"I don't get along so well with women but most men seem to find me reasonably entertaining." ~ Barbara
Barbara La Marr was born Reatha Dale Watson on July 28, 1896, in Yakima, Washington. She was adopted when she was a month old and her new family took her to California. At the age of fourteen Barbara was arrested for working as a burlesque dancer. The judge said she was "a girl who was too beautiful" (this would later become her nickname). In 1913 she married rancher Jack Lytell. Tragically he died of pneumonia just a few weeks after their wedding. She married Lawrence Converse in 1914 but it was annulled when she found out he already had a wife. Barbara moved to New York City and began writing screenplays for Fox. She married Phil Ainsworth, a dancer, in 1916. Barbara left him after he was jailed for writing bad checks. Her fourth marriage, to actor Ben Deeley, also ended in divorce. In 1920 she made her film debut in the drama Harriet And The Piper. She appeared in many hit movies including The Nut with Douglas Fairbanks and The Prisoner Of Zenda with Ramon Novarro. By 1922 Barbara was one of Hollywood's top stars and she was earning more than $6,000 a week.
Unfortunately her hard-partying lifestyle created more headlines than her films did. She had an ill-fated romance with John Gilbert and became addicted to morphine after injuring her ankle. There were also rumors that she had an eating disorder. In 1923 she married actor Jack Dougherty. Soon after the couple announced they had adopted a son. Barbara was now using cocaine and drinking heavily. She proudly told reporters that she only slept two hours a night. Her drug use hurt her career and she lost her contract with MGM. She signed with First National and made three movies in 1925. Barbara's health began to decline and she developed tuberculosis and nephritis. On January 30, 1926 she died at the young age of twenty-nine. Her final film, The Girl From Montmartre, was released the next day. Barbara was buried at Hollywood Forever cemetery. Thousands of fans attended her funeral. Years after her death it was revealed that she had secretly given birth to her "adopted" son in 1923. Barbara's close friend Zasu Pitts raised him.
~ Original biography by Elizabeth Ann 2015