for his Follies. D.W. Griffith said her eyes were “too blue” but that didn’t stop her, and a two-decade run in film was the result. Fortunately she didn’t take her own advice (“Never let them see you in public after you turn 35”) - she was lovely through the ages.
6. Hedy Lamarr 1913 - 2000
As brilliant as she was stunningly beautiful, Hedy Lamarr’s fourth cinematic credit was in 1933’s infamous “Ecstasy”, where she filmed a close-up of her face in the throes of orgasm. In contrast to that early point in her career, mathematician Lamarr and a partner went on to patent an idea for a ‘secret communication system’ that was used by military ships in 1962.
7. Dorothy Lamour 1914 - 1996
Her career spanned a whopping five decades and earned her two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - one for her work in film and another for her career as a radio star.
8. Myrna Loy 1905 - 1993
Myrna Loy may have failed a screen test for Rudolph Valentino, but she had great career success starring in six “Thin Man” movies with William Powell. She said, “Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.”
9. Louise Brooks 1906 - 1985
Her film career may have lasted a short thirteen years, but Louise Brooks packed a lot into that time and beyond. Informally blacklisted, she worked as a salesgirl, gossip columnist and radio personality. She famously said, “I have a gift for enraging people, but if I ever bore you it will be with a knife.”
10. Geraldine Chaplin 1944 -
Ms. Chaplin began her career at age 8 in “Limelight”, a film by her father, Charlie Chaplin. Much later in her career she would portray her paternal grandmother, Hannah Chaplin, in the film “Chaplin”, starring Robert Downey Jr.
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