Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nance O'Neil and Nigel Bruce

Who was born on this date:

Actress Nance O'Neil was born on October 8, 1874 in Oakland, California. She was star of the stage, silent era and early talkies and was dubbed the American Sarah Bernhardt. In Hollywood, O'Neil began by working in silent movies and she successfully made the transition to sound films, appearing in movies such as Ladies of Leisure, Royal Bed, and The Rogue Song (all in 1930), Cimarron and Transgression (in 1931), and False Faces (1932), her last film.

Lizzie Borden

In 1904, O'Neil met the infamous accused/ acquitted double murder, Lizzie Borden in Boston. The two developed a close friendship, and rumors have persisted with no concrete proof that they were lesbian lovers. In 1916 O'Neil married Alfred Hickman, a British-born film actor who was previously married to actress Blanche Walsh. He died in 1931. Hickman and O'Neil costarred as Nicholas and Alexandra in the silent film, The Fall of the Romanovs (1917). Nance O'Neil died on February 7, 1965 and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Glendale.

Who died on this date: 

On October 8, 1953, actor Nigel Bruce died. He was born on February 4, 1895 in England. He was best known for his portrayal of Dr. Watson in a series of films and in the radio series The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone. He is also remembered for his roles in the Alfred Hitchcock films Rebecca and Suspicion.Nigel Bruce typically played buffoonish, fuzzy-minded gentlemen. During his film career, he worked in 78 films, including Treasure Island (1934), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), Lassie Come Home (1943), and The Corn is Green (1945). Bruce participated in two landmark films: Becky Sharp, the first feature film in full Technicolor, and Bwana Devil, the first 3D feature. Bruce died from a heart attack on October 8, 1953 and his ashes are interred at the Chapel of the Pines Crematorium in Los Angeles.

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