Jeanne Eagels - July 7, 2014

Images of movie stars are everywhere throughout the American Treasure Tour, and they span the entire history of film.  Today, we are going to spend a little time with an all-but forgotten early star from the dawn of talking pictures, Jeanne Eagels.

When she died in 1929, Jeanne Eagels (her birth name was Eugenia Eagles) she had just performed in her greatest roll, as Leslie Crosbie in the film The Letter. The stage and screen star made less than ten films during a career that lasted fifteen years and she was the first actor ever nominated for a posthumous Academy Award.  She can also be considered an early tragic figure from Hollywood.  Only thirty-nine years old, Eagels likely died because of complications from either alcohol, tranquilizers, or heroin. 

QUESTION:  Jeanne Eagels did not posthumously win the 1929 Academy Award for Best Actress.  Who won the Oscar that year?

a)  Ruth Chatterton in Madame X

b)  Betty Compson in The Barker

c)  Corinne Griffith in The Divine Lady

d)  Mary Pickford in Coquette

Answer Below


The famous Ziegfield Follies had its New York City debut today in 1907.  It occurred on the roof of the New York Theater, and included choreographed performances to the most popular music of the day.  They were produced until 1931, and starred future stars including Fanny Brice, W.C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, and...Jeanne Eagels!

One of the greatest legacies of President Ronald Reagan's administration happened on this day in 1981, when he fulfilled a campaign promise to appoint the first female justice to the highest court in the land.  Sandra Day O'Connor, a prominent Arizona politician who graduated from Stanford University in 1952, where she had briefly dated future Chief Justice William Rehnquist.  O'Connor remained on the court for 24 years, before she retired to care for her ailing husband.  She was replaced by Samuel Alito. 


Born today in 1899 New York City, George Cukor would grow up to become the director of some of America's favorite movies, including Gone With the Wind (1939), although he was admittedly fired from that project, The Philadelphia Story (1940), Gaslight (1944), and My Fair Lady (1964).  He directed over sixty films from 1930 until 1981, only two years before his death.

Turning 65 today, the Houston, Texas-born actress Shelley Duvall has had an eclectic career.  Performing in numerous Robert Altman films, most memorably his Three Women (1977) and Popeye three years later, the distinctive-looking thespian also has major rolls in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining and Guy Maddin's Twilight of the Ice Nymphs.

QUOTE:  You can't have any successes unless you accept failure. - George Cukor 

ANSWER:  d)  Mary Pickford, for her roll in the movie Coquette