Edit
Louise Brooks Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (3) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (35) | Personal Quotes (15) | Salary (5)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 14 November 1906Cherryvale, Kansas, USA
Date of Death 8 August 1985Rochester, New York, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameMary Louise Brooks
Nicknames Lulu
Brooksie
Scrubbie
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (3)

Mary Louise Brooks, also known by her childhood name of Brooksie, was born in the midwestern town of Cherryvale, Kansas, on November 14, 1906. She began dancing at an early age with the Denishawn Dancers (which was how she left Kansas and went to New York) and then with George White's Scandals before joining the Ziegfeld Follies, but became one of the most fascinating and alluring personalities ever to grace the silver screen. She was always compared to her Lulu role in Pandora's Box (1929), which was filmed in 1928. Her performances in A Girl in Every Port (1928) and Beggars of Life (1928), both filmed in 1928, proved to all concerned that Louise had real talent. She became known, mostly, for her bobbed hair style. Thousands of women were attracted to that style and adopted it as their own. As you will note by her photographs, she was no doubt the trend setter of the 1920s with her Buster Brown-Page Boy type hair cut, much like today's women imitate stars. Because of her dark haired look and being the beautiful woman that she was, plus being a modern female, she was not especially popular among Hollywood's clientle. She just did not go along with the norms of the film society. Louise really came into her own when she left Hollywood for Europe. There she appeared in a few German productions which were very well made and continued to prove she was an actress with an enduring talent. Until she ended her career in film in 1938, she had made only 25 movies. After that, she spent most of her time reading and painting. She also became an accomplished writer, authoring a number of books, including her autobiography. On August 8, 1985, Louise died of a heart attack in Rochester, New York. She was 78 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

Louise Brooks was one of the most fascinating personalities of Hollywood, always being compared with her most important characterization as protagonist: Lulu in Georg Wilhelm Pabst's Pandora's Box (1929). Along with her beauty and talent she had an independent streak and refused to accept the restrictive role that women had in American society, and pretty much went her own way, which caused quite a bit of controversy. Not everyone found her rebellious nature off-putting, though; in 1926 she was the inspiration for the comic heroine Dixie Dugan and in the zenith of her fame for Valentina of Guido Crepax. She started her career as a dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway, and Hollywood soon came calling. She didn't care for the Hollywood scene at all, though, and traveled to Europe, where she made her most memorable films. Her dissatisfaction with Hollywood in general led her to quit films altogether in 1938; she was at the peak of her career, but just gave it all up. After that she spent her life writing, reading and painting until her death in 1985.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Volker Boehm

A legendary actress of the silent film era. She epitomized the flapper age with her bobbed hairstyle, while blatantly flaunting the accepted sexual and societal roles of women at the time. She is best known for her starring roles in G.W. Pabst's "Pandora's Box" and "Diary of a Lost Girl," which were both filmed in Weimar Germany in 1929. She quit acting in 1938 at the age of 32. Several of her films are considered lost. She spent many years living in obscurity until her remaining films were rediscovered in the 1950s to great acclaim. Her status as one of the great actresses and beauties of motion pictures continues to this day.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Heidi MacDonald

Spouse (2)

Deering Davis (10 October 1933 - 1938) (divorced)
A. Edward Sutherland (July 1926 - 20 June 1928) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Bob hairstyle

Trivia (35)

Her cremated remains are interred at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Rochester, New York, USA. At her memorial service Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" was played and passages from "Lulu in Hollywood" were read.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#44).
Trying to make a Hollywood comeback after working in Europe, she turned down an offer to star with James Cagney in the classic The Public Enemy (1931). The role could have revitalized her career.
As a child, one of her best friends was Vivian Vance who played Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy (1951).
After retiring, went on to write many witty and intelligent essays on the film industry.
Opened a dance studio in Beverly Hills. It failed because of a financial scandal involving her business partner. On 30 July 1940, Brooks boarded a train back to Kansas, leaving Hollywood for good. She opened a dance studio in Wichita and wrote a booklet, "The Fundamentals of Good Ballroom Dancing."
Briefly the mistress of CBS founder William Paley, who secretly provided her with a yearly pension for the rest of her life.
Filed for bankruptcy. (6 February 1932)
A 20th Century-Fox talent scout spotted a girl named Linda Carter in a play and offered her a screen test. "Linda Carter" was actually Brooks, who was attempting a comeback. (July 1938)
Was the inspiration for the stage play "Show Girl," which, in turn, inspired the comic strip "Dixie Dugan." She was also the inspiration for Italian cartoonist Guido Crepax's comic strip/graphic novel "Valentina." Brooks and Crepax became pen pals as a result.
Marlene Dietrich was sitting in Georg Wilhelm Pabst's office, ready to accept the role of Lulu in Pandora's Box (1929) at the same time Brooks walked out on her Paramount contract.
Her first autobiography, entitled 'Naked On My Goat', was thrown into an incinerator by her own hand.
In Neil Gaiman's novel "American Gods", the character Czernobog called her the "greatest American actress of all time.".
Her favorite actress was Margaret Sullavan.
Provided the inspiration for the British band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's 1991 hit "Pandora's Box." The promo video clip features lead singer Andy McCluskey intercut with images from Pandora's Box (1929).
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives." Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 106-107. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
By 1946, she had to take a $40-a-week job as a sales girl at Saks Fifth Avenue to make a living.
Her father was a lawyer.
She was raised in Wichita.
She left her home at the age of 16 to join Ruth St. Denis' and Ted Shawn's Denishawn modern dance company.
Was a dancer-showgirl before becoming an actress.
Considered three of her favorite films to be An American in Paris (1951), Pygmalion (1938) and The Wizard of Oz (1939).
She personified the rebellious young woman of the 1920s who came to be known as a "flapper".
Celebrity spokesperson for Lux Toilet Soap (1931).
She was a left-wing liberal Democrat and socialist.
Was a close friend of IT Girl Clara Bow.
During the mid-1940s, when she wasn't appearing in films, she lived in New York City and worked a variety of jobs, some of which included working as a sales girl at Saks Fifth Avenue, gossip columnist, and radio commentator.
Director husband Eddie Sutherland blamed his impotence on Brooks' promiscuity.
Originally cast as a manicurist in "A Social Celebrity," Brooks was pushed into the lead opposite Adolph Menjou when leading lady Greta Nissern dropped out of the cast.
Brooks claimed she fell in love with William 'Buster' Collier and wrote to Kevin Brownlow in 1966 that he was "the only actor I had ever cared for.".
As a young, aspiring actress she became good friends with Barbara Bennett, sister of Joan and Constance.
Early in her career Brooks took up residence in the Algonquin hotel where she was befriended by director Edmund Goulding and initially turned down his offer of a screen test because she thought he was trying to seduce. Her personal behavior got her thrown out of the Algonquin and she moved to the respectable Martha Washington, where too she was asked to leave. She said, "Within a month my wearing apparel had got me kicked out of two hotels.".
Turned down the Jean Harlow role in "Public Enemy" made by former director William Wellman in favor of going to New York to be reunited with George Marshall. Brooks is sometimes erroneously credited in cast lists for the movie as "Bess.".
Tested unsuccessfully for the Louise Platt role in "Spawn of the North.".
In 1943 she was paid $1500 for the rights to publish her ghostwritten story by "The American Weekly" magazine, but it was never published because Brooks refused to name names or provide salacious details.

Personal Quotes (15)

Love is a publicity stunt, and making love - after the first curious raptures - is only another petulant way to pass the time waiting for the studio to call.
Most beautiful dumb girls think they are smart and get away with it, because other people, on the whole, aren't much smarter.
I learned how to act by watching Martha Graham dance and I learned how to dance by watching [Charles Chaplin] act.
When I went to Hollywood in 1927, the girls were wearing lumpy sweaters and skirts . . . I was wearing sleek suits and half naked beaded gowns and piles and piles of furs.
A well dressed woman, even though her purse is painfully empty, can conquer the world.
The great art of films does not consist in descriptive movement of face and body, but in the movements of thought and soul transmitted in a kind of intense isolation.
[on W.C. Fields] He was an isolated person. As a young man, he stretched out his hand to Beauty and Love and they thrust it away. Gradually he reduced reality to exclude all but his work, filling the gaps with alcohol. He was also a solitary person. Years of traveling alone around the world with his juggling act taught him the value of solitude and the release it gave his mind.
[on Margaret Sullavan] Do you know my favorite actress? She was very special in her appearance, her voice was exquisite and far away, almost like an echo. She was an excellent actress, completely unique. This wonderful voice of hers -- strange, fey, mysterious -- like a voice singing in the snow.
I have a gift for enraging people, but if I ever bore you, it'll be with a knife.
[on shooting Pandora's Box (1929)] Kortner [co-star Fritz Kortner] hated me. After each scene with me, he would pound off the set and go to his dressing room. [Director Georg Wilhelm Pabst] himself, wearing his most private smile, would go there to coax him back for the next scene . . . One sequence gave [Kortner] an opportunity to shake me with such violence that he left ten black-and-blue fingerprints on my arms.
[about Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbucke during the filming of Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (1931)]: He made no attempt to direct this picture at all. He just sat silently all through the three days of filming in his director's chair like a dead man. He had been very nice and sweetly dead ever since the scandal that ruined his career. But it was such an amazing thing for me to come in to make this broken down picture, and to find my director 'William Goodrich' was in fact the great Roscoe Arbuckle. Oh, I thought he was magnificent in films. He was a wonderful dancer... a wonderful ballroom dancer, in his heyday. It was like floating in the arms of a huge donut... really delightful.
I like Bette Davis. I think she's a real actor, don't you? I never liked Joan Crawford at all. Never. I hate fakes. She was an awful fake. A washerwoman's daughter. I'm a terrible snob, you know.
[on actress Clara Bow] She wasn't acceptable socially. Eddie Sutherland, my husband, gave absolutely the best parties in Hollywood. So I asked him one day to invite Clara Bow and he said, "Oh, good heavens, no! We can't have her. We don't know what she'd do. She's from Brooklyn."
I learned to act by watching Martha Graham dance.
[In a summer 1936 interview] I am delighted with my role in "Empty Saddles." It gives me an opportunity to do something, not just stand around and look pretty. I wouldn't trade it for all the other roles I ever had because I am really acting now, not just being an ornament, and I feel that, a last, I am on the road toward getting some place in pictures.

Salary (5)

A Social Celebrity (1926) $250 per week
The Canary Murder Case (1929) $250 /week
Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (1931) $500 for 3 days' work
Empty Saddles (1936) $300
Overland Stage Raiders (1938) $300

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page