Mary Astor

Biography

Mary Astor was born, Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke, on May 3, 1906 in Quincy, Illinois to a German immigrant father, Otto Ludwig Langhanke, and an American mother from Illinois, Helen Marie Vasconcellos, of Portuguese and Irish ancestry. Her parents were very ambitious for her as they recognized Mary's beauty and knowing if they played their cards right, they could make her famous. They understood that they wanted something better for their daughter than they had, so they made it happen by pushing Mary into various beauty contests. Luck was with Mary and her parents because one contest came to the attention of Hollywood moguls who signed her at the age of 14. Her first movie was a bit part in The Scarecrow (1920). It wasn't much, but it was a start. Throughout 1921-1923 she continued her career with bit or minor roles in a number of motion pictures. In 1924, Mary landed a plum assignment with a role as Lady Margery Alvaney opposite the great John Barrymore in the film Beau Brummel (1924). This launched her career to stardom as it did with a lively affair with Barrymore. However the affair ended before she could star with him again in the classic Don Juan (1926). Mary was, now, the new cinematic darling with each film packing the theaters. By the end of the twenties, the sound revolution had taken a strong hold on the industry and Mary was one of those lucky actresses who made the successful transition to "talkies" because of her voice and strong screen presence. Mary's career took off to greater heights. Films such as Red Dust (1932), Convention City (1933), Man of Iron (1935), and The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), kept her star at the top. In 1938, Mary turned out five feature films which kept her busy and in the spotlight. Afterwards, she churned out films at a lesser rate. In 1941, she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Sandra Kovac in The Great Lie (1941). That same year she appeared in the celebrated film The Maltese Falcon (1941), but her star soon began to fall. Because of her three divorces, the death of her first husband, Kenneth Hawks who died in a plane crash, alcoholism, a suicide attempt, and a persistent heart condition, Mary got smaller roles in movies. In the whole of the 1950s she appeared in only five productions. Her final fling with the silver screen was as Jewell Mayhew in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). Even though this was her final film, she had appeared in a phenomenal 123 motion pictures. Mary lived out her remaining days confined to the Motion Picture Country Home where she died of a heart attack on September 25, 1987 at the age of 81.

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Known For
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The Maltese Falcon

Brigid O'Shaughnessy

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Meet Me in St. Louis

Mrs. Anna Smith

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The Palm Beach Story

The Princess Centimillia

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Across the Pacific

Alberta Marlow

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The Kennel Murder Case

Hilda Lake

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Trapped by Television

Barbara 'Bobby' Blake

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The Great Lie

Sandra Kovak

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Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Volume 3

Lily Kulper

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Red Dust

Barbara Willis

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The Little Giant

Ruth Wayburn

Starring In
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Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Jewel

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Return to Peyton Place

Mrs. Roberta Carter

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A Stranger in My Arms

Mrs. Virgilnie Beasley

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This Happy Feeling

Mrs. Tremaine

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A Kiss Before Dying (56)

Mrs. Corliss

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Little Women

Marmee

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Any Number Can Play

Ada

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Act of Violence

Pat

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Cynthia

Louise Bishop

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Fiesta

Señora Morales

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Desert Fury

Fritzi Haller

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Cass Timberlane

Queenie Havock

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Okay for Sound

Adriana (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Claudia and David

Elizabeth Van Doren

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Meet Me in St. Louis

Mrs. Anna Smith

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Young Ideas

Jo Evans

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Thousands Cheer

Hyllary Jones

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The Palm Beach Story

The Princess Centimillia

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Across the Pacific

Alberta Marlow

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In This Our Life

Extra at a Roadhouse Table (uncredited)

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The Maltese Falcon

Brigid O'Shaughnessy

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The Great Lie

Sandra Kovak

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Breakdowns of 1941

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Brigham Young

Mary Ann Young

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Turnabout

Marion Manning

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Midnight

Helene Flammarion

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Paradise for Three

Mrs. Irene Mallebre

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There's Always a Woman

Lola Fraser

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The Hurricane

Mme. DeLaage

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The Prisoner of Zenda

Antoinette de Mauban

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Dodsworth

Mrs. Edith Cortright

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Trapped by Television

Barbara 'Bobby' Blake

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The Murder of Dr. Harrigan

Lillian Cooper

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Man of Iron

Vida

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Red Hot Tires

Patricia Sanford

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The Case of the Howling Dog

Bessie Foley

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I Am a Thief

Odette

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The Man with Two Faces

Jessica Wells

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The Kennel Murder Case

Hilda Lake

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The Little Giant

Ruth Wayburn

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Red Dust

Barbara Willis

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The Lost Squadron

Follette Marsh

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The Guilty Generation

Mrs. Irene Mallebre

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Behind Office Doors

Mary Linden

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Smart Woman

Mrs. Nancy Gibson

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Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Volume 3

Lily Kulper

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Holiday

Julia Seton

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The Lash

Dona Rosita Garcia

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Dressed to Kill

Jean MacDonald

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Two Arabian Knights

Mirza

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Don Juan

Adriana della Varnese

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Don Q Son of Zorro

Dolores de Muro

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Beau Brummel

Lady Margery Alvanley

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