Lilyan Tashman
Lilyan Tashman
Lilyan Tashman was a Brooklyn-born Jewish American vaudeville, Broadway, and film actress. Tashman was best known for her supporting roles as tongue-in-cheek villainesses and the bitchy 'other woman'. She made sixty-six films over the course of her Hollywood career and although never obtained superstar status, her cinematic performances are "sharp, clever and have aged little over the decades.
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  • 1934
    Age 37
    Tashman died of cancer at Doctor's Hospital in New York City on March 21, 1934 at the age of 37.
    More Details Hide Details Her funeral was held on March 22 in New York City synagogue Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue with Sophie Tucker, Mary Pickford, Fanny Brice, Cecil Beaton, Jack Benny, and other distinguished celebrities in attendance. Eddie Cantor delivered the eulogy. The burial in Brooklyn's Washington Cemetery attracted 10,000 fans, mourners, and curious onlookers; it became a near riot when people were injured and a gravestone was toppled. Tashman left no will, but the distribution of her $31,000 in cash and $121,000 in furs and jewels provoked contentious discussion among her husband and sisters, Hattie and Jennie. Her last film, Frankie and Johnny, was released posthumously in May 1936 with her role as Nellie Bly cut to a cameo.
    In February 1934, she flew to New York City to film Frankie and Johnny for All Star Productions (released by Republic Pictures) but her condition necessitated a week of rest in Connecticut with Lowe.
    More Details Hide Details She resumed work in March, completing her film role on March 8 and then appearing at the Israel Orphan's Home benefit on March 10. When she entered the hospital for surgery on March 16, it was too late for the doctors to help her.
    In early 1934, she appeared in Riptide with Norma Shearer.
    More Details Hide Details Her last film, Frankie and Johnny, was released posthumously in 1936. Director George Cukor described Tashman as "a very diverting creature outrageous and cheerful and goodhearted."
  • 1932
    Age 35
    In 1932, Tashman entered the hospital in New York City for an appendectomy that is now considered a concealment for abdominal cancer.
    More Details Hide Details She left the hospital thin and weak. Although she made five films in her last years, performing with her usual artistry and professionalism, she weakened significantly in the months following her hospitalization and her role in Riptide was trimmed because of her ever-worsening health.
    In 1932, her health began to fail but she appeared in The Wiser Sex, Those We Love, the film on the Russian Revolution, Scarlet Dawn, Mama Loves Papa with Charlie Ruggles (1933), and the musical Too Much Harmony (1933).
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  • 1926
    Age 29
    From 1926 to 1929, she appeared in numerous films, became a valued supporting player, and even starred in the independent Rocking Moon (1926) and The Woman Who Did Not Care (1927).
    More Details Hide Details She played supporting roles in Ernst Lubitsch's farce So This is Paris (1926), Camille with Norma Talmadge (1926), A Texas Steer with Will Rogers (1927), director Dorothy Arzner's Manhattan Cocktail (1928), and Hardboiled (1929). Her Variety reviews were good. She managed the transition to "talkies" easily, making a total of 28, and appeared in some of the very first, including United Artists's Bulldog Drummond (1929), The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929), the now-lost color musical Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), and New York Nights (1930) with Norma Talmadge. She starred as a murderess in the melodrama Murder by the Clock, as a self-sacrificing mother in The Road to Reno (1931), and as a chorus girl in Wine, Women and Song (1933).
  • 1925
    Age 28
    On September 21, 1925, Tashman married longtime friend Edmund Lowe, an actor.
    More Details Hide Details The two became the darlings of Hollywood reporters and were touted in fan magazines as having "the ideal marriage". Tashman was described by reporter Gladys Hall as "the most gleaming, glittering, moderne, hard-surfaced, and distingué woman in all of Hollywood". The couple entertained lavishly at "Lilowe", their Beverly Hills home, and their weekly party invitations were highly sought after. Her wardrobe cost $1,000,000, and women around the world clamored for copies of her hats, gowns, and jewelry. Servants were ordered to serve her cats afternoon tea, and for Easter brunch she had her dining room painted dark blue to provide a contrast to her blonde hair. She once painted her Malibu home red and white, asked her guests to wear red and white, and even dyed the toilet paper red and white.
    In 1925, she appeared in ten films including Pretty Ladies with Joan Crawford and Myrna Loy.
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    She married actor Edmund Lowe in 1925 and her wardrobe and lavish parties became the talk of the town.
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  • 1924
    Age 27
    In 1924, she appeared in five films (including a cinematic adaptation of The Garden of Weeds) and received good reviews for Nellie, the Beautiful Cloak Model and Winner Take All.
    More Details Hide Details She freelanced, moving from studio to studio, but signed a long-term contract in 1931 with Paramount. She made nine films for the studio.
  • 1922
    Age 25
    Her personal and professional lives in 1922 were not entirely satisfactory (best friend Edmund Lowe moved to Hollywood, for example, and she was fired from Madame Pierre) so she relocated to California and quickly found work in films.
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    In 1922, she had a small role in the Mabel Normand film Head Over Heels.
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  • 1921
    Age 24
    In 1921, Tashman made her film debut playing Pleasure in an allegorical segment of Experience, and when The Gold Diggers closed she appeared in the plays The Garden of Weeds and Madame Pierre.
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    In 1921 Tashman made her film debut in Experience, and over the next decade and a half she appeared in numerous silent films.
    More Details Hide Details With her husky contralto singing voice she easily navigated the transition to the talkies.
  • 1919
    Age 22
    In 1919, producer David Belasco gave her a supporting role in Avery Hopwood's comedy The Gold Diggers.
    More Details Hide Details The show ran two years with Tashman understudying, and occasionally filling in, for star Ina Claire.
  • 1916
    Age 19
    In 1916, she played Viola in a Shakespeare-inspired number for the Ziegfeld Follies and remained with the Follies for the 1917 and 1918 seasons.
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  • 1914
    Age 17
    Lilyan Tashman's entertainment career began in vaudeville, and by 1914 she was an experienced performer, appearing in Song Revue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with rising stars Eddie Cantor and Al Lee.
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    In 1914, she married fellow-vaudevillian Al Lee, but the two separated in 1920 and divorced in 1921.
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    Tashman married vaudevillian Al Lee in 1914, but they divorced in 1921.
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    Tall, blonde, and slender with fox-like features and a throaty voice, Tashman freelanced as a fashion and artist's model in New York City. By 1914 she was an experienced vaudevillian, appearing in Ziegfeld Follies between 1916 and 1918.
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  • 1896
    Born on October 23, 1896.
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