Peg Entwistle’s Powers of Persuasion
May 19, 2009 § 1 Comment
“Peg Entwistle’s Last Walk” was a little silent film with titles long before I incorporated the footage into my documentary, “Under the Hollywood Sign.” Its initial version attracted an enthusiastic audience on YouTube (I’ve since taken it down) and was seen by a researcher, James Zeruk, who in turn led me to Peg’s family. They kindly opened a treasure trove of photos and documents to me, so in the end I had no lack of biographical material. But “Peg Entwistle’s Last Walk” has taken on a life of its own; recently, I’ve made a new version and entered it in film festivals.
It’s hard to live near the Hollywood Sign without thinking about Peg. Nearly 77 years after her tragic, premature death, she is as much a part of the neighborhood as any living resident, casting a long shadow over the canyon where she lived. Long misunderstood because of her death, she was no failure. A rising young star who inspired Bette Davis to become an actress, Peg worked steadily on the stage, where she earned only glowing reviews. Her brief career faltered because of family tragedy, a disastrous marriage and the Great Depression, but her talent foretold a great future.