Diana Barrymore

Following on from yesterday’s post about Ethel Barrymore, here’s an ad from the October 23 1946 Toronto Daily Star featuring Ethel’s niece, Diana Barrymore:


Diana Barrymore (1921-1960) had a hard life, despite being born into privilege as a member of the famous Barrymore family of actors. Her parents separated bitterly when she was four, and she was raised by nannies and sent to boarding schools. Not surprisingly, she developed substance abuse problems, which affected her career, and married addicted and sometimes abusive men. The autopsy at her death failed to find the cause.


Ethel Barrymore

By random chance, I have found two articles in Toronto newspapers with news about actress Ethel Barrymore. The articles are over two decades apart!

The first is from the July 6 1923 Toronto Globe:


The second is from the December 12 1944 Toronto Daily Star, reporting that she had successfully fought off influenza:


Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959) was a member of the Barrymore family of actors; she is the grand-aunt of actress Drew Barrymore. While in England as a young woman, she met Winston Churchill; he is rumored to have proposed to her. After her divorce from Russell Colt in 1923, as described above, she never married again.


King Carol and Magda

The December 31 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included this photo of King Carol of Rumania and his mistress, Magda Lupescu:


I was curious: were they actually married at the time? Wikipedia says no: they didn’t finally marry until 1947, long after King Carol had given up his throne in 1940. (Giving up his throne was not a new thing for him: he had renounced the throne in 1925 as a result of the scandal surrounding his affair with Ms. Lupescu, only to be restored to it in 1930 when the National Peasant Party achieved power.)

Marie of Rumania, Carol’s mother, at least once appeared in the Toronto Daily Star as a newspaper columnist.


1934 photo parade

Many of the Toronto Daily Stars from the 1930s reserved one page for all their photographs, since they were harder to reproduce than they are today.

The April 18 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star’s photo page included a picture of the Duchess of Northumberland and her daughters:


There are Wikipedia pages for Helen Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland, and her daughter Elizabeth. They didn’t do anything really exciting to write about, but they looked a lot alike.

There was also a picture of Roberta Semple Smythe, the daughter of famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson:


Ms. Smythe married her husband in 1931 when she was 21, and was divorced in 1934. She was removed as the heir to her mother’s church in 1937. In later life, she worked on and created radio and TV game shows. She passed away in 2007 at the age of 96.

And here is boxer King Levinsky leaping over his manager, his sister Lena:


King Levinsky (1910-1991) fought most of the leading heavyweight contenders of the 1930s, but didn’t challenge for the title himself. At about the time of this photograph, he was briefly married to exotic dancer Roxana Sand; she asked for a divorce after only five weeks on the grounds of cruelty. His sister was noted for swearing like a sailor and rooting loudly for her brother during fights.


Madame Curie

The November 27 1937 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained ads from both Simpson’s and Eaton’s for a new book about scientist Marie Curie. The book was written by her daughter, Ève:



Careful shoppers would have noted that the book cost $4 at both stores. The stores knew a good thing when they saw one: the book became a bestseller and won the National Book Award for non-fiction.

Ève was the only member of her immediate family not to become a Nobel prize winner. Her parents, Pierre and Marie Curie, her sister, Irène Joliot-Curie, and her brother-in-law, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, all won Nobel Prizes for science. Her husband, Henry Richardson Labouisse, Jr., collected the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 on behalf of UNICEF.

Ève Curie lived a long life, passing away in 2007 at the age of 102.


Beryl Markham

The June 19 1937 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail included this photograph of British aviator Beryl Markham:


Beryl Markham (1902-1986) deserves to be thought of as famous – she was the first female pilot to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. She accomplished this on September 4, 1936, after several women had died trying.

Ms. Markham led an interesting life. Among other things:

  • She grew up in Kenya, which was then part of British East Africa, on her father’s horse racing farm. She moved back to Kenya in 1952, and became a successful horse trainer there.
  • She had an affair with Prince Henry, a son of King George V.
  • She was a friend of Karen Blixen (who, as Isak Dinesen, wrote Out Of Africa), and had an affair with Blixen’s former romantic partner, Denys Finch Hatton. She turned down a chance to fly with him on the flight that killed him.
  • She wrote a memoir, West With The Night, that was published in 1942, and that remained obscure until one of Ernest Hemingway’s letters was discovered that praised her writing.
  • An impact crater on the planet Venus has been named “Markham” in her honour.

Round the world

The February 17 1949 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad:


Kate Aitken (1891-1971) was a broadcaster and cooking expert who started her radio show on CFRB in 1934. By 1950, she was so popular that an estimated 32% of Canadians listening to the radio were listening to her show. She received 260,000 letters a year, which required 22 secretaries to handle. She wrote or contributed to more than 50 cookbooks.


Prince forgoes throne

In 1936, the King of England, Edward VIII, abandoned his throne so that he could marry the woman that he loved. It turns out that there was at least one other regal person in the 1930s who renounced his right to a throne for marriage.

The February 3 1931 Toronto Globe contained this article about Prince Lennart of Sweden, who married against his grandfather the king’s wishes:


Wikipedia mentions that Prince Lennart (1909-2004) actually became Lennart Bernadotte. His marriage to Ms. Nissvandt produced four children, before they divorced in December 1971. Four months later, Mr. Bernadotte married Sonja Haunz, and they had, in turn, five children of their own. He became part of the Luxembourg nobility in 1951, becoming the Count of Wisborg.


Famous Scotts

The November 23 1935 edition of the Toronto Globe included this reference to two famous men named Scott:


Walter Scott (1771-1832) became Sir Walter Scott in 1820. He was a poet, a historian, a playwright, and an author of books such as Ivanhoe and Rob Roy. His most famous lines of poetry are probably these:

Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!

Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947) was a Canadian poet who had a day job: he was head of the Department of Indian Affairs from 1913 to 1932. These days, we would probably look on him as an out-and-out racist: he was one of the architects of the notorious residential schools policy, and he had strongly negative opinions on indigenous customs. He is widely considered an outstanding Canadian poet, but a poll of historians in 2007 listed him as one of the Worst Canadians.


King Clancy

The November 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail included one page that had two ads featuring Toronto Maple Leaf star King Clancy.

The first ad was for a pair of skates that you could buy at Simpson’s:


The King himself was going to be at Simpson’s that day!

The second ad featured King endorsing Eno’s Fruit Salt:


I find it hard to believe that 7 out of 10 NHL players took Eno’s Fruit Salt regularly, but I do not know that for sure.

King Clancy (1902-1986) was at the end of his career when these ads came out – in fact, just about exactly at the end of his career, as he retired six games into the 1936-1937 season after a slow start. He later became an executive with the Leafs, holding that position until he passed away.

This blog has covered fruit salts a few times before – here’s the Wikipedia entry on fruit salt.