Mary Nolan Poster


Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Trivia (6) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 18 December 1905Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Date of Death 31 October 1948Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameMary Imogene Robertson
Nickname Bubbles
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Blonde and utterly beautiful, Mary Nolan had the requisite figure and prettiness to rise up fast in the Hollywood ranks. Her downfall, however, would be just as fast and not at all pretty. She was born Mary Imogene Robertson in 1905 and began her show-business career as a teenage model. Showman Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. took a gander at her--and her gorgeous gams--and signed up the young beauty for his "Follies" shows. A Jazz-Age baby and party girl by nature, Mary (who was using the moniker Imogene Wilson) had already earned the somewhat dubious nickname of "Bubbles" while working in New York, but she made the fatal career mistake of involving herself with a married Ziegfeld comedian and stirring up a major sex scandal. Frank Tinney was a top headliner married to musical comedy star Edna Davenport at the time. Mary's relationship with Tinney became quite abusive and the tabloids exposed the affair after Mary was seriously hospitalized during one of their many arguments. As a third-party husband-stealer, Mary received no comfort at all despite her injuries, and was summarily fired by Ziegfeld. Forced to flee to Germany to avoid the negative attention, Mary starred in a few films there under the new moniker Imogene Robertson. She weathered the storm for almost two years in Europe before returning unobtrusively to Hollywood films in 1927 under another new stage name--Mary Nolan. She proved a capable if not exceptional leading lady, pacing herself well in such films as West of Zanzibar (1928) with Lon Chaney, Desert Nights (1929)--one of John Gilbert's last vehicles--and Outside the Law (1930), a gangster flick opposite Edward G. Robinson. She even appeared top-billed in a few minor efforts, including Shanghai Lady (1929) and Young Desire (1930), but Docks of San Francisco (1932) would prove to be her last film appearance. Troubled over her sudden and inexplicable reversal of fortune, she unfortunately let her self-destructive tendencies kick in again. Broke and despondent, she suffered several nervous breakdowns and her health declined due to acute malnutrition and a variety of physical ailments. She turned to heroin, and it spelled the end. Little was heard from her until 1948, when she died of cardiac arrest and liver problems. She was only 42 years old. Mary became just one more Hollywood tragedy -- an incredible beauty whose life turned absolutely beastly.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Mary Nolan was born Mary Imogene Robertson on December 18, 1905 in Louisville, Kentucky. When she was a child her mother died from cancer and Mary's father placed her in a foster home. Eventually she moved to New York City and began working as a nude model. Producer Florenz Ziegfeld discovered her and gave her a featured role in the Ziegfeld Follies. Using the stage named Bubbles Wilson she quickly became the Follies most popular dancer. Mary had a tumultuous romance with actor Frank Tinney who was married. In 1924 Frank beat Mary so badly that she had him arrested. The case caused a huge scandal and Mary was fired from the Ziegfeld Follies. She moved to Germany and began making movies under the name Imogene Robertson. Mary returned to the United states in 1927 and signed a contract with Universal. She costarred with Lon Chaney in West Of Zanzibar and with John Gilbert in Desert Nights. Her performances got great reviews and she became one of Hollywood's most sought after starlets. In 1929 she was given the lead role in the drama Shanghai Lady. She was now earning $3000 a week.

Mary started having an affair with married studio executive Eddie Mannix. When she became pregnant he forced her to have an abortion. Eddie was very abusive and one of his beatings put her in the hospital for several months. While Mary was recovering she became addicted to morphine. In 1930 she was fired from the movie What Men Want after getting into a fight with the director. The bad publicity destroyed her career and she could only get parts in low budget films. She married stock broker Wallace T. McCreary in 1931. They divorced one year later. Her final acting role was in the 1933 mystery File 113. She moved to New York City and began singing in nightclubs. Mary was arrested several times and she was jailed in 1937 for failing to pay her bills. After overdosing on sedatives she spent a year in a psychiatric hospital. In early 1948 she was hospitalized for malnutrition. Mary was found dead in her Hollywood apartment on October 31, 1948. Next to her body was a child's poem and a handwritten note that said "If this were only true". She had died from an overdose of pills at the young age of forty-two. The police said her death was either suicide or an accident. She is buried at Hollywood Forever cemetery in Hollywood, California.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Elizabeth Ann

Trivia (6)

Known as Imogene "Bubbles" Wilson when she worked for Florenz Ziegfeld Jr..
Owned an antique piano once belonging to Rudolph Valentino.
Gambler Arnold Rothstein met Nolan and staked her to go to Europe, where she unsuccessfully tried o reconcile with husband Frank Tinney but was able to get parts in German films.
In 1922 Mark Hellinger wrote, "Only two people in America would bring every reporter in New York to see them. One is the President. The other is Imogene 'Bubbles' Wilson.".
Nolan kept a 19th Century antique grand piano intricately carved with old paintings that had formerly belonged to Rudolph Valentino. Nolan paid homage to the actor by keeping his picture in gaucho costume on the music rack although she couldn't play the instrument at all.
Mary started her show business career as a nude artists model in New York City.

Personal Quotes (2)

I've had a beautiful life, I've tumbled into the most beautiful life in the world. I'd never change it.
I'll do anything to earn an honest living although I still believe that it is in Hollywood where I belong.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page