Monday, December 05, 2011

Monday Machination: The Death of Thomas H. Ince

To kick off the first Monday Machination, I am writing about the inspiration for this daily post.

On November 15, 1924, silent film maker and producer Thomas H. Ince set sail with business magnate William Randolph Hurst, actor Charlie Chaplin, actresses Marion Davies and Margaret Livingston, and writer Louella Parsons and many others. Sometime on the yacht, Ince developed an issue that required his removal from the yacht and return to shore. Less than 48 hours later, he died. Why? How? Those reports are muddled.

Officially, Ince died of a heart attack. Unofficially, whispers around Hollywood reported that Hurst killed Ince in an argument over Hurst's mistress Davies. Supposedly, Hurst caught Davies and Chaplin having an affair and in his attempt to shoot Chaplin, Ince took the bullet by accident. Interesting, no?

It is made further interesting by the events after. Ince's wife, Nell, refused an autopsy of her husband's body and took a trust fund from Hurst before she left to tour Europe. Livingston took a huge pay increase (from $300 to $1000 per film). Charlie Chaplin married his teenage costar, Lita Grey, of The Kid in Mexico. Parsons wrote for Hurst for many years after the events on the yacht and became one of the most successful writers in Hollywood. Davies remained as Hurst's mistress until his death in the 50's.

I learned about this in the movie The Cat's Meow. It has Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard, and Cary Elwes so of course I watched it. At the time, sometime in 2002 I think, I thought it was just a movie. I had no clue who William R. Hurst, Marion Davies, and Margaret Livingston were. I vaguely knew of Charlie Chaplin. I had never heard of Thomas Ince. I had no idea it was based on actual [rumored] events of Hollywood proportions.

Pretty neat huh?

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

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