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Carole Landis

Carole Landis was an American actress of Topper Returns, Brass Monkey, A Scandal in Paris, and Moon Over Miami fame.

Biographical fast facts

Full, original or maiden name at birth: Frances Lillian Mary Ridste

Date, time and place of birth: January 1, 1919, at 6:00 a.m., Fairchild, Wisconsin, U.S.A. *

Date, place and cause of death: July 5, 1948, between 4 and 6 a.m., at 1465 Capri Drive, Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.A. (Suicide - Overdose) **

Marriage #1 and 2
Husband: Irving Wheeler (m. January 14, 1934 - February 1934) (annulled)
(remarried August 25, 1934 - June 1939) (divorced)
Their first marriage took place in Yuma, Arizona, U.S.A.

Marriage #3
Husband: Willis Hunt, Jr. (m. July 4, 1940 - November 13, 1940) (divorced)
Wedding took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

Marriage #4
Husband: Captain Thomas C. Wallace (m. January 5, 1943 - July 19, 1945) (divorced)
Wedding took place in London, England.

Marriage #5
Husband: W. Horace Schmidlapp (m. December 8, 1945 - July 5, 1948) (her death)

Family/Relatives
Siblings: Lawrence Ridste, Lewis Ridste, and Jerome Ridste (brothers)
Sister: Dorothy Ridste

Burial site: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.A.


Error corrections or clarifications

* Nearly every reference source on the planet agrees Carole Landis was born on January 1st. However, there is a source that offers a January 2nd date of birth. January 1st, 1919, at 6:00 a.m., is reportedly the date and time of birth listed on her birth certificate. The problem is, the report claiming the January 2nd date, also claims to cite her birth certificate. Thus far, we've been unable to determine whether the 2nd was a data entry mistake, or that the d.o.b. that has been reported for over half a century, is erroneous. If anyone's got a copy of Carole's birth certificate, please forward us a copy.

NOTE: While filling out forms for her employer, Warner Brothers in the 1930s, Carole lied, claiming her place of birth was "Chicago" and also lied about her year of birth. Since she was still underage, she claimed she was born January 1, 1916, which would have made her 21, if it were only true.


** Carole Landis did not die "Aug. 3, 1948" as the 1994 edition of Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia erroneously reports.

One final correction: The house where she died at 1465 Capri is not located in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, or Bel Air as a few sources report. Hollywood is about 8 miles away, Beverly Hills is about 5 miles east, and Bel Air is located 3 miles northeast. Her death occurred in an area bordering Pacific Palisades and Brentwood Heights.


Biography - Film credits

This strikingly beautiful young woman began finding bit parts in movies beginning in 1936. Her first starring role was in One Million B.C., released in 1940. Though Carole strongly disapproved, a Hal Roach publicist saddled her with the nickname "The Ping Girl" in 1940.

In 1943, Carole Landis wrote the book Four Jills and a Jeep, a humorous account of her USO adventures abroad. The following year it was made into a motion picture starring Carole, Kay Francis, Martha Raye, Phil Silvers, and Dick Haymes.

Her tireless USO work during World War II made her a favorite of GIs and Allied soldiers, as well as a very popular pinup girl. It was during her many overseas tours that her health would be severely weakened by malaria and amoebic dysentery.

Over the years, she reportedly had affairs or romances with Darryl F. Zanuck, Jacqueline Susann, Busby Berkeley, Franchot Tone, Cedric Gibbons, and Rex Harrison.

Throughout her career she lobbied hard for serious roles in quality films, but most of her roles continued to be starring roles in B movies, and only minor supporting parts in major productions. With a few notable exceptions, most of her films were forgettable. By the mid-1940s, her career was stalled, with work becoming harder to find, and the quality of roles being offered declining even further.

At the time of her death she was in the midst of a divorce from husband W. Horace Schmidlapp, but the final divorce decree had yet to come through. Evidently, financial difficulties, fragile health, several failed marriages, and an affair with a married man (Rex Harrison) who refused to divorce his wife for her, became too much for Carole.

The evening before her suicide, Rex Harrison had dinner with Carole at her house. He reportedly arrived at around 6:00 p.m. and stayed until approximately 9:00 p.m. Estimates place her time of death between 4 and 6 a.m. on July 5th, 1948. An autopsy later disclosed she died of an overdose of Seconal, and also had alcohol in her system.

The suicide note she left for her mother reads: "Dearest Mommie: I'm sorry, really sorry, to put you through this. But there is no way to avoid it. I love you, darling, you have been the most wonderful Mom ever and that applies to all our family. I love each and every one of them dearly. Everything goes to you. Look in the files and there is a will which decrees everything. Good bye, my angel. Pray for me, Your Baby"

It has long been rumored she left behind another suicide note specifically for Rex Harrison. At a coroner's inquiry it was noted that Rex was uneasy and fidgeted as he denied he had possession of another suicide note or clue as to why she took her own life.

Movie credits of Carole Landis

A Star Is Born (1937)
The King and the Chorus Girl (1937)
Fly-Away Baby (1937)
A Day at the Races (1937)
The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937)
Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937)
Varsity Show (1937)
Alcatraz Island (1937)
Hollywood Hotel (1937)
The Invisible Menace (1938)
Blondes at Work (1938)
A Slight Case of Murder (1938)
Love, Honor and Behave (1938)
Over the Wall (1938)
Women Are Like That (1938)
Gold Diggers in Paris (1938)
When Were You Born (1938)
Men Are Such Fools (1938)
Penrod's Double Trouble (1938)
Boy Meets Girl (1938)
Four's a Crowd (1938)
Girls on Probation (1938)
Three Texas Steers (1939)
Daredevils of the Red Circle (1939)
The Cowboys from Texas (1939)
Reno (1939)

One Million B.C. (1940)
Turnabout (1940)
Mystery Sea Raider (1940)
Road Show (1941)
Topper Returns (1941)
Moon Over Miami (1941)
Dance Hall (1941)
I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
Cadet Girl (1941)
Road Show (1941)
A Gentleman at Heart (1942)
My Gal Sal (1942)
It Happened in Flatbush (1942)
Orchestra Wives (1942)
Manila Calling (1942)
The Powers Girl (1943)
Show Business at War (1943)
Wintertime (1943)
Four Jills in a Jeep (1944)
Secret Command (1944)
Having Wonderful Crime (1945)
Behind Green Lights (1946)
It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog (1946)
A Scandal in Paris (1946)
Out of the Blue (1947)
Brass Monkey (1948)
The Noose (1948)


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