Louella Parsons

Gossip Columnist + Screenwriter
Born Aug 6, 1881

Louella Parsons was the first American movie columnist. She was retained by William Randolph Hearst, possibly because she had praised Hearst's mistress Marion Davies, and her columns were read by 20 million people in 400 newspapers worldwide. Parsons possessed an uncanny gift for sensing scandal, and her dramatic scoops could make or break an actor's career.… Read More

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1881 Birth Born on August 6, 1881.
1890 8 Years Old In 1890, her widowed mother married John H. Edwards. … Read More


1901 19 Years Old On June 4, 1901, at her high school graduation, Louella gave a foretelling speech, entitled "Great Men," after which her principal announced that she would become a great writer. … Read More


1902 20 Years Old In 1902, she became the first female journalist in Dixon, where she gossiped about Dixon social circles, making a step towards her Hollywood career. … Read More
1905 23 Years Old Louella was married three times. First, to real estate developer and broker John Dement Parsons, whom she married in 1905. … Read More


1912 30 Years Old When her marriage broke up, Parsons moved to Chicago. In 1912, she had her first taste of the movie industry by selling a script for $25 to the Essanay Company, which would soon be employing Charlie Chaplin. … Read More
1914 32 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1914, Parsons began writing the first gossip column in the United States for the Chicago Record Herald.
1915 33 Years Old A year later, she married second husband John McCaffrey, Jr. in 1915. … Read More
1918 36 Years Old William Randolph Hearst bought that newspaper in 1918 and Parsons was out of a job, as Hearst had not yet discovered that movies and movie personalities were news. … Read More


1923 41 Years Old In 1923, after shrewd bargaining on both sides, she signed a contract and joined the Hearst newspaper the New York American.
1925 43 Years Old In 1925, Parsons contracted tuberculosis and was told she had six months to live. … Read More
1928 46 Years Old Beginning in 1928, she hosted a weekly radio program featuring movie star interviews that was sponsored by SunKist. … Read More
1930 48 Years Old Her third marriage was to Los Angeles surgeon Dr. Harry Martin (whom she called "Docky") in 1930; Martin served in the Army Medical Corps during World War I and World War II. They remained married until Martin's death on June 24, 1951.


1934 52 Years Old In 1934, she signed a contract with the Campbell's Soup Company and began hosting a program titled Hollywood Hotel, which showcased stars in scenes from their upcoming movies. … Read More
1938 56 Years Old Her unofficial title ‘Queen of Hollywood’ was challenged in 1938 by newcomer Hedda Hopper, to whom she was initially friendly and helpful. … Read More


1944 62 Years Old In 1944, she wrote her memoirs, The Gay Illiterate, published by Doubleday, Doran and Company, which became a bestseller. … Read More
1965 83 Years Old She continued her column until December 1965 when it was taken over by her assistant, Dorothy Manners, who had already been writing the column for more than a year.
1972 91 Years Old After her retirement, Parsons lived in a nursing home where she died of arteriosclerosis on December 9, 1972, age 91. … Read More
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