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Olive Thomas posters


October 20, 1894

Birth Sign




Oliveretta Elaine Duffy was born on October 20, 1894, in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Olive, as she was known to family and friends, did not have much of a childhood. Life in industrial Pittsburgh was depressing and grim with its smoky factories and hard living. She married Bernard Krug Thomas at the age of 16 (which wasn't uncommon at the time), but the marriage wasn't happy and they divorced two years later. By that time Olive had left Pittsburgh for New York, where she found work in a department store. On a lark, she entered a competition for the most beautiful girl in New York City, as fate would have it, she won. With the ensuing publicity, Olive caught the eye of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. and immediately joined his famed Follies. An outstanding addition, men went wild over her beauty. She also posed nude for the famed Peruvian artist Alberto Vargas. As a result of her sudden fame, she was signed to a contract with Triangle Pictures. Her first film was Beatrice Fairfax (1916). Later that year, she married Jack Pickford, brother of screen star Mary Pickford. read more

The relationship was a stormy one. In 1917, she starred in four more films: Madcap Madge (1917), A Girl Like That (1917), Broadway Arizona (1917) and Indiscreet Corinne (1917). With five films on her resume, Olive was the toast of Hollywood. Her beauty was captivating. One look at her pictures can make one understand why. She made three films in 1918 and six in 1919. By 1920, Olive was at the top of the film world. She continued to make good pictures, most notably, Youthful Folly (1920) and The Flapper (1920), which was an overwhelming success. After finishing Everybody's Sweetheart (1920), Olive and Jack sailed to France for a much-needed vacation. The couple finally seemed happy, which seems odd in light of what was to follow. Olive accidentally ingested bi-chloride of mercury from a French-labeled bottle in a darkened bathroom, believing it to be another medication. Found unconscious, she died five days later. The death made worldwide headlines and was ruled accidental. Always remembered as one of the finest actresses of the silent era, With the advent of sound pictures, she would have no doubt continued a dazzling career. Considered to be one of the world's great beauties, Olive was only 25 when she died.

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