Barbara Nichols

"Homely men make the best dates. And handsome men make the worst date." ~ Barbara

Barbara Nichols was born Barbara Marie Nickerauer on December 10, 1928 in Queens, New York. When she was a teenager she danced at the Latin Quarter and was crowned "Miss Long Island". She began modeling and posed for dozens of cheesecake magazines. Her career really took off after she dyed her hair platinum blonde and had plastic surgery on her nose. With her voluptuous figure she became one of the most popular pin-up girls of the 1950s. She was featured on the cover of magazines like See and Man To Man. Barbara eventually moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. She made her film debut in the 1954 western River Of No Return. Over the next five years she appeared in more than a dozen films including The Pajama Game and Pal Joey. She was often compared to Marilyn Monroe but Barbara never became a major movie star.

Her romances with Steve Cochran, Jack Carter, and producer Bert Friedlob kept her name in the gossip columns. Although she had many boyfriends Barbara never married or had children. In 1960 she was seriously injured in a car crash. The accident caused liver damage which affected her health for the rest of her life. During her career she appeared on dozens of television shows. She got rave reviews for her performance in the Twilight Zone episode titled "Twenty-Two". Barbara continued to work steadily throughout the 1960s. She guest starred on Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hawaii Five-O. Her last role was in the 1976 movie Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood. On October 5, 1976 she died from liver failure. Barbara was only forty-seven years old. She is buried at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, New York.

~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

An autographed photo (from my collection)

Betty Compson

"They say I love money. I do, though it was pretty cold comfort, a pretty poor substitute, for all I'd lost." ~ Betty

Betty Compson was born Eleanor Luicime Compson on March 19, 1897, in Beaver, Utah. After her father's death she dropped out of school to help her family. She began her show business career as a violinist and toured with her mother in vaudeville. Betty was offered a contract with Al Christie in 1915. Over the next five years she appeared in more than forty short films. Her career really took off when she costarred with Lon Chaney in the 1919 drama The Miracle Man. She was called "The Prettiest Girl in Pictures"and became one of highest paid actresses in Hollywood. Betty was also one of the first women to run her own production company. In 1921 she starred in and produced the movie Prisoners Of Love. She married actor James Cruz in 1925 but they had a rocky relationship and separated several times. Unlike some other silent stars Betty was able to make the transition to talkies. 

She was nominated for an Academy award in 1928 for her performance in The Barker. Betty finally ended her marriage to James in 1930 and she was left nearly bankrupt by their divorce. She was forced to sell her home and many of her possessions. Betty continued to make several movies a year and even started her own cosmetics line. She auditioned for the role of Belle in Gone With The Wind but did not get the part. Her second marriage, to producer Irving Weinberg, lasted just four years. At their divorce trial she testified that he left her home alone while he went out with other women. In 1944 she married professional boxer Silvius John Gall and decided to retire from Hollywood. Her final film was the comedy Here Comes Trouble. Betty and her husband went into business together and were happily married until his death in 1962. Betty died from a heart attack on April 18, 1974. She is buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.

~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2014

Betty's autograph (from my collection)

Mabel Todd

Mabel Todd was born Mabel Dodds on August 13, 1907 in Los Angeles, California. Sadly her mother died when was very young. Mabel had a lovely singing voice and began her career in vaudeville. She and her sister Marcia often performed as a duo. Mabel started singing on the radio where she nicknamed "The Little Ray of Sunshine". She married comedian Morey Amsterdam in 1933 and the couple worked together on The Laff and Swing Club radio show. Mabel made her film debut in the 1937 musical Varsity Show. She signed a contract with Warner Brothers and was given supporting roles in Hollywood Hotel and Gold Diggers In Paris. With her blonde hair and high pitched voice Mabel was typecast as a ditzy comedienne. She was a popular personality on the Warner Brothers lot where she was often seen riding her scooter. In April 1942 Mabel appeared in one of the first televised talent shows.

The following year she starred in the film The Ghost And The Guest. Her husband Morey had written the script for her. During World War 2 she traveled across the country entertaining the troops in a USO show. Mabel and Morey split up in 1945. Their divorce was so bitter that he refused to ever speak about her again. By this time Mabel's movie career had stalled and she could only get bit parts. Her last role was playing a florist in the comedy Wife Wanted. She continued to work on the radio and appeared in several stage shows. Mabel made headlines in 1950 when she divorced her second husband Matthew A. Sontino. In court she accused him of beating her with a shoe and giving her a black eye. She retired from show business and lived a quiet life away from the spotlight. Mabel died on June 2, 1977 at the age of sixty-nine. She was cremated and her ashes are buried at the Queen Heaven's cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2015

With Ted Healy

With Morey Amsterdam