Liliane Marie-Madeleine Carré
10 July 1904
|Died||21 March 1994 (aged 89)|
Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
|Resting place||Oakland Cemetery, Fort Dodge, Iowa|
|Other names||Lily Damita|
(m. 1935; div. 1942)
(m. 1962; div. 1983)
Lili Damita (born Liliane Marie-Madeleine Carré; 10 July 1904 – 21 March 1994) was a French-American actress and singer who appeared in 33 films between 1922 and 1937.
Early life and education
Lili Damita was born Liliane Marie-Madeleine Carré in Blaye, France on 10 July 1904. Her father was an officer. She was educated in convents and ballet schools in several countries, including her native France, as well as Spain and Portugal. At 14, she was enrolled as a dancer at the Opéra de Paris.
Early career in revue, modeling and German film
As a teenager, she was performing in popular music halls, eventually appearing in the Revue at the Casino de Paris. She worked as a photographic model. Offered a role in film as a prize for winning a magazine beauty competition in 1921, she appeared in several silent films before being offered her first leading role in Das Spielzeug von Paris (1925) by Hungarian-born director Michael Curtiz. She was an instant success, and Curtiz directed her in two more films: Fiaker Nr. 13 (1926) and Der goldene Schmetterling (1926). Damita continued appearing next in German productions directed by Robert Wiene (Die große Abenteuerin; 1928), G.W. Pabst (Man spielt nicht mit der Liebe; 1926) and British director Graham Cutts (The Queen Was in the Parlour; 1927).
In 1928, Damita was invited to Hollywood by Samuel Goldwyn and made her American film debut in The Rescue. She was leased out to various studios, appearing with stars and leading men such as Maurice Chevalier, Laurence Olivier, James Cagney, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant. Her films included box office successes The Cock-Eyed World (1929), the semi-silent The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929) and This Is the Night (1932).
Following a lengthy affair with Curtiz, she married unknown actor Errol Flynn in 1935 and retired from the screen. Flynn soon became one of Hollywood's biggest box office attractions, and in 1941 they had a son, Sean Flynn. The couple had an acrimonious divorce in 1942. She is portrayed by Barbara Hershey in the TV film My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1985) based on Flynn's autobiography. While living in Palm Beach, Florida, Damita married Allen Loomis in 1962, a retired Fort Dodge, Iowa, dairy products manufacter, and spent part of each year living there. They divorced in the mid-80s.
During the Cambodian Civil War (Khmer Rouge reign), her son Sean Flynn was working as a freelance photo journalist under contract to Time magazine when he and fellow journalist Dana Stone went missing on the road south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 6 April 1970. Although Damita spent an enormous amount of money searching for her son, he was never found, and in 1984 he was declared legally dead.
|1922||La belle au bois dormant|
|1922||L'Empereur des pauvres||Riquette|
|1922||La fille sauvage||Henriette Villedieu|
|1924||Une femme dans la nuit|
|1925||Das Spielzeug von Paris||Célimène aka Susana Armard|
|1926||Fiaker Nr. 13
(Cab No. 13)
|1926||Geheimnisse einer Seele
(Secrets of a Soul)
|1926||Der goldene Schmetterling
(The Golden Butterfly)
|1926||Man spielt nicht mit der Liebe
(One Does Not Play with Love)
|1927||The Queen Was in the Parlour||Prinzessin Nadya von Kraya|
|1927||Die berühmte Frau
(The Famous Woman)
|1928||Die große Abenteuerin
(The Great Adventuress)
|1928||Scandal in Paris|
|1929||The Rescue||Lady Edith Travers||Incomplete film|
|1929||The Bridge of San Luis Rey||Camila (La Perichole)||Filmed as both silent and part-talkie, only the silent version of this film survives|
|1929||The Cock-Eyed World||Mariana Elenita|
|1930||Let Us Be Gay
|1931||The Bachelor Father
(Le père célibataire)
|alternate language version|
|1931||The Woman Between||Julie Whitcomb|
|1931||Friends and Lovers||Mrs. Alva Sangrito|
|1932||This Is the Night||Germaine|
|1932||One Hour with You
(Une heure près de toi)
|Mitzi Olivier||alternate language version|
|1932||The Match King||Marta Molnar|
|1933||Goldie Gets Along||Goldie LaFarge|
|1934||A Man Has Been Stolen||Annette|
|1935||Brewster's Millions||Rosalie La Rue|
|1935||Frisco Kid||Belle Morra|
|1936||The Devil on Horseback||Diane Corday|
|1937||Escadrille of Chance||Edwige|
Selected stage musicals
- On Dit Ça, Paris (1923)
- Sons o'Guns, New York (1929/30)
- Here's How, London (1934)
- Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. pp. 130–131. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
- Tyler, Don (2007). Hit Songs, 1900-1955: American Popular Music of the Pre-Rock Era. McFarland. p. 374. ISBN 9780786429462. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
- Lil Damita, allmovie.com. Retrieved on 22 October 2016.
- Rode, Alan K. (22 September 2017). Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-7397-9.
- McNulty, Thomas (7 May 2015). Errol Flynn: The Life and Career. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-0972-0.
- Jung, Uli; Schatzberg, Walter (1999). Beyond Caligari: The Films of Robert Wiene. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-57181-156-1.
- Erickson, Hal. "The Cock-Eyed World". Allmovie. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- "This Is the Night (1932)". BFI. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- Thomson, David (20 December 2018). "No Mistakes". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
(Curtiz) married one actress, Lucy Doraine, and had a lengthy affair with another, Lili Damita, before he married Bess Meredyth
- Press, Associated (25 March 1994). "Lili Damita". Variety. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
- Eyman, Scott. "Tragic, tempestuous life of Palm Beach's forgotten star, Lili Damita". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
- Brady, Brendan (2 May 2010). "Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
- "Lily Damita; Star of Early Talking Films". Los Angeles Times. 26 March 1994. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
- Wilson, Scott (19 August 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-2599-7.
- Bermingham, Cedric Osmond (1931). Stars of the screen 1931: A volume of biographies of contemporary actors and actresses engaged in photoplay throughout the world. London, UK: Herbert Joseph.
- "Lily Damita". Stars of the Photoplay. Chicago: Photoplay Magazine. 1930.
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