Classic Movie Legend Tribute: Mary Astor


Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, Mary Astor, born May 3rd, 1906.

The Lovely Mary Astor

Sometime between the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Modern era, a lot has changed. Take for instance the media’s treatment of, and the populace relationship with Celebrity. You see, back in the day, Celebrity meant something different. In a world before twitter feeds and 24-hour entertainment television, the world of Celebrity was one shrouded in glamour and exclusivity. To be a celebrity either took decades of hard work in your chosen field (usually involving the movie business) or decades of social climbing. The media was there to praise and promote, rather than expose and exploit. Today, one of the great American pastimes seems to be following the rise and fall of Celebrity, if our obsession with Brittany Spears, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan is any indication. I sometimes wonder how Mary Astor would have fared in today’s celebrity-obsessed society.

Mary Astor in the 1920’s

You see, Mary Astor is sort of the ‘OG’ of fallen childhood stars. Much like child stars of today, Astor’s career was an extension of her father’s dreams. She was forced into pageants as a child by her parents and subsequently pushed into the movie business. As more roles began to come in and Astor’s star rose at Paramount studios, her parents began to spend her money lavishly. They bought a house above the Hollywood Hills, which they would often use to isolate Astor, keeping her from contact with the outside world. It was not until she was 26 that she sued her parent for financial control of her money. It was about this time that Astor developed a drinking problem and began having affairs; feeling emotionally detached from her husband. Eventually, she would check herself into rehab in the late 1940’s.

Mary Astors’s Autobiography My Story
If you haven’t read it, you should.

Although she may have been written about in a few of the trade papers, the general population wasn’t following her every move, hoping for her next misstep. She was allowed to hit rock bottom and not have 80 members of the paparazzi following her everywhere. Although her story is similar to, say, a Lindsay Lohan, I was able to read about her, in her own words from her own autobiography, rather than see a sensationalized headline at my local supermarket.


Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

And if you’re interested in reading Astor’s book, here it is on amazon:

Visit CMH’s BlogHub for more posts about Mary Astor by Veteran and Emerging Classic Movie Bloggers.

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