The flapper

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The tragic death of Olive Thomas in 1920 is widely thought to be one of the first major Hollywood scandals. Weirdly enough, like many silent movie actors and actresses, most of her movies are lost and her legacy lives on her death. She was just 25 years old when she accidentally drank what she must have thought was water, but instead turned out to be poison. Her husband, Jack Pickford, Mary’s younger brother, rushed to the bathroom when he heard her scream ‘Oh my God!’. What happened next is still unclear, but she died 5 days later. She did, however, have a kick-ass career. She was voted the most beautiful girl in New York City, she was a model and the muse of Alberto Vargas, she was a Zeigfeld girl before moving to Hollywood, then went on to star in over twenty films in just four years, and on top of that, she was the originator of ‘the flapper’, one of the most iconic fads of the 1920s, when she starred in the film of the same name. She was also part of Hollywood royalty (her sister-in-law was Mary ‘biggest female silent movie star in the world’ Pickford, after all). Oh and her ghost is said to haunt the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. So there’s that as well.

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