Birthday: October 16, 1923
Died At Age: 41
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Monetta Eloyse Darnell
Born in: Dallas, Texas
Famous as: Actress
Height: 5'4" (163 cm), 5'4" Females
Spouse/Ex-: Merle Roy Robertson (m. 1957 - div. 1963), Peverell Marley (m. 1943 - div. 1951), Phillip Liebmann (m. 1954 - div. 1955)
father: Calvin Roy Darnell
mother: Pearl Brown
Died on: April 10, 1965
place of death: John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois
U.S. State: Texas
Who was Linda Darnell?
Monetta Eloyse Darnell, better known by her professional name Linda Darnell, was an American actress. After starting her career in the world of glamour as a model, she made a gradual transition into acting. A native of Texas, Darnell was groomed by her mother, who believed that she was the only one among her children to have the potential to become a star in future. In November 1937, she was spotted by a talent scout for 20th Century Fox, and after an initial rejection, she managed to secure a contract with the studio. Darnell made her screen debut in the 1939 drama ‘Hotel for Women’. Distinguished by her brunette hair and dark brown eyes, she is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women ever to appear on the silver screen. In 1956, she made her TV debut in an episode of ‘Celebrity Playhouse’. Over the course of her 26-year-long career, she worked with the likes of Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, and Kirk Douglas. In 1960, she received a Motion Picture Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on October 16, 1923, in Dallas, Texas, USA, Linda Darnell was the second of four children of postal clerk Calvin Roy Darnell and the former Pearl Brown.
Her older sister’s name was Undeen. She also had a younger sister named Monte Maloya and a brother named Calvin Roy, Jr. Furthermore, she had two half-siblings from her mother’s previous marriage.
Of all her children, Pearl believed that only Linda could achieve stardom and virtually disregarded her other children. Her parents’ marriage was not an ideal one and she became more and more reserved as she grew up in a turbulent family. However, she shared her mother’s dreams of success in the entertainment industry.
Darnell studied at Sunset High School and eventually graduated from University High School in 1941. She started modelling when she was 11 years old and debuted on stage two years later.
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After making her debut in ‘Hotel for Women’ in 1939, Linda Darnell went on star in films like ‘Star Dust’ (1940), ‘The Mark of Zorro’ (1940), ‘Chad Hanna’ (1940), ‘Blood and Sand’ (1941), ‘The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe’ (1942), ‘Summer Storm’ (1944), ‘Anna and the King of Siam’ (1946), ‘The Walls of Jericho’ (1948), and ‘A Letter to Three Wives’ (1949).
Darnell signed her contract with 20th Century Fox at the age of 15 and spent the most of career with the studio. In March 1951, she asked for and was given a new contract which allowed her to work for other studios.
In the early days of her professional life, she was one of the favourite actresses of Fox executive Darryl F. Zanuck. However, their relationship gradually deteriorated.
Besides ‘Celebrity Playhouse’, Darnell has appeared in TV shows like ‘Playhouse 90’ (1957), ‘Studio 57’ (1958), and ‘Burke’s Law’ (1959). Her last screen appearance was in the 1965 western film ‘Black Spurs’.
In the 1949 romance drama ‘A Letter to Three Wives’, Linda Darnell portrayed Lora Mae Hollingsway, an ambitious woman married to her former employer, Porter Hollingsway (Paul Douglas), who is also significantly older than her.
The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and won two. Darnell had high hopes that she would receive an Oscar nomination for her performance. When that did not happen, she was extremely disappointed. Her career started to decline after this.
Family & Personal Life
Linda Darnell had several affairs and three marriages. In April 1943, 19-year-old Darnell eloped with 42-year-old cameraman Peverell Marley and got married in Las Vegas. They did not have any biological children of their own, but adopted a girl, Charlotte Mildred "Lola" Marley (born January 5, 1948), in 1948. Darnell and Marley parted ways and got back together several times before finally divorcing in 1951.
She was subsequently married to brewery heir Phillip Liebmann from 1954 to 1955 and to pilot Merle Roy Robertson from 1957 to 1963. She was engaged to be married at the time of her death. Her fiancé was the one who identified her body.
While Darnell was living with her secretary and her daughter at her home in Glenview, Illinois, she was caught in a house fire on April 10, 1965. She sustained burns on 80% of her body and was taken to a hospital. She passed away later that day. At the time, she was 41 years old.
A coroner’s inquest into her death revealed that it was accidental and the fire was likely the result of careless smoking. Her body was cremated and the ashes were buried at the Union Hill Cemetery, Chester County, Pennsylvania.