Hollywood Remains to Be Seen

Carole Landis
1919 - 1948

Forest Lawn Glendale

Actress Carole Landis moved to California from the Midwest in 1934, and first found work as a hula dancer and a Big Band singer in San Francisco. After signing a studio contract with Warner Bros., she appeared in more than 20 films in 1937 and 1938, including "A Star is Born" with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, and "A Day at the Races" with the Marx Brothers. But Landis usually played bit parts -- cashiers, hat-check girls, secretaries and party guests.

Her big break came when director Hal Roach cast her with Victor Mature in "One Million Years B.C." (1940). She followed that with "Turnabout" (1941), co-starring with Adolph Menjou, and "I Wake Up Screaming" (1941), with Mature and Betty Grable. Landis continued to star in small films, while the best roles in the biggest films were given to the more established Hollywood stars of the day.

Landis toured extensively with the USO during World War II, helping to sell War Bonds and entertaining the troops, both in the United States and overseas. She wrote about her experiences in a best-selling book titled, "Four Jills in a Jeep," and also starred in the film version of the book, playing herself.

In the late 1940s, with her fourth marriage ending in divorce, Landis had slipped back to playing supporting roles in smaller films. She was eventually dropped by 20th Century-Fox studio, and was involved in a fairly well-publicized affair with married actor Rex Harrison. When Harrison decided to end the relationship, and with her career slumping, Landis committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills in 1948. Though only 29 when she died, Landis was a talented singer, dancer and actress who could handle both dramatic and comedic roles. She appeared in more than 50 films.

Carole Landis was born Frances Lillian Mary Ridste on Jan. 1, 1919, in Fairchild, WI. She died July 5, 1948, in Pacific Palisades, CA.

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