Lili Damita

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Lili Damita
Lili Damita from Stars of the Photoplay.jpg
BornLiliane Marie Madeleine Carré
(1904-07-10)July 10, 1904
Blaye, Gironde, Aquitaine, France
DiedMarch 21, 1994(1994-03-21) (aged 89)
Palm Beach, Florida, USA
Resting place
Oakland Cemetery (Fort Dodge, Iowa)
Other namesLily Damita, Lily Deslys
Years active1922–1937
Spouse(s)Errol Flynn (1935–1942)
Allen Loomis (1962–1983)
ChildrenSean Flynn (May 31, 1941; disappeared April 6, 1970)
 
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Lili Damita
Lili Damita from Stars of the Photoplay.jpg
BornLiliane Marie Madeleine Carré
(1904-07-10)July 10, 1904
Blaye, Gironde, Aquitaine, France
DiedMarch 21, 1994(1994-03-21) (aged 89)
Palm Beach, Florida, USA
Resting place
Oakland Cemetery (Fort Dodge, Iowa)
Other namesLily Damita, Lily Deslys
Years active1922–1937
Spouse(s)Errol Flynn (1935–1942)
Allen Loomis (1962–1983)
ChildrenSean Flynn (May 31, 1941; disappeared April 6, 1970)

Lili Damita (July 10, 1904 – March 21, 1994) was a French actress who appeared in 33 movies between 1922 and 1937.

Early life and education[edit]

Born Liliane Marie-Madeleine Carré in Blaye, France, she was educated in convents and ballet schools in several European countries, including France, Spain and Portugal. At 14, she was enrolled as a dancer at the Opera de Paris.

By the age of 16, she was performing in popular music halls, eventually appearing in the Revue at the Casino de Paris.[1] She also 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 in German productions directed by Robert Wiene (Die Grosse Abenteuerin; 1927), G.W. Pabst (Man Spielt nicht mit der Liebe; 1926), and British director Graham Cutts (The Queen Was in the Parlour; 1927).

Career[edit]

In 1928, at the invitation of Samuel Goldwyn she went to Hollywood, making her American debut in a film titled The Rescue. Leased out to various studios, she appeared with stars such as Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier, Laurence Olivier, Cary Grant, and James Cagney. Her films included the box office successes The Cock-Eyed World (1929),[2] the semi-silent The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929), and This Is the Night (1932).

Personal life[edit]

Lili Damita and husband Errol Flynn at Los Angeles airport, 1941

In 1925, she married Michael Curtiz, who directed her in Das Spielzeug von Paris. They divorced in 1926.

In 1935, she married her second husband, a virtual unknown who would become Hollywood's biggest box office attraction, Errol Flynn, with whom she had a son, Sean Flynn (born 1941). Following the marriage, she retired from the screen. The couple divorced in 1942. (Barbara Hershey portrayed her in the TV film My Wicked, Wicked Ways [1985] based on Errol Flynn's autobiography.)

While living in Palm Beach, Florida, Damita married Allen Loomis, a retired Fort Dodge, Iowa dairy owner, and spent part of each year living there.

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 April 6, 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. DNA testing was conducted on remains found in Cambodia and turned over to the U.S. embassy in March 2010.[3] However, the results, released June 30, 2010 by JPAC, showed the remains were not those of Sean Flynn.[4]

Death[edit]

Lili Damita died of Alzheimer's disease on March 21, 1994, in Palm Beach, Florida, aged 89. She was interred in the Oakland Cemetery in Fort Dodge, Iowa, her third husband's hometown.[5]

Selected filmography[edit]

Promotional photo of Lili Damita and Victor McLaglen for The Cock-Eyed World
Lili Damita & Gary Cooper in Fighting Caravans.
YearFilmRoleNotes
1922Maman PierreSilent film
1922La belle au bois dormantSilent film
1922L'Empereur des pauvresRiquette
1922La fille sauvageHenriette VilledieuSilent film
1922The Clairvoyant
1923Corsica
1924Une femme dans la nuit
1925Prince Charming
1925Das Spielzeug von ParisCélimène aka Susana Armard
1926Cab No. 13
(Fiaker Nr. 13)
Lilian
1926Secrets of a Soul
(Geheimnisse einer Seele)
Uncredited
1926The Golden Butterfly
(Der goldene Schmetterling)
Lilian
1926One Does Not Play with Love
(Man spielt nicht mit der Liebe)
Calixta
1927The Queen Was in the ParlourPrinzessin Nadya von Kraya
1927The Famous Woman
(Die berühmte Frau)
Sonja Litowskaja
1928The Great Adventuress
1928Scandal in Paris
1929The RescueLady Edith Travers
1929The Bridge of San Luis ReyCamila (La Perichole)
1929The Cock-Eyed WorldMariana Elenita
1930Let Us Be Gay
(Soyons gais)
Kitty
1931The Bachelor Father
(Le père célibataire)
alternate language version
1931Fighting CaravansFelice
1931The Woman BetweenJulie Whitcomb
1931Friends and LoversMrs. Alva Sangrito
1931The Easiest Way
(Quand on est belle)
Laura Murdock
1932This Is the NightGermaine
1932One Hour With You
(Une heure près de toi)
Mitzi Olivier
1932The Match KingMarta Molnar
1933Goldie Gets AlongGoldie LaFarge
1934Man StolenAnnette
1935Brewster's MillionsRosalie La Rue
1935Frisco KidBelle Morra
1936The Devil on HorsebackDiane Corday
1937Escadrille of ChanceEdwige

Selected stage musicals[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "Lili Damita". Allmovie. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal. "The Cock-Eyed World". Allmovie. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  3. ^ Kennedy, Helen (March 29, 2010). "Remains of Errol Flynn's son, photographer Sean Flynn, may have been found in Cambodia mass grave". Daily News (New York). 
  4. ^ Sean Flynn not buried in Cambodia war grave, The Daily Telegraph. June 30, 2010.
  5. ^ Lili Damita at Find a Grave

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]