Carole Landis was an actress and sex symbol that became a notable star during the 1940s before her tragic death at the end of the decade. The star colloquially referred to as “The Chest” thanks to her exceptionally curvy figure. It which was a big part of her mainstream appeal. Though Carole died at the tragically young age of only 29, she had married to four different men by that point, and romantically involved with many more. Join Facts Verse as we explore how Carole Landis had no problem sleeping around.
Carole Landis Had a Troubled Upbringing
Carole Landis was born in Fairchild, Wisconsin, on January 1, 1919. She was the youngest of five children, and her father ended up leaving the family shortly after her birth. The man who is most often credited with being Carole’s father a railroad mechanic by the name of Alfred Ridste. However, there are some who think that Carole’s father actually the man that her mother ended up getting married to after Alfred left. Still, it seems that Carole lived her life under the presumption that Alfred was her real father.
The man that Carole’s mother moved onto after her father left named Charles Fenner. However, Carole’s mother didn’t find much more success with this second marriage than she had with her first. Carole’s mother and Charles Fenner divorced by mid-1921. And she spent the rest of Carole’s childhood without a romantic partner. 1923 saw Carole’s mother move her and her family out to California, where they settled in San Bernardino. Here, Carole’s mother struggled to support her several children by taking on a variety of menial jobs. As a result of all of this turmoil and domestic confusion, Carole didn’t have the best upbringing.
Carole was never very happy living with her mother. And decided that she wanted to carve out her own path in life as soon as she could. At the age of only 15, Carole dropped out of the local San Bernardino High School with vague aspirations of becoming a star. Her first moves towards stardom came via a gig that she acquired as a hula dancer at a nearby San Francisco nightclub. Carole’s boss at this nightclub would later go on record that he saw very little potential in the young women and hired her more out of pity than out of any belief that she was destined for stardom.
Carole Moved to Hollywood at a Young Age
Carole carried out her tenure at that San Francisco nightclub. And managed to win the affections of her boss enough that she was singing with the club’s dance band by the time that all was said and done. Carole always had a great singing voice, and this would prove beneficial for the star upon her entrance to Hollywood. After a few years of working at the nightclub, Carole had some money saved up and decided that it was time to make her big move.
Before moving to Hollywood, Carole altered both her appearance and her name. At the time of her birth, Carole had named Frances Lillian Mary Ridste. She also didn’t have the blonde hair that she would later become known for. She ended up bleaching her hair and changing her name to prepare for her journey to Hollywood. It is with both her name and her hairdo inspired by actress Carole Lombard. Carole Landis considered Carole Lombard to be her hero.
Although Carole’s former boss didn’t have very high hopes for the burgeoning star, she ended up having a fairly easy time making a name for herself in Hollywood. The actress’s big-screen debut came as a result of her being cast as an extra in the 1937 film A Star Is Born. Following this big-screen debut, Carole could seen in numerous Westerns over the course of the remaining decade before truly attaining star status during the 1940s. While Carole’s numerous film roles certainly contributed to her star status. She also became a pin-up model around the same time and wasn’t afraid to use her good looks to help garner attention.
Carole’s Big Break Came in 1940
Carole’s big break in Hollywood came in 1940. It is when she cast as a cavewoman in the film One Million B.C. The movie became a gigantic hit, thanks in no small part to Carole’s relatively scantily clad appearance. Censors at the time were in full force to ensure that not much skin could shown on cinema screens. Carole allowed to show quite a bit to audiences in One Million B.C. on account of her cavewoman costume.
This appearance helped solidify Carole’s status as a sex symbol. And she would go on to be one of the hottest stars of the 1940s. Sadly, this would all come crashing down for the star by the end of the decade, when she committed suicide. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Carole’s Success Largely Hit or Miss
Following Carole Landis’ incredibly successful appearance in 1940’s One Million B.C., the actress continued appearing in notable films over the course of the early 1940s. Most of Carole’s roles in these years saw her taking that part of the second female lead. And with lead-actress status continuing to elude the star despite her popularity as a sex symbol. When Hollywood executives found out that Carole could sing, this helped her get roles in a few musical films. Most actresses at the time had to have their singing voices dubbed over by professional singers, whereas Carole’s singing voice was good enough that this wasn’t the case for her.
It was relatively early into the 1940s that Carole Landis would given a contract with 20th Century Fox. Her contract with the studio would prove both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, she would get the chance to appear alongside Betty Grable in the musical film Moon Over Miami. As well as the dramatic crime thriller I Wake Up Screaming. However, this success came with a caveat, as Carole’s roles with 20th Century Fox only coming her way on account of her being romantically involved with a studio executive.
The studio executive that Carole Landis became romantically involved with during her time under contract with 20th Century Fox was a man by the name of Darryl F. Zanuck. After a while, Carole decided that her film career wasn’t worth trudging through her forced romantic relationship with the executive. And she ended up breaking things off. This breakup spelt disaster for the actress’s career. She went from appearing in major musicals to appearing in B movies. And her final two roles came via British film productions.
Carole Was a Popular USO Performer
As America entered into World War II, Carole Landis became one of many stars that used their appeal to try and entertain soldiers overseas. Carole could seen performing in USO shows across both England and Africa during her first tour. And her second tour saw her entertaining troops in the South Pacific alongside Jack Benny. Jack would later go on to praise Carole for her behavior during this second USO tour. Claiming that she was one of the only stars that he had ever seen that wasn’t afraid of entertaining wounded soldiers up close and personally by visiting their hospital rooms.
1945 saw Carole make a successful transition to Broadway, with her appearing in a musical production by the name of A Lady Says Yes. Jacqueline Susann, who would later become better known as a novelist, had a small role in this production. Jacqueline would go on to become famous thanks to her novel Valley of the Dolls. And she claimed before her death that one of the main character’s in the novel had been based off of Carole. Of course, Carole inspiring the novel wasn’t all that much of a compliment. As Valley of the Dolls is very critical of the actress lifestyle the entertainment industry in general. This association would become all the more meaningful after Carole’s suicide a few years later.
In addition to branching out into Broadway from the big-screen, Carole Landis also wrote a few magazine and newspaper articles before her tragically young death. These articles saw the actress sharing the experiences that she had during her USO tours. Carole was certainly a multi-talented individual. Though she was sadly never able to find her path to superstardom during her short lifetime.
Carole Landis’ Troubled Personal Life
Carole Landis married five different times to four different men over the course of her lifetime. Though she had no children on account of her endometriosis. She married for the very first time after just turning 15. Her first husband was a man by the name of Irving Wheeler, who was 19. When Carole’s mom found out about the marriage, she forced Carole to have it annulled. Carole was still in moderate contact with her supposed birth father around this time. Despite the fact that he had left the family shortly after her birth.
When Carole’s mom forced her to have her first marriage annulled. She went behind her back and asked her father for permission to remarry Irving. Her father reluctantly agreed, and Carole and Irving were remarried only a few months after their annulment. However, after all this fuss, Carole ended up leaving Irving after only three weeks.
Carole went on to marry and divorce her second husband in 1940. Then had two more husbands before her tragic death by her own hand in 1948. Towards the end of her life, Carole involved in an affair with actor Rex Harrison that had become somewhat of an open secret in Hollywood. Rex was married at the time, and Carole seems to have expected him to leave his wife for her. Sadly, this never came to pass. Many credit Carole’s grief upon realizing that Rex wasn’t going to marry her with the actress committing suicide. She died on July 5, 1948, at the tragically young age of only 29.
Though Carole Landis was a popular actress and pin-up model during the 1940s, Her tragically young death at the age of only 29 prevented her from achieving more in her life. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Carole Landis was married five times before her death at the tragically young age of 29. And that she was romantically involved with many more men than just her husbands? As always, like this video to show your support. And subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!