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Star weds cameraman

Here’s a photograph from the photo page of the November 23 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a film star about to marry a cinematographer.

Sadly, this marriage did not last – the couple divorced in 1930.

Peverell Marley (1899-1964) continued to work as a cinematographer in film and television into the early 1960s. He was nominated for Academy Awards in 1939 and 1948, and is one of six cinematographers to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He married two more times after divorcing Ms. Basquette: dancer Virginia McAdoo and actress Linda Darnell. Both of these marriages also ended in divorce.

Even so, Mr. Marley was less unlucky in love than Lina Basquette (1907-1994). Ms. Basquette, who was born Lena Baskette, was already a widow when she got married to Mr. Marley – she had married Sam Warner, one of the Warner Brothers, in 1925, and he passed away in 1927. After she and Mr. Marley divorced, she went on to marry six more times. The bridegrooms, in order:

  • Ray Hallam, an actor, who passed away from leukemia in 1931, three weeks after they married. This meant that she was a widow twice over before she turned 25.
  • Later that year, she married Theodore Hayes, who was boxer Jack Dempsey’s former trainer. She was granted a divorce in 1932 after she discovered he was still married.
  • In 1934, she and Hayes reconciled and married again. It didn’t work out, as they divorced in 1935.
  • In 1937, she married British actor Henry Mollison. They separated in 1940 and divorced in 1944.
  • In 1947, she and Warner Gilmore, the general manager of the St. Moritz Hotel, were married. They divorced in 1951.
  • Her last marriage was to actor Frank Mancuso, in 1959. They separated that year, but were never divorced.

Besides her lack of success in marriage, Ms. Basquette had other severe misfortunes. She struggled to regain custody of her daughter Lita from her marriage to Warner after surrendering her to Harry Warner and his wife. The Warners also sued her for control of Sam’s share of Warner Brothers, and effectively blacklisted her in the film industry. She attempted suicide twice, and was raped and robbed in 1943.

Ms. Basquette was apparently Adolf Hitler’s favourite movie star: she received a fan letter from him before he came to power. In 1937, she was offered a film contract in Germany, and was driven out to Berchtesgaden, where she met Hitler, Rudolf Hess, and Josef Goebbels. In her autobiography, she wrote that Hitler tried to hit on her and she kicked him in the groin.

After her film career, Ms. Basquette took up the breeding and showing of Great Danes. She became successful at it, writing several books on the subject.

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