Linda Darnell

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Linda Darnell
Linda darnell.jpg
Birth name Monetta Eloyse Darnell
Born October 16, 1923
Dallas, Texas USA Flag of USA.png
Died Apr 10, 1965 - age 42
Glenview, Illinois

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Linda Darnell (October 16, 1923 – April 10, 1965) was an American film actress.

Born Monetta Eloyse Darnell in Dallas, Texas, and one of five children, Darnell was a model by the age of 11 and was acting in theater by the age of 13. She was chosen by a talent scout to go to Hollywood but was sent home to Dallas when the scout discovered she had lied about her age.

By 1939 Darnell had returned to Hollywood and immediately began to secure good roles, appearing in such films as Blood and Sand, Hangover Square and My Darling Clementine. She was cast uncredited as the Virgin Mary in The Song of Bernadette in 1943, in a controversial move by producer Darryl F. Zanuck

In 1947, Darnell won the starring role in the highly anticipated movie Forever Amber, based on a bestselling historical novel that was denounced as immoral at that time. The character Amber in the novel was so called because of her hair color, and this is the only major film in which Darnell — normally known for her raven hair and somewhat Latin looks — appears as a blonde. Publicity at the time compared the novel Forever Amber to Gone with the Wind, and the search for the actress to portray Amber, a beauty who uses men to make her fortune in 17th-century England, was modeled on the extensive process that led to the casting of Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara. But the film did not live up to its hype.

Darnell played two roles that earned her respect as an actress: Daphne de Carter in the Preston Sturges comedy Unfaithfully Yours (1948), opposite Rex Harrison, and one of the three wives in the comedy/drama A Letter to Three Wives (1949). Darnell's hard-edged performance in the latter won her the best reviews of her career. She was widely tipped to win an Academy Awards nomination for this part, but, when this did not happen, her career began to wane, and her film appearances were sporadic thereafter. Further hampering Darnell's career was the actress's alcoholism and weight gain.

Darnell was married to cameraman J. Peverell Marley (1943-1952), brewery heir Philip Leibmann (1954-55), and pilot Merle Roy Robertson (1957-1963). Darnell and her first husband adopted a daughter, Charlotte Mildred "Lola" Marley, the actress's only child, who is the owner of The Smoking Lamp tobacco shop in Charleston, South Carolina.

Darnell's last work as an actress was in a stage production in Atlanta in early 1965. A few weeks later she died on April 10, 1965, at age 41, from burns she received in a house fire in Glenview, Illinois. She had been staying there with friends while preparing for a stage role in the Chicago area. Her 1940 film Star Dust had played on television the night of the fire, and it was widely reported that Darnell had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette while watching it. But biographer Ronald L. Davis, in his book "Hollywood Beauty," says there was no evidence this was true or that Darnell was in any way responsible for the blaze. By his account, Darnell was burned over 80 percent of her body because she ran into a burning area trying to save her friend's child, not knowing that the young girl had already escaped. Darnell died the next day.

Her ashes are interred at the Union Hill Cemetery, Chester County, Pennsylvania, in the family plot of her son-in-law.

She has a star in Hollywood on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1631 Vine St.

Pin-up Gallery


  • Hotel for Women (1939)
  • Day-Time Wife (1939)
  • Star Dust (1940)
  • Brigham Young - Frontiersman (1940)
  • The Mark of Zorro (1940)
  • Chad Hanna (1940)
  • Meet the Stars: Hollywood Meets the Navy (1941) (short subject)
  • Blood and Sand (1941)
  • Rise and Shine (1941)
  • The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe (1942)
  • City Without Men (1943)
  • Show Business at War (1943) (short subject)
  • The Song of Bernadette (1943)
  • Buffalo Bill (1944)
  • It Happened Tomorrow (1944)
  • Summer Storm (1944)
  • Sweet and Low-Down (1944)
  • Hangover Square (1945)
  • The All-Star Bond Rally (1945) (short subject)
  • The Great John L. (1945)
  • Fallen Angel (1945)
  • Anna and the King of Siam (1946)
  • Centennial Summer (1946)
  • My Darling Clementine (1946)
  • Forever Amber (1947)
  • The Walls of Jericho (1948)
  • Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
  • A Letter to Three Wives (1949)
  • Slattery's Hurricane (1949)
  • Everybody Does It (1949)
  • No Way Out (1950)
  • Two Flags West (1950)
  • The 13th Letter (1951)
  • The Guy Who Came Back (1951)
  • The Lady Pays Off (1951)
  • Island of Desire (1952)
  • Night Without Sleep (1952)
  • Blackbeard, the Pirate (1952)
  • Angels of Darkness (1953)
  • Second Chance (1953)
  • This Is My Love (1954)
  • The Last Five Minutes (1954)
  • Dakota Incident (1956)
  • Homeward Borne (1957)
  • Zero Hour! (1957)
  • The Castilian (1963)
  • Black Spurs (1965)

External links


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