Mary Astor at Moorcrest: the 1925 Publicity Photos

August 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

From Mary Astor’s second memoir,  A Life on Film (Delacourt Press, 1967), come two previously unseen (at least by me) photos of her at Moorcrest.

Mary Astor & Helen 1925014

In the first, she poses with her dreadful mother, Helen Langhanke. Helen, who made no secret of hating her daughter during her lifetime, underscored the sentiment by leaving Astor her diaries, which were a litany of viciousness and abuse. (Helen Langhanke’s diaries not only compounded Astor’s pain but, oddly, instilled the diary-keeping habit that would trigger the 1936 custody suit brought by her second husband, Franklyn Thorpe.) 

Astor hated Moorcrest’s decor, which she called “unfortunate.” The red lotus keyhole windows and central arched window are clearly seen in the background of the photo, which appears to be the north side of the house. Here’s how the north facade of the master bedroom looks today:

Looking North to the Hollywood Sign from Moorcrest/Hope Anderson Productions

Looking North to the Hollywood Sign from Moorcrest/Hope Anderson Productions

Far more glamorous and fun is the second photo. Astor poses in Moorcrest’s porte cochere with the family chauffeur and their Pierce Arrow limousine, both afforded by her earnings.

She was 19 years old, the family’s sole supporter and a virtual prisoner of her parents and Moorcrest. And though Mary Astor would attain freedom in three years, she wouldn’t reach the height of her stardom for another fourteen.

Mary Astor & Car 1925015

For more about Mary Astor, purchase the documentary “Under the Hollywood Sign”at http://hopeandersonproductions.com/?page_id=3361
The film is also available for rent at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/uths

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