Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Alma Rubens
Rubens' memoirs, This Bright World Again, was serialized in national newspapers in 1931.
More DetailsHide DetailsThe text details Rubens' career and her struggle with drug addiction. The full text, along with a biography and filmography by Gary D. Rhodes and Alexander Webb entitled Alma Rubens, Silent Snowbird: Her Complete 1930 Memoir, with a New Biography and Filmography, was published by McFarland in 2006.
She died on January 21, 1931 at the age of 33 having never regained consciousness.
More DetailsHide DetailsA funeral service was held on January 24 at the Little Church of the Flowers at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale. Her body was then shipped to Fresno where a second service was held at the Christian Science Church on January 26. She is interred in a mausoleum at Mountain View Cemetery in Fresno.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Alma Rubens has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6409 Hollywood Blvd.
She was later released on $5,000 bail, and appeared for a preliminary hearing the second week of January 1931.
She was there less than two weeks when, on January 5, 1931, she was arrested by Federal officers in San Diego for cocaine possession and conspiracy to smuggle morphine from Mexico into the United States.
More DetailsHide DetailsRubens claimed she was being framed and physicians attested to her statements that she was not taking drugs.
In early February 1930, Rubens traveled to New York where she announced that she was free of drug addiction and was planning comeback with a vaudeville tour in the East.
More DetailsHide DetailsShe made an appearance on stage with her husband while there, but returned to California the same month.
Rubens was released from the Patton State Hospital in late December 1929.
More DetailsHide DetailsShe made her first public appearance since her release on January 30, 1930 in role in a play produced at the Writer's Club in Hollywood. Her performance was well received by the audience and she received eight curtain calls. After the show, Rubens gave an interview to the United Press stating that she was cured of her addiction. During the interview, she described her descent into drug abuse and her experiences at the sanatoriums.
On May 15, 1929, Rubens' husband Ricardo Cortez and her mother had Rubens committed to Patton State Hospital for treatment after she resumed her drug habit.
In February 1929, Rubens' addiction became publicly known when she attempted to stab a physician who was taking her to a sanitarium for treatment.
More DetailsHide DetailsShe was ordered to undergo treatment at the Spadra facility shortly thereafter. She later escaped despite being under the watch of four nurses and two male guards. She was then admitted to a sanatorium in Pasadena but left after ten days.
One of her final roles was as Julie in the 1929 part-talkie film version of Show Boat, her next-to-last film roles and one of her few sound films.
Rubens third and final marriage was to actor Ricardo Cortez, whom she married on January 30, 1926 in Riverside, California.
More DetailsHide DetailsAs her divorce from Goodman was not yet finalized, Rubens and Cortez marriage was considered invalid. They were remarried on February 8. While touring the vaudeville circuit in mid-1930, the couple separated. At the time of her death, Rubens was suing Cortez for divorce. Cortez claimed he had not been notified of his wife's death, and later remarked that he had not seen her for several months and was unaware that she was seriously ill.
Shortly after her release from jail, Rubens contracted a cold that quickly developed into lobar pneumonia and bronchitis. She fell into a coma at the Los Angeles home of her friend, Dr. Charles J. Pflueger.
From 1925 to 1926, she worked for Fox Film Corporation.
More DetailsHide DetailsWhile at Fox, she starred in the hit melodrama East Lynne (1925) opposite Edmund Lowe and Lou Tellegen. She also had roles in The Gilded Butterfly with Bert Lytell and Siberia (both 1926), the latter of which re-teamed Rubens with Edmund Lowe and Lou Tellegen.
They separated in late 1924 and Rubens filed for divorce in January 1925.
By 1921, Rubens had developed an addiction to heroin after she was prescribed morphine by a doctor for a physical ailment.
More DetailsHide DetailsDue to her drug use and difficult behavior on set, William Randolph Hearst removed her from a film she was set to star in but kept her on the payroll for the next two years. There were rumors that Hearst continued to pay her a salary because the two were romantically involved. Hearst denied this claiming he continued to pay Rubens because he had invested a substantial amount of money promoting her as the studio's leading lady and that good lead actresses were difficult to find.
In 1920, Rubens signed with William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan Productions.
More DetailsHide DetailsThe studio promoted Rubens as their newest starlet, falsely claiming she was a descendant of Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens. Her first film for the studio was Humoresque, which became the studio's only hit that year. Later that year, she starred in dramas The World and His Wife, opposite Montague Love, and Thoughtless Women, both of which further solidified her popularity.
Rubens married three times. Her first marriage was to actor Franklyn Farnum, nearly twenty years her senior, in June 1918. Rubens and Farnum were married secretly and separated about two months later. According to Rubens' divorce petition, Farnum physically abused her and once dislocated her jaw. Their divorce was finalized in December 1919.
In 1918, she announced that she was changing the spelling of her last name of Rueben to "Rubens" because it caused too much confusion in the movie industry and in publications.
More DetailsHide DetailsShe later told Photoplay magazine, "As a matter of fact my name is not the same spelling as the painter's. It's either Reubens or Ruebens-I forget which. I never could spell it. Couldn't remember where the 'e' came. So I let it go Rubens."
In 1916, Rubens signed with Triangle Film Corporation.
More DetailsHide DetailsHer first film for the company was the comedy-drama Reggie Mixes In, starring Douglas Fairbanks. Later that same year, Rubens was re-teamed with Fairbanks for cocaine comedy The Mystery of the Leaping Fish, The Half Breed and The Americano. The next year, Rubens co-starred in two westerns, Truthful Tolliver with William S. Hart and The Firefly of Tough Luck with Charles Gunn.
She quickly rose to stardom in 1916 after appearing opposite Douglas Fairbanks in The Half Breed.
More DetailsHide DetailsFor the remainder of the decade, she appeared in supporting roles in comedies and drama. In the 1920s, Rubens developed a drug addiction which eventually ended her career.
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