Friday, February 19, 2010

Deathday: Alice White 1904-1983 RIP

Alice White (August 24, 1904 - February 19, 1983) was an American film actress.
Early life and career

She was born Alva White in Paterson, New Jersey, but raised in Los Angeles. White attended Hollywood High School along with future actors Joel McCrea and Mary Brian. After leaving school she became a secretary and "script girl" for director Josef Von Sternberg. After clashing with Von Sternberg, White left his employment to work for Charlie Chaplin who decided before long to place her in front of the cameras.

Her bubbly and vivacious persona led to comparisons with Clara Bow, but White's career was slow to progress. After playing a succession of flappers and gold diggers, she attracted the attention of the director and producer Mervyn LeRoy who saw potential in her. Her first sound films included Show Girl (1928) made in the Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, and Show Girl in Hollywood (1930) in the Western Electric sound-on-film process, both released by Warner Brothers and both based on novels by J. P. McEvoy. In these two films, White appeared as "Dixie Dugan". In October 1929, McAvoy started the comic strip Dixie Dugan with the character Dixie having a "helmet" hairstyle and appearance similar to actress Louise Brooks.

Later career

With the advent of talking pictures, White began to attract a level of popularity she had not achieved in silent movies. Her most notable film of this era was Jimmy the Gent, in which she appeared opposite James Cagney and Bette Davis. However, in 1933, her career was severely damaged by a scandal that erupted over her sexual involvement with her boyfriend, actor Jack Warburton and future husband Sy Bartlett. Although she later married Bartlett, her reputation was tarnished and she appeared only in supporting roles after this. She made her final film appearance in Flamingo Road (1949).

Thrice married, White died of complications from a stroke, aged 78, on February 19, 1983, in Los Angeles, California.


Alice White has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures, at 1501 Vine Street.

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