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Helene Costello Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trivia (26)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 21 June 1906New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 26 January 1957Los Angeles, California, USA  (pneumonia and tuberculosis)
Birth NameHelen Costello
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Some of Helene Costello's films available on video are Her Crowning Glory (1911), Lulu's Doctor (1912) and Lights of New York (1928), the first all-talking feature. She worked for a time as a reader for 20th Century Fox in the early 1940s. Miss Costello died on January 26, 1957, in California's Patton State Hospital. She left behind a daughter by her fourth husband. The daughter's whereabouts are currently unknown.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Glover (sg262@aol.com)

Spouse (4)

George ("Lee") Le Blanc (14 August 1940 - 1948) (divorced) (1 child)
Arturo de Barrio (3 January 1933 - 1939) (divorced)
Lowell Sherman (March 1930 - 1932) (divorced)
John W. Regan (27 September 1927 - 1928) (divorced)

Trivia (26)

Sister of actress Dolores Costello. Former sister-in-law of John Barrymore.
Entered films with Vitagraph in 1912.
Was a WAMPAS (Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers) Baby Star of the 1920s.
Daughter of actor Maurice Costello and Mae Costello.
Aunt of John Drew Barrymore and DeeDee Barrymore.
Mother of Deidre Le Blanc.
Great aunt of actress Drew Barrymore.
Was double jointed and could wrap both legs around her neck.
Interred at the Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles, a Catholic cemetery.
Tutored at home and later educated at a convent.
The daughter of matinée idol Maurice Costello, Helene appeared in films from age 3. She appeared with her father in 25 of her 67 silent short films between the years 1909 and 1916. She appeared with her sister Dolores Costello in 20 films. Her career faltered with the advent of sound.
Studying ballet, flamenco and tap dancing when young, at age 18 she was in the chorus line of George White's "Scandals" in which she also found a chorine job for sister Dolores Costello.
According to Rex A. Coughenour's article on Helene in the film magazine "Classic Images", August 2011 issue, her only child, Deidre Ann Le Blanc, was delivered by sister Dolores Costello's then-husband Dr. John Vruwink.
Had a great memory and was an avid book reader. Could easily recite soliloquies from William Shakespeare and Anton Chekhov.
At her screen nadir in the late 1930s, she worked as a script reader for 20th Century-Fox.
First film role was as a child in her father's silent version Les Misérables (1909). Maurice Costello played Jean Valjean in the picture.
Helen's drinking and financial problems cost her custody of her only child during the bitter divorce proceedings against fourth husband Lee De Blanc, a struggling artist/cartoonist who Helene once got a job at 20th Century-Fox. Sister Dolores Costello at one time had custody of the child but later gave it up.
While committing herself to Patton State Hospital once again for barbiturate addiction, she developed pneumonia, re-aggravated from an earlier chest operation, and died at age 50. Sister Dolores Costello was at her side.
She was a brunet in pictures and more famous older sister Dolores Costello was a blond.
Appeared in a couple of pictures that also starred or featured her one-time brother-in-law John Barrymore -- Don Juan (1926), The Show of Shows (1929).
For her contribution to the motion film industry, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine Street in Hollywood, CA.
Once engaged to Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in June of 1927, she instead married her childhood sweetheart, John Y. Regan, a star college football and tennis player, three months later. This first marriage barely lasted four months before they separated in January of 1928.
Her second marriage to director Lowell Sherman lasted less than two years. The divorce was tabloid fodder and, although he claimed she had a drinking problem, read obscene literature and was given to cruel and violent behavior, she was given the divorce and received a property settlement of $32,000. Sherman's career faltered after he was slammed by the press for his charges and lack of restraint.
Third husband, Arturo Del Barrio, was the son of a wealthy Cuban horse owner and trainer. The couple settled in Cuba and planned to produce movies there but a political coup derailed their plans and began expelling Americans from the country. Helene and Arturo secretly filmed all this news and Helene was forced to leave the country after the new government got wind of their activities. Del Barrio later filed for divorce for desertion.
Suffered extreme health problems in later years. A severe chest ailment in the late 1930s developed into tuberculosis. In addition, a series of botched operations while removing ribs from her right side in order to relief pressure from a collapsed lung ended with damaged and pinched nerves and the loss of feeling in her right hand. She was later forced to enter the Motion Picture Country Home and (later) a sanitarium where she became addicted to narcotics they used to treat her untenable pain. The family sued the doctor responsible and his license was subsequently revoked.
The former child film actress (1909-1916) returned to films as a romantic lead and second lead after almost a decade absence. A variety of early silent movie showcases (mostly for Warner Bros.) include her first released adult role, the western Ranger of the Big Pines (1925); along with The Man on the Box (1925) and The Fortune Hunter (1927) both starring Charlie's half-brother Syd Chaplin; The Love Toy (1926)_ which starred 'Lowel Sherman', whom she would later marry; the comedy Wet Paint (1926); the dramatic The Honeymoon Express (1926); While London Sleeps (1926), sharing billing opposite Rin Tin Tin; and the Tom Mix oater The Broncho Twister (1927).

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